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Mitt Romney mixes family anecdotes with policy

CONWAY, N.H. – Mitt Romney came to this town on the cusp of the White Mountains and, for a spell, it seemed like everyone was in the Christmas-giving spirit.

One man rose to present him with a calendar of various scenes from New Hampshire. Another rose with a bottle of chocolate milk, which Romney has said is one of his vices.

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“The gifts! The gifts!” Romney said. “You guys are unbelievable.”

In the last stop of his second day of a statewide bus tour, Romney seemed eager to put his aw-shucks demeanor on full display.

He talked of first meeting his wife, Ann (“I really was attracted to what I saw,” he said). She talked of the joy of having grandchildren (“It would be great if you could just skip the children part and go to the grandchildren”). Their oldest child, Tagg, feigned outrage ( “I love you too, Mom,” he shouted from the back of the room).

Midway through the town hall meeting, a 21-year-old college student named Kallie Durkit rose from her seat with a question.

“Why should we mobilize for you in 2012 instead of Obama, as we did in 2008?” she asked Romney.

“The reason I’ll hopefully get young people is because I understand how to create jobs and get the economy going,” he responded.

Afterward, Durkit, a junior at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said she was unconvinced.

“For him to say I would have a job if he’s president is a great hope, but I don’t believe that to be true,” she said, adding that she would still be voting for Obama. “I do feel like he has given college students a break. He’s given us insurance until we’re 26, he has given us some realistic expectations [and] I don’t think Mr. Romney is nearly as realistic.”

Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com.
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