Video: A dying teen, a yellow legal pad, and a backstory

posted at 10:41 am on August 31, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I missed a few of the convention speeches last night, due to the arrival of family for an event this weekend, so I missed the story of David Oparowski, one of the more unexpected highlights of the Republican National Convention.  David passed away more than 30 years ago as a teenager, from Hodgkin’s Disease, while living in Medford, Massachusetts.  Soon after his diagnosis, his parents Ted and Pat told the nation last night, David began having a visitor who became a good friend to the teenager in his final months.  David and Mitt Romney became close enough that the teenager asked Romney to draw up his will and deliver his eulogy when it became clear that David’s illness was terminal, a story that Byron York calls “the most extraordinary” of the convention:

They knew Romney from church, and when their 14 year-old son David was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1979, Romney visited the boy regularly. “They developed a loving friendship,” Pat Oparowski said, recounting the many times Romney came to see her and her son.

David Oparowski’s cancer was terminal.  During one visit, Mrs. Oparowski recalled, “David, knowing Mitt had gone to law school at Harvard, asked Mitt if he would help him write a will.  He had some prize possessions that he wanted to make sure were given to his closest friends and family.  The next time Mitt went to the hospital, he was equipped with his yellow legal pad and pen.  Together, they made David’s will.  That is a task that no child should ever have to do.  But it gave David peace of mind.  So after David’s death, we were able to give his skateboard, his model rockets, and his fishing gear to his best friends.  He also made it clear that his brother Peter should get his Ruger .22 rifle.  How many men do you know who would take the time out of their busy lives to visit a terminally ill 14 year old and help him settle his affairs?”

“David also helped us plan his funeral,” Pat Oparowski continued.  “He wanted to be buried in his Boy Scout uniform.  He wanted Mitt to pronounce his eulogy, and Mitt was there to honor that request.  We will be ever grateful to Mitt for his love and concern.”

It was an extraordinary story, seldom mentioned in the press, and it left many in the hall in tears.  “You cannot measure a man’s character based on the words he utters before adoring crowds during times that are happy,” said Ted Oparowski.  “The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble — the quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters.”

There are actually a number of stories like this about Romney, some less dramatic and less bittersweet, but still “extraordinary.”  In truth, there are many stories like this about men and women in politics that only rarely come to light, and some like Romney don’t talk about them.  One of the frustrations heard from long-time Romney supporters is that the campaign has not opened up more about these kinds of stories, but that’s a tough line to walk, too.  If the campaign starts rolling out all of these stories and especially the people involved in them, it won’t take long before they get accused of exploiting the stories and the people for political gain.  After having endured the summer of demonization from Team Obama, though — being accused of causing a woman’s cancer, of intending to put black people “back in chains,” and of being a felon — Team Romney obviously decided that all of their effort to remind people of Romney’s humanity couldn’t come from Ann Romney alone.

The Oparowskis told a powerful story last night, and I’m glad I belatedly caught up to it.

Update: Andrew Malcolm issues a sigh of relief that Team Romney has finally begun to answer the vilification strategy:

Seriously, was that really so hard?

Lead by a series of friends and associates who shared their own memories of Mitt, Romney finally told his story to the American people Thursday night, the last day of the Republican National Convention, that included the candidate’s eagerly-awaited acceptance speech. (Scroll down for full text and video.)

In 4,087 well-crafted words delivered in 38 fast-moving minutes, including ample time for audience applause, the former governor and businessman described himself, contrasted his vision with an attacking incumbent’s and outlined the kind of country he seeks to restore.

It was a crucial night for the would-be Oval Office occupant. He has given opponents plenty of evidence to mock his stiffness and alleged inability to connect with ordinary Americans, who genuinely want to like their leaders.

In fact, despite the scandals, the aloofness and ineptitude, a majority of Americans say they still find Barack Obama more likable than Romney. That’s a polling stat that’s inexplicable to many but one that does explain why the Democrat with no substantive economic achievements is still even in this race, according to polls.

And that may be changing soon.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

The DNC convention will trot out women like Sandra Fluke & her Vajayjay sisters thanking Obama for their birth control and Planned Parenthood.

redridinghood on August 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Exactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I seem to remember the Choomster going out of his way to NOT buy a beer for a Republican.

I lived in Utah for years and always felt part of the community even though I am not Mormon.

You don’t know what you are talking about.

Ditkaca on August 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM

xactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Does it matter who they help? Romney helped people in need with his own time and own money. Come up with one, just one, individual Obama has helped with his own time and own money.

Chew on that!

cajunpatriot on August 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM

This (Romney) is the man Obama wants to call a “vampire”, while Obama, who made millions dreaming about his deadbeat Dad, can’t spare a few bucks for his own brother in Africa.

This is what Clint Eastwood should have said to his chair…

Steve Z on August 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM

and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Wow, you’re even more bigoted than Chris Matthews or Larry O’Donnell. If you are a “real Christian” of the Protestant faith, you can’t take communion in a “real Christian” Catholic church.

My point is this. You’ve already lost whatever argument you were trying to make when you start down this line of divisive thinking.

Happy Nomad on August 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM

someone told harry ‘pedo’ reid that afterwards romney strapped the poor dying kid to the roof of his car to drive to the notary public…in the rain…

mittens on August 31, 2012 at 12:07 PM

xactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Really? So why did Romney choose Paul Ryan, a self-described “deer-hunting Catholic”, as his running mate?

