The former Governor of Massachusetts and Presidential hopeful sat down with me for eggs and waffles at The Gateway Diner in Albany. Here is what we talked about:
Matthew Scully: Good Morning, Mr. Romney. Or is it Governor? Do I still call your Governor Romney, like how President Obama will always be President Obama?
Mitt Romney: Good Morning, Mr. Schooly. And he won’t be President Obama forever, we have term limits.
MS: I realize that. I just mean that he’ll retain the ceremonial title.
MR: Actually when I was governor of Massachusetts it was proper to refer to me as “Your Excellency.” If you want, you can still do that. I have all my staff refer to me that way.
MS: I think I’ll just stick with Mr. Romney, thank you.
MR: Suit yourself. Just, don’t give up on it. Give it a try. See how it feels, it really does roll right off the tongue.
MS: Your Excellency, what are you up to now that you’re not running for President of the United States?
MR: (smiling) That felt real good, didn’t it?
MS: No. It felt dirty.
MR: Well, it doesn’t matter, I’m not the governor of Ol’ Mass anymore. You don’t have to call me that.
MS: “Ol’ Mass?”
MR: That’s my little nickname for Massachusetts. Pretty clever, huh?
MS: Yeah, sure. Back to my question, what have you been up to?
MR: Did you really think it was clever? Was it funny? I kept one of my speech writers on staff after I gave Barack the White House. He’s a Jew, so I’m pretty sure all his stuff is cracker jack.
MS: I’m not really sure where to start with that, sir.
MR: I’m sorry?
MS: You should be. That was a pretty offensive string of words.
MR: (shoots his cuffs) How do you mean?
MS: OK, let’s take this one item at a time, yes? (off his grinning nod) You say you “gave Barack the White House”? Sir, he soundly defeated you in a democratic election. You didn’t give him anything.
MR: (chuckling) I like you. You’re very young, naive, a little pudgy, and you’re going bald…I forgot what I was saying.
MS: You were saying that you liked me.
MR: That can’t possibly be right. Regardless, yes, I gave Barack Obama the White House. Look, I am a rich, older, white, man in America. All the power is in my hands. All decisions go through me.
MS: So you threw the fight?
MS: Why would you do that?
MR: I ran for President of the United States because I was inspired to do so. Inspired, by that television show where Charlie Sheen was the President.
MS: (face-palming) It’s Martin Sheen, for one. Secondly, are you telling me you decided to run for president because of The West Wing?
MR: Yes, that’s the one. They made it look like so much fun. Certainly much more fun than being governor. Did you know being the governor of a state is hard work?
MS: I would imagine…
MR: And then as the Presidential campaign wore on, and that was hard work too, they started explaining all the responsibilities of the office of the President and I just decided, “Fuck that,” if I could borrow a black phrase.
MS: “A black phrase”?
MR: Yeah, you know. (off my concerned look) I’ve heard the delivery guys at my houses use that particular expletive many times. It’s almost like a nervous tic for them.
MS: Mr. Romney, I’m beginning to think you’re a racist.
MR: I am no such thing.
MS: You said your speech writer must be funny because he’s Jewish, and grouped all black people into one foul-mouthed service industry.
MR: (blank stare) Yeah?
MS: And you STILL haven’t answered my first question.
MR: Did you even ask it?
MS: I wanted to know what you’ve been up to since you lost the election, but I have a suspicion it’s got something to do with Klan meetings.
MR: Well, as a matter of fact, I have been taking meetings. I am now on the board of directors of Marriott International.
MS: Wow, that’s boring. So let’s go back to what you said before, about giving up the election. How did you do that?
MR: Did you watch the news?
MR: Did you see me in “mucho” bronzer when I spoke to the Mexicans?
MS: Are you referring to your appearance on Univision?
MR: I hate to be a know-it-all, but I believe it’s pronounced Un-O-vision.
MS: So you’re telling me you did that purposefully, to throw the election?
MR: Of course. How stupid do you think I am.
MR: I’m not. And I’ll tell you another thing, if I wanted to be President of the United States right now, I’d make it so.
MS: Sir, I find your claim suspicious. I also find your comments to be very racist.
MR: I don’t have to stand here and be insulted like this. I was the governor of Massachusetts. I was almost President of the United States. I don’t have to sit here and listen to these insults from a pudgy, bald man in a greasy diner.
MS: Are you ending this interview, sir?
MR: Well, I’d like to leave you with a snappy soundbite; something to show the family, you know. Hold on, let me get my Jew over here and he’ll give you a real corker. (he waves over his speech writer, who’s been sitting in another booth by himself, nursing a water) Alright, Greenbaum, give us a snappy one-liner.
MS: (offering my hand to the speech writer) Hi. I’m Matthew Scully.
Ronald Blake: (shaking my hand) Hi. Ronald Blake. Nice to meet you. How’s the wind-bag doing?
MS: He’s an insane racist who barely listens to himself speak.
MS: How can you work for this guy?
RB: He pays me a lot of money. Like, an obscene amount. He has no idea what a fair wage is, so I just gouge him.
MR: Did we zing him?
MS: He’s not listening to a word we’re saying, is he?
RB: Not a syllable, it’s really fantastic.
MS: Alright, Mr. Romney, I’m afraid I have to end this. I don’t mind telling you I’m more than a little disappointed.
MR: How so?
MS: I was hoping my first interview with a major political player would go real smooth. Instead this has been nothing but racist ramblings and the news that a man who was once within a hairbreadth of the White House is now a glorified hotel manager.
(RB whispers in MR’s ear, then winks at me)
MS: Mr. Romney, is there anything you’d like to say to end this interview with a little bit of dignity?
MR: I’d like to pledge my full support for Bruce Wayne in 2016!
MS: I’m terrified by how close you came to victory.
MR: Thank you! You have a great day as well.
(He stands to leave, and as he does he shakes my hand. He turns to the room, which is made up of the predominantly white wait staff)
MR: Gracias a todos por su apoyo!