Tagg Romney: My Dad Never Really Wanted To Run For President

In yet another post-election analysis, Mitt Romney’s son Tagg states that his father’s involvement in the 2012 campaign wasn’t entirely enthusiastic:

More than being reticent, Romney was at first far from sold on a second presidential run. Haunted by his 2008 loss, he initially told his family he would not do it. While candidates often try to portray themselves as reluctant, Tagg insisted his father’s stance was genuine.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

Running for President is a nearly two year long ordeal where you’re constantly in the public eye. If you’re not up for that from the very beginning, there’s no point in getting into the race to begin with.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, The Presidency, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Ah so he was doing us all a favor. Of course.

  2. Argon says:

    Considering the alternatives, perhaps he was doing us a favor, although a Tea Party favorite getting shellacked might have been in the GOP’s long term interest.

  3. superdestroyer says:

    Maybe this explains why Romney had so little interest in actual policy or governance. Romney spent six years running for a job that he always seemed disinterested in actually doing or even knowing about.

  4. James in LA says:

    It probably happened shortly after the primaries when he realized he could not have 47% of the population removed from the premises as a nuisance.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Now THAT’S Noblesse Oblige

  6. Dan says:

    I’m not really sure if it is entirely accurate to say that Romney didn’t want to run for president again, or didn’t want to be president but it seemed that way at times during the campaign. His campaign was run so incompetently, his message was a little too tone deaf ( tax cuts and an unnecessary increase in defence spending plus a hawkish foreign policy). You would think that someone with a really serious ambition to be president will at least manage his campaign competently and put out a massage that reflects the mood of voters when he got the chance to run. It was obvious that Romney was making it easier not harder for Obama to get re-elected and made me ask if he actually wanted to be president. A seemingly intelligent man running a completely incompetent presidential campaign. I guess we’ve seen more strange things from republicans.

    I’m wondering if Tsar will see any irony here.

  7. Peacewood says:

    I think it’s more accurate to say that Romney wanted to be President, but didn’t want to expend the effort necessary to be President.

    Which still is hardly flattering.

  8. Murray says:

    Oh please. The guy ran for president for …. eight years. It’s probably the only reason he ran for governor.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Actually I think it’s just sour grapes. Entitled little daddy’s boys like Mitt Romney, who has always had anything he ever wanted, can’t come to grips with being denied. His son Tagg probably has the same mentality. It’s a family of Veruca Salts.

  10. Murray says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Talking about family mentality. I often wondered if Mitt’s primary motivation was to try to succeed where his daddy failed.

  11. wr says:

    Two words: Puh. Leeeze.

  12. carpeicthus says:

    I strongly prefer Tugg Romney.

    I just hope this p.o.s. never enters politics himself.

  13. EddyL says:

    Yes and that’s why the fool quit his “job” and ran for 6 years. Give us a break, TAGG or whatever your stupid name is, and shut the hell up.

  14. Bobo says:

    This is a bald faced lie. Mitt Romney was nothing if not a “Bucket List” presidential candidate, in it for the glory. He wanted his name on that list, on presidential stationary and his own presidential portrait. Queen Ann claimed, “it’s our turn now,” which is not how democracy works. There are no turns, only elections. Romney’s campaign was entitled and self-aggrandizing and, like its principal, hollow to the core. All this article indicates is that Prince Tagg is well on the way to living up to his parents’ examples.

    I have never been so happy to see a dream in shambles.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    Ah so he was doing us all a favor.

    Well he certainly did us all a favor by mailing it in and ensuring his loss…

  16. rudderpedals says:

    Pathetic. Mitt failed at the most important thing he’s ever done. Tarp Romney is lying, period.

  17. Gustopher says:

    Is this statement supposed to make Mittens more or less likable?

    He ran for president out of peer pressure? Really?

    He’s not a loser because he never really tried (except for those six years)?

  18. Spartacus says:

    The son is as big a liar as the dad.

  19. Chris Berez says:

    Hahahaha oh yeah I’m sure that’s the truth. Like Plato’s Philosopher King, he was dragged into power, kicking and screaming– forced to don the heavy crown for the greater good.

    In other news, I have a bridge for sale. Any takers?

  20. Scott O says:

    “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.

    Poor Mitt. If only one other person had entered the GOP primary race he could have been spared all that anguish.

