By Chris Outcalt
Posted: Monday, July 9, 2007
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a group of Republican supporters in West Palm Beach, Fl. Saturday, July 7, 2007 urging their support in his bid for the presidency.
(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
PORTSMOUTH — Ask a Mitt Romney supporter what it is about him they like the most, and chances are you won't hear a lot about the war in Iraq or his energy policy.
It's not that they don't care about those issues, but they aren't the first things that come to their minds.
"I like his straightforwardness," said Hampton resident Cindy Blodgett, who was recently named to the former Massachusetts governor's New Hampshire women's leadership team. "You can just stand there and talk to him."
Blodgett has seen Romney about a half-dozen times, including spending time at a fund-raiser at his family's house on Lake Winnipesaukee, where she said she was also impressed with his family values.
"His whole family is very strong," Blodgett said. "I think they all stand on principles, and I think we need that."
This past week, Romney announced that 109 women representing all 10 counties in New Hampshire would be part of his leadership team.
"This team of diverse and experienced leaders will play a vital role in our Granite State campaign," Romney said in a prepared statement. "With their help, we are well on our way to reaching every voter and ensuring they hear our message of change in Washington."
Portsmouth resident Evelyn Marconi, who runs Geno's Chowder & Sandwich Shop, is also a member of the group.
"He's a tremendous family man," Marconi said. "He stands out to be so totally honest."
And few of his supporters seem to be concerned with his religion or the "flip-flop" label he has earned.
"Where is it written that people can't change their minds?" said Betty Ann Callanan, a Hampton resident and Romney supporter. "Heaven help us if we haven't all changed our minds at some point."
Blodgett said she believes the issue of abortion shouldn't even be part of the campaign.
"Every four years it comes up, and every four years everybody argues about it," Blodgett said. "I have my opinion and he has his."