I had the great pleasure of meeting Tagg over the summer in Newport at a Romney dinner. I shared that experience with you in Why Romney Will Win. The buzz in the air that night was who would be Romney’s vice presidential nominee.
Tagg was up front about where his father was in the selection process. He said a decision hadn’t been finalized yet, but whoever was chosen would have to be a person who could carry on his father’s work. Once Paul Ryan was selected, Mitt asked Tagg to inform those who were not chosen. “Tagg is reflective of his father, and I think people see that,” says former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, a Romney advisor. “He also has the energy to fill in for his father.”
At the dinner, Tagg was geared up for the final push toward November. But for a month or so after the event, I kept waiting for that moment, which seemed never to arrive. It was frustrating. And it came to a head. The president’s campaign and his allies were running ads insinuating Romney was a murderer and a felon. “[Democrats] are not above making things up to make my dad look like the bad guy. They ought to be ashamed,” Tagg said in September to a New Hampshire paper. Yet it seemed that the professional consultants in the Romney campaign were on autopilot, advising Mitt to smile and forget about giving details about how he’d govern. That lit a fire. Tagg stepped up.
Tagg pushed his father to let America see the Mitt Romney he and family love so dearly. Romney’s performance in the first debate was the shot heard around the world because he spoke from the heart. He sounded presidential.
The embrace between Tagg and his father after the first debate spoke louder than words: “Dad, you nailed it.” It’s never too late to speak from the heart, and Tagg helped his father open up and show us how much this presidency means to him.