  21. PJ says:


  22. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t approve of this juvenile game of making up fake names for Mitt Romney’s son.

    The man’s name is Tick. Tick Romney. Please show him the respect of referring to him properly.

  23. Ron Beasley says:

    Romney did want to be President he just didn’t think he should have to work for it – it was his due after all as a plutocrat. Romney simply could not control his image as an out of touch lying plutocrat because that’s what he is. One thing he is not is a politician so he couldn’t conceal it.

  24. Jim Henley says:

    Two things:

    1. Stop making fun of Tack Romney.

    2. I don’t actually have two things.

  25. swbarnes2 says:

    Tagg has to be wrong. James Joyner knew the “real” Mitt Romney, and he wouldn’t have voted for him if he didn’t really want to be President.

  26. labman57 says:

    These kinds of stories certainly must make the RNC and Mitt’s supporters and benefactors feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  27. al-Ameda says:

    “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

    Seriously, Jon Stewart’s writers wrote that for Tagg, right?

    That is classic bull$hit, it can hardly be beat.

  28. Anderson says:

    He reluctantly ran for president … twice.

  29. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Anderson: Yes, but only at the urging of his family because he was the only person in the entire nation who could run.


  30. Jim Henley says:

    As David Frum notes on the Twitter, none of Romney’s people worry that maybe his policies had something to do with his defeat.

  31. anjin-san says:

    I don’t care what Tock Romney says. Mitt (and Ann) were clearly pretty invested in the concept of “Mitt Romney, the Great Man”… just take a look at his transition website.

  32. Jeremy R says:
  33. swearyanthony says:

    @michael reynolds: “that’s fine, I didn’t want a stupid pony for Christmas, anyway!”

    Turns out I am not actually full up on schadenfreude yet. More! More!

  34. DRF says:

    @Bobo: Absolutely correct. Mitt was running for the credential. He appeared to have no real interest in policy or in governance issues, and didn’t seem to have any strongly -held political beliefs. But no one in their right mind devotes as many years to this goal if they don’t want to be President.

    What Mitt didn’t want to do was run for the office; he would have been much happier being picked for the job by some kind of Board of Directors. The act of campaigning was obviously something he abhorred.

  35. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This really isn’t all that surprising. The GOP for decades largely has been a coffee klatch at the country club. The only curveball with Romney is that he’s a Mormon instead of a WASP. But the underlying sentiments turned out pretty much to be the same.

  36. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah…and I didn’t really want to sleep with the hot blonde I was hitting on last night.
    Rejection is a bitch.

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    It would appear that not only Romney pere is a liar.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    My Dad Never Really Wanted To Run For President

    That was fairly obvious to me from the get-go. He thought the Presidency should have been bestowed upon him by a grateful nation.

  39. Janis Gore says:

    “Tagg?” But’s that’s, like, a Palin name.

  40. anjin-san says:

    Remember Bush 41 checking his watch during the debate with Clinton? That was basically Romney’s entire campaign.

  41. grumpy realist says:

    Aesop’s fables in action.

  42. Tillman says:

    My fear now is, if the speculation that Mitt ran in order to make up for his father losing is close to the truth, Tagg will run at some point down the road to make up for two generations of loss.

    Remember, George Romney stuck to his principles and lost. Mitt learned from that and shed principle as an electoral disadvantage, and lost. Where is Tagg going to fall on this spectrum?

    I mean, it’s entirely possible Tagg Romney will be a better politician than either and my fear is unfounded. FDR was an American aristocrat too. I guess it’ll depend on how much ribbing Mitt and his folks get at the country clubs for the next couple of years.

  43. Michael says:

    Can anyone say ‘sour grapes’?

  44. Anne says:

    It’s laughable that anyone would fall for the okey doke of someone not wanting to be president after running for the office twice. Someone posted on Huffington Post that Willard was to be commended for doing something he didn’t want to do, for the good of the country. It was hilarious, because anyone who knows something about this man knows he’s about self-aggrandizement and that he has further enriched himself by throwing American workers under the bus while he was CEO at Bain Capital. His arrogance, sense of entitlement, and failure to offer anything of value while banking on the idea that Anyone But Obama could easily win blinded him to reality. So did the insular bubble he lived in where folks like Karl Rove convinced him he had won.