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For Tagg Romney, politics is a family affair

9-28-tagg-romney-with-ovideBy Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — When you're the son of a presidential candidate and the general election is just over five weeks away, you don't watch a lot of television or read the newspapers — you're too busy working on the campaign.

Such is the schedule of Tagg Romney, the oldest of Governor Mitt and Ann Romney's five sons, who has been traveling across the nation stumping for his dad. Tagg, 42, of Belmont, Mass., was in the Granite State Friday and will be in New Hampshire throughout the weekend looking to talk with as many voters as possible about his father's vision for America. This is the fourth campaign for Tagg, and, while he's not been involved as much as in the past, he's rolled up his sleeves and is in the race to the finish line on Nov. 6.

Friday afternoon, while on the road in southern New Hampshire, Tagg took time to talk with The Conway Daily Sun by phone in an exclusive interview. He had been in North Carolina the previous two days and before that has made stops in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

"If it's a swing state there's a good chance I've been there or am heading there," he said, laughing.

The Romneys have a family home in Wolfeboro and spend their summers there. That and the fact that Governor Romney was governor of nearby Massachusetts, Tagg believes New Hampshire will vote Republican in November, but he and the campaign are taking nothing for granted.

"New Hampshire is going to be critical in this election," he said. "I think we'll do well here. With our ties here and dad having governed in the state not too far south from here, we're hopeful we'll get the support (Nov. 6). I hope people know how skilled and qualified dad is to be our next president."

Tagg, who made stops at three restaurants in Hampton and a home in Hampton Falls Friday, is a managing partner at Solamere Capital. He co-founded the company and has previously worked as chief marketing officer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, VP of onfield marketing at Reebok, and director of strategic planning at Elan Pharmaceuticals. Tagg founded and subsequently sold Season Perks. Tagg worked for each of his father's three political campaigns. He also worked for several years as a consultant at both Monitor Group and McKinsey and Co. Tagg graduated magna cum laude with a BA in economics from Brigham Young University and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Tagg's brothers are Matthew, Joshua, Benjamin and Craig. He and Jennifer, his wife, have three young children.

In this election, Tagg said the No. 1 concern he's hearing from Americans is the economy and the need to get the country working again.

"The economy is No. 1," he said. "My dad knows how to tackle this problem. It's the same reason this president is focused on everything but the economy, it's because he doesn't, his instincts are 180 percent wrong. Dad has a plan to get people back to work."

Thursday, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland was in town and touted President Obama's commitment to small business owners. Tagg hasn't seen that same commitment.

"You can find a lot of Democratic governors to say that, but you won't find a lot of business people," he said and explained earlier this week he spoke with Christmas tree farmers in North Carolina who he said have felt nothing but pain under the Obama Administration.

"The regulations have grown so exponentially over the past four years that the little guys and the medium-sized businesses are really suffering," he said. "I think it doesn't matter if you're Red (Republican) or Blue (Democrat) you can agree this president has not been good for small business."

With the election getting ever closer it seems like just about every other ad on TV is a political one with candidates attacking their opponents. Those sorts of things can be tough on a family, but Tagg has come to accept it as "going with the territory," but that doesn't mean he has to like it.

"I don't watch TV or read the newspapers very much these days," he said. "I really don't have the time and I don't want to see the ads. You can't take them personally. I just want people to see that there is such a stark difference between (Governor Romney) and (President Obama) on policy. (The Democrats) are not above making things up to make my dad look like the bad guy. They ought to be ashamed of what they say."

The first presidential debate is this Wednesday. Tagg plans to be in attendance at the University of Denver, Denver, Colo. (from 9 to 10:30 p.m.).

"Dad has been prepping well, he'll be ready," Tagg said.

Tagg, who is a huge Boston sports fan (season tickets to the Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins), loves the Red Sox and has been disappointed with how the season has panned out.

"I think they have to retool a little bit," he said. "I think Ben Cherington (general manager of the Red Sox) will do a good job. I have confidence in him."

With any campaign there are always highlights, and Tagg definitely has one atop his list for this campaign.

"The most fun I've had was when my four brothers and I went on the Conan O'Brien show," he said. "He's a real funny guy, we had a great time."
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