Romney’s Allergy? Perry’s Theme Song? The Personal Side of 8 GOP Hopefuls


Most Americans are probably aware of Herman Cain’s affection for the number 9 and Ron Paul’s loathing of the Federal Reserve, but what about Mitt Romney’s hay allergy? Or Rick Perry‘s love of Beethoven?

From their favorite junk food to their happiest moment, the eight top GOP presidential candidates took a break from their campaign talking points and tax plan proposals Tuesday to provide rare glimpses into their private lives during interviews with ABC News/Yahoo .

Here’s a run-down of their responses:

Worst job you’ve ever had:

  • Huntsman: Dishwasher in a Japanese restaurant because I had to clean the toilets.
  • Bachmann:  Well, one day I cleaned 280 fish, (LAUGH) so maybe that was it.  But actually, it– it was kinda fun, too.
  • Paul: Worst job – I’ve  always enjoyed my jobs, I don’t have any worst jobs
  • Perry: Oh, gee– I think– that was building fence in– with a jack hammer. It was back in the– mid 1970s.
  • Romney: Bailing hay at the ranch I worked on.  I’m allergic to hay.
  • Santorum: I cleaned toilets and shined shoes
  • Cain: A jackhammer in the basement of an apartment building tearin’ up a concrete floor.
  • Gingrich: The worst job I ever had probably was being a pinsetter, quite exciting, ’cause they would decide to see if they could bowl while you were setting the pins. In Germany.  I was — I was a kid, my dad was in the Army.  We were stationed in Stuttgart. It was exciting.

TV guilty pleasure:

  • Huntsman: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  • Bachmann: Oh, Turner Classic Movies.  I’ll watch Turner Classic Movies.
  • Paul: No…. I only watch news broadcasts from ABC
  • Perry: I don’t have one.  I’m not much of a TV person.
  • Romney: Watching “Modern Family” with my wife.
  • Santorum: I guess I would say, I watch the Food Network with my kids. Yeah, I generally don’t admit that, but I love cooking and so my kids and I are really into watching “Top Chef,” “Chopped,” trying to think if there’s another one — “Iron Chef.”
  • Gingrich: I watch any old movie.  If it moves, I’ll watch it.

Favorite Junk Food:

  • Huntsman: Fried Oreos in New Hampshire
  • Bachmann: Favorite junk food?  Probably– it’d have to be chocolate.  It’s have to be — dark chocolate probably.  Yeah.
  • Paul: I’ve kidded about that, I don’t think it’s junk food because it tastes so good. I am very soft on chocolate chip cookies
  • Perry: Mine is Vienna  sausage and crackers.
  • Romney: Let’s see.  I love good pretzels and– peanut M&M’s.
  • Santorum: Wow, that’s a hard one because I am a junk food addict. Most everyone says milkshakes, ice cream, that’s probably bad. The deepest chocolate you can get.
  • Gingrich: Almost any ice cream. [ABC Correspondent Jake Tapper: "favorite flavor?"] Black cherry.

Blackberry or iPhone?

  • Bachmann: IPhone.  iPhone.
  • Paul: Well, I use neither. I used the iPod — iPad is what I carry and use and then I carry a small cell phone

What is the happiest you’ve ever been, other than having children or your wedding?

  • Bachmann: Well, probably November 1st, 1972.  That’s the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ.  That changed my life forever.
  • Paul: Well if you separate from these personal things like family, I think it was the independence I got after college, medical school, residency, military and I came in and opened up my medical practice here and I was responsible to taking care of my patients, and to me it was very nice that I had been trained, I worked a long time and I was ready to assume that responsibility and make a living for myself.
  • Perry: Oh, gee whiz.  There’s nothing that gets close to those two.  So– the happiest I will be– is when, as my son– has found the perfect mate in his life, when my daughter finds her perfect mate.
  • Romney: Well, the best times are always– family gathering times, Christmas and so forth.  But– other than those family times, it would have to be the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in 2002.
  • Santorum: I don’t know. Most of them are family things. I don’t know it’s hard for me to see. Maybe, winning the league championship when I was the coach of my kid’s little league team. It was a big deal for me. I had both my kids on the team. I was the coach and we had a great season and it was exciting.
  • Cain: Happiest I’ve ever been, the list is too long to say the happiest. Remember, I’m a generally a very upbeat, happy person. So it’s very difficult to pick one of the happiest days of my life. If I had to pick one that was one of the happiest days of my life, I would have to say when I became an associate minister at my church, Antioch Baptist Church North.
  • Gingrich: Either — looking for dinosaurs with Jack Horner in Montana, or being with my wife Callista on the Serengeti Plain, taking pictures of animals.

