Photo: Rob Howard
A day after my conversation with the Obamas, I headed up to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, to interview Mitt and Ann Romney at their vacation home—six bedrooms and a guesthouse—right on Lake Winnipesaukee. Since I'd never met the former Massachusetts governor or his wife, I didn't know what to expect, but I was happily enveloped by a strong family vibe the minute I walked in. Two of their five sons were there, plus a few daughters-in-law and a passel of grandkids—in swimsuits, reaching for slices of watermelon on the table outside, running to their granddad and hugging him around the waist. Cute little kids just seemed to keep coming out of every nook and corner!
There was a big boat in a slip right out front, a trampoline on the lawn, what looked like 100 bikes in the shed, and a kitchen stocked with Ann's homemade goodies, including her famous Welsh skillet cakes. You can tell that a lot of family fun happens here.
But that's not the Romneys' only mode. For a while now, Ann has been balancing the details of family life with her battle against multiple sclerosis, with which she was diagnosed in 1998. And the Republican presidential nominee, although a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, is probably best known as a very successful businessman who believes he can bring that expertise to running the country (when I arrived, he had just returned from a four-day campaign swing through Colorado, Texas, Montana, and Wyoming). With twilight approaching and the little ones happily scattered here and there, we settled into the comfy lakefront living room full of framed photos of the tight-knit clan and began.
Next: Read Oprah's full interview with the Romneys