Ann Romney: Knowing that he would say no.
Oprah: Because they were having all these problems.
Mitt Romney: They were having problems. And I had no experience in running a sporting event. I wasn't a particularly gifted athlete. My oldest son called when it all came out in the newspaper and said, "Dad, I called the brothers. We want you to know there's not a circumstance we could have conceived of that would put you on the front page of the sports section." [All laugh.] But Ann recognizes those things before I do and said, "This is something you're really going to want to do." Ultimately, the Olympics was probably the best professional experience of my life. I think it had a huge impact on Ann as well.
Oprah: How so?
Mitt Romney: It changed her life.
Ann Romney: Well, having just been diagnosed with MS maybe three months before, I was going downhill fast. Really, really sick.
Oprah: What does MS do to you?
Ann Romney: For me, my whole right side was numb. I was having difficulty walking. But beyond that it was the fatigue. No one understands, unless they have MS, what fatigue is.
Oprah: It's a weariness in your spirit, your bones, everything.
Ann Romney: In your bones, deep to your bones. Your brain doesn't work, your mouth doesn't work, your tongue doesn't work. Everything is an effort. I mean, to stand up is an effort, to talk is an effort.
Oprah: It's like your body is physically depressed.
Ann Romney: I think a lot of women have autoimmune diseases. I think what happens is, women have five balls up in the air all the time, and they can do it for a while. And then all of a sudden the body just says, Sorry.
Oprah: That's it.
Ann Romney: Done. It gives you a few warnings, and then your body goes, I'm gonna make you crash to the ground where you can't even pick your head up. Women try to push through so many things, and our bodies physically can't do that.
Oprah: So how are you managing it now, and are there things that you can't do?
Ann Romney: Well, there's some. I can't stay on the trail with him, for sure.
Oprah: Wears you out?
Ann Romney: Absolutely, yeah. I can go three days, maybe.
Oprah: That's enough. See ya!
Ann Romney: But yeah, I've learned. I went all the way, crashed, and then in the three years Mitt was with the Olympics, I slowly, slowly, slowly built my strength to the point where I could function again.
Oprah: It seems like a presidential campaign would be the last thing you'd want to say yes to.
Ann Romney: The prescription for MS is no stress, have a normal life, eat well, and exercise. So yes, it was a huge consideration.
Oprah: A huge consideration, whether to do it a second time around.
Ann Romney: We would not be doing this if I were not doing well.
Oprah: [To Mitt] We know your résumé, and we know your pedigree; what do you want us to know about you that we've likely not heard?
Mitt Romney: I think there's a character one has if you're a chief executive officer. Movies would suggest you're a bad person—if you're wealthy, if you've done well, oh, you must be bad. And frankly, winning the lottery doesn't change who you are; you're the same person inside. And I'm the same person I was as an 18-year-old who fell in love with Ann.
Oprah: How frustrating is it to you that people don't seem to get you?
Mitt Romney: You know, that's just part of the political process. I'm not worried about it.
Next: How Mitt Romney thinks the election will turn out