Who would play you in a movie?

  • Huntsman: You know I’m not going to say Lloyd Chris from “Dumb and Dumber.” But that does come to mind. I don’t know, maybe Tom Hanks.
  • Bachmann: Who would play me?  Well, they’d have to be a mom.  Probably Patricia Heaton.  She was on — “Everybody Loves Raymond”? Yeah, the mom on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Patricia Heaton.  I like her.  I think she’s great.
  • Perry: Oh, my goodness.  It had to be something that Beethoven wrote.
  • Romney: I would like Gene Hackman.  He’s my favorite actor.
  • Santorum: Let’s see, I don’t know. [ABC Correspondent John Berman: "Andy Sandberg from 'SNL'?"] I don’t know. [Berman: "Anyone but him?"] No that’s fine, I don’t watch much “SNL.” I apologize, but I do understand he plays me on “SNL.” I’ll try to think of someone I know that, well, Jim Caviezel could play me. He’s much better looking than I am, which is a good thing.
  • Cain: He hasn’t been discovered yet.
  • Gingrich: Obviously you’d like Harrison Ford, but get serious, right? I’ve seen Harrison Ford as the president, he plays the president the way I wish the president were portrayed.

What is your personal theme song?

  • Huntsman: Ah, “I Won’t Stand Down” Tom Petty
  • Bachmann: My personal theme song?  Well, I’m — I’m Michele Bachmann, so it’d probably have to be Bachman-Turner Overdrive, (LAUGH) “Takin’ Care of Business.”
  • Paul: “Born Free.” I’ve said that before, but it is a pretty good theme song
  • Romney: I — I don’t have a theme song.  I– I guess right now it would be — “On the Road Again.”
  • Gingrich: I don’t have a personal theme song. I mean, I use “Dancing Queen” from ABBA for my telephone, if that counts. It actually comes from “Mamma Mia.” I think the scene in the movie has as much energy and as much enthusiasm and happiness as I’ve ever seen in a scene.  I love it.

What is the first thing you would do in the Oval Office on your first day?

  • Huntsman: First thing … I would send three measures to Congress and say lets get it done — tax reform, regulatory reform, energy independence, can’t waste any time
  • Bachmann: Pray.  I would pray and ask the Lord for guidance on how to turn the country back around.
  • Cain: Ask to see my National Security Advisor, the first day on the job. That afternoon, get together my economic advisory team. Day one, day two, and day three will be all about national security, the economy, talkin’ to the leaders of Congress, and let’s figure out how quickly we can pass the “9-9-9? economic growth and jobs plan.
  • Gingrich: The first thing I’d do in the office, probably say a prayer.

Who should be the fifth president on Mount Rushmore?

  • Huntsman: Ronald Reagan, but I worked for him 100 years ago, and I saw him up close as an advance man. Very special man.
  • Bachmann: Well, Ronald Reagan would be a good choice.  But — I– I think just — Garfield was the last member who was — the House of Representatives, who became president of the United States — and he — and he was a very — he was a wonderful man.  But also, I’d have to say, Calvin Coolidge should be up there, too. Calvin Coolidge, because Calvin Coolidge — was able to get the United States’ budget way on track.  And he really was a taking-care-of-business kinda guy.
  • Perry: I think there’s enough presidents on Mount Rushmore already.
  • Romney: I got a couple.  John Adams and Ronald Reagan.
  • Cain: The fifth president that belongs on Mt. Rushmore, he hasn’t been president yet.  No, the one possibility up until this point would be Ronald Reagan.
  • Gingrich: I’ll go for five and six:  F.D.R. and Reagan.

In tweet-length, why do you want to be president?

  • Huntsman: Because I’m not willing to see the end of the American century
  • Bachmann: Well, because I — I know what to do to turn the country back around so that we’re not Greece and so that we are the wildly successful nation that we were and we were prior to the institution of the modern welfare state.  We need to have self-reliance again in this country.  And — [ABC Correspondent Ron Claiborne interrupts: "Short.  Tweet length."] Oh, sorry.  OK.  Michele Bachmann is the one because she’ll do what she says and says what she means.
  • Cain: I want to be president because I believe this nation is on the wrong track. And I believe that I have the experiences, the leadership capability — to be able to get us back on the right track, consistent with the founders’ intentions, the Declaration of Independence, consistent with the Constitution, and consistent with free market principle. That’s why I want to be president.
  • Gingrich: To help the American people get our country back on the right track for our children and grandchildren.