On Eve of the Primary, Romney Draws on Family’s New Hampshire Memories

Jan 9, 2012 7:47pm

BEDFORD, N.H. — On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney reminded voters just how much time — years, he said — he’s logged in the Granite State, adding a personal touch to his stump speech as voters readied to head to the polls.

“I don’t know how many months ago that my family and I went to Scammon Farm and we announced that we had decided to run for president. I know a number of you were there,” said Romney, speaking at McKelvie Intermediate School, the very location where he held his last event before the 2008 primary.

Romney announced his bid for the White House on June 2, 2011 at the farm in Stratham.

“We have been coming to New Hampshire for 40 years,” said Romney, who owns a multi-million dollar lakefront estate in Wolfeboro. “We were thinking about that backstage, when was the first time we got to come up to Lake Winnipesaukee with our children go to swimming in the lakes here? And when did we take them to Pat’s Peak to go skiing?”

Romney’s personal touches resonated with the crowd, who knew the spots and cheered that they too skied Pat’s Peak, a popular ski mountain near Concord.

“We taught our little boys, little guys, how to ski here, went swimming here, taught them to water ski on Lake Winnipesaukee,” Romney recalled. “We’ve been coming here, we love the state, we love the people of New Hampshire.

“I love new Hampshire and I appreciate your willingness to welcome us here tonight,” he said. “If I’m president of the United States I will not forget New Hampshire. I’ll make sure New Hampshire remembers they have a place in the White House if I’m president of the United States.”

But when it came to reciting the state’s motto — “Live Free or Die” — Romney admitted that he actually wasn’t sure where the phrase originated.

“We love the Yankee spirit of ‘Live Free or Die,’” Romney said. “I don’t know who captured that phrase, but it so typifies the people of this state.”

The “Live Free or Die” motto was coined by Gen. John Stark in July 1809, according to the state’s Almanac. Stark is considered to be one of the state’s “most distinguished hero of the Revolutionary War.”

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