Tim Russert Makes Mitt Cry

1197903860Mitt Romney isn’t a touchy-feely guy. He gets us going when he jokes about the state that once loved him, but he’s got a superhuman ability to hide his emotions. Which is why we almost choked by swallowing our coffee the wrong way when Tim Russert made Romney tear up on Meet the Press yesterday.

See Mom? We’re not the only ones picking on Mitt.

Russert didn’t muss Romney’s coif or crack a joke about his wives. Instead, he finally asked the question we and many others had been waiting for someone to ask.

You, you raise the issue of color of skin. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools. In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn’t till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully. . . . You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation. Didn’t you think, “What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?”

Thank you, Tim.

So how did Romney respond?

I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept. Even at this day it’s emotional, and so it’s very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God.

You can’t hear it in the quote, but Romney’s voice wavered and his eyes got watery as he announced his delight in the end of segregation in his church. Romney stopped short of calling the long-overdue action “wrong,” but at least he was forced to address it.

We also found out Romney hasn’t been paying attention to what’s happened to the mandatory healthcare law since he and Ted Kennedy devised it.

No. Let me tell you what I would do, just exactly as I described. I like what we did in Massachusetts. I think it’s a great plan. . . . So let’s look, for instance. The plan we put together in Massachusetts I think is working in Massachusetts. I sure hope so. We’re going to get more information about how well it’s working, of course.

Oh, Mitt. Don’t you care about us at all?

The rest of the interview was fairly standard Romney fare. Questions about his switch on abortion rights, the illegal immigrants who tended his lawn, and his fiscal record as governor. Russert tried to get the waterworks going again at the end of the interview by getting the deep Romney pride going.

31 times in Meet the Press history, there has been a parent and a child on Meet the Press–the Kennedys, the Fords, the Jacksons, the Gores. And with your appearance today, you join your dad–there’s George Romney, governor of Michigan, ran for president–the Romneys now enshrined in Meet the Press history. . .

Hold it together, Mitt. You’re almost done!

Well, touches my heart. Thanks, Tim.

Phew. He managed to keep the tears at bay until he got off-camera, at least. Which is good for us—when Mitt Romney cries, we cry.