Steve Z on August 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Mormons help only other Mormons? You are totally wrong. That may be your experience, but it is not the usual experience. My Mormon neighbors were good neighbors in every sense of the word and were more than willing to help me even though I’m a Catholic. You are making an inaccurate generalization and the other comments here prove that is true.

lukjuj on August 31, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Exactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Matthew 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

There are many “different” Christians, and many different “Mormon’s”…I wouldn’t classify all Mormon’s as being selfish, and I wouldn’t classify all Christian’s as being saintly.

What we are talking about here is one man, Mitt, and if he is fit to be president. And unless you can come up with something better than “he’s a Mormon”, you don’t have much of an argument.

If Huckabee had a couple of people to speak about him, chances are it would have been from his church or his faith…the fact is, when you speak about “good deeds” more often it’s from your church, synagogue, stake, that those individual good deeds arise.

Jane Edmonds talked about Mitt’s goodness, and she was not Mormon. The fact is, good people come from different faiths…live with it.

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Really? So why did Romney choose Paul Ryan, a self-described “deer-hunting Catholic”, as his running mate?

Steve Z on August 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM

That’s easy…because he wanted to win…it had nothing to do with “faith”.

The one point that Karl perhaps has not made, but overlooked…is that when Mitt is elected, he will be the first person elected to the Presidency that is not a declared Christian…that’s a big deal for America, a Christian nation.

Not a deal breaker, just a historical first…

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Deeply moving and courageous for these people to tell their tale before the world. One can’t always be sure when descibing the days of one’s child’s death, how it will turn out.

Doing the last will and testament of a 14 year old boy? Pretty sure I became an energized Mitt fan at that moment.

Portia46 on August 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Tell that to the non-Mormon (heck, non church going) family of 7 my parents have had living rent free in their home for the past 5 years.

Tell that to the guy that came into our church building one evening with a car that needed $200 worth of repairs, no money to his name and about 1600 miles left until he was home. Our bishop verified his story and then wrote a check.

Tell that to the victims of natural disasters whose homes are rebuilt by members of the LDS church doing community service.

Tell that to the villagers in Africa benefiting from the wells and reservoirs that have been built in their areas.

As with any religious congregation, the bulk of the aid provided will be to members of that congregation because those are the people whose need will be the most well-known. However, anyone that claims that Mormons only help other Mormons has clearly not put in any effort to actually get to know a variety of Mormons.

JadeNYU on August 31, 2012 at 12:27 PM

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

That’s not entirely accurate.

As followers of Christ, Mormon’s consider themselves to be Christian.

It would be more accurate to say that he will be the first person elected President whose declaration of Christianity is not accepted by a good portion of American Christians.

JadeNYU on August 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM

it’s his money and his personal time- it’s really no one else’s business whom he opts to to help. i am personally impressed by his humility and the deep caring and empathy he shows for other humans. he’s suppose to be a rich robot lord devoid of humanity , part of a strange some how evil cult- and yet he simply seems like a good man and upright person. that’s a hell of a lot more of a christian in the sense meant by christ himself than what we have in office right now.

and if your church is against gay marriage or women priests or has rules about whom is allowed into the sanctuary of your church- that’s your freedom and right. why do you get to dictate to a mormon what his churches rules, beliefs should be? because it proves he’s the prejudiced one not you? projection. and paranoia.

the man was gov. of one of the most liberal states in the entire union with a modest mormon presence – and his mormonism in no way impinged upon the religious freedoms of the “real” christians of massachusetts. i was never a mittbot, think romneycare sucks -i am still highly critical of his politics but i believe he is a good, moral person-and we desperately need someone with some morals and values to go onto the swamp of washington.

mittens on August 31, 2012 at 12:38 PM

As followers of Christ, Mormon’s consider themselves to be Christian.

It would be more accurate to say that he will be the first person elected President whose declaration of Christianity is not accepted by a good portion of American Christians.

JadeNYU on August 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM

A cat can call itself a dog, but it’s still a cat….

If the Mormon’s fit the criteria of the Apostles Creed (or it’s minor variances), than you are correct…that is stated in every Christian Church, it is the defining statement.

There are about 10 (at least) beliefs that define the Christian religion…if the Mormon’s fit into those ten, like all the other Christian religion’s than they are Christian’s.

But just because a man say he is a women, that doesn’t make him a woman, and you can call a bird a fish, doesn’t make a bird a fish…a Mormon saying they are Christian, doesn’t make it so, they have to fit the definition, or meet the criteria.

It’s pretty simple, and amazes me that others don’t understand…words have definitions for a reason. You don’t go to a doctor and say you have a sprained ankle because you call a heart an ankle…sheesh…

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I could not care anything about Mitt’s religion.

we are electing a president not a pastor.

gerrym51 on August 31, 2012 at 1:02 PM

What a great story. The only way it could have been better was if Mitt had promised to go out and hit a home run for the young Oparowski.

BrianBerkey on August 31, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Exactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I seem to remember the Choomster going out of his way to NOT buy a beer for a Republican.

I lived in Utah for years and always felt part of the community even though I am not Mormon.

You don’t know what you are talking about.

Ditkaca on August 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM

He is probably right about what he is saying. If someone goes to a Mormon Bishop and ask for money it is very unlikely he will get it. But that is the case whether that person is a Mormon or not. The LDS church actually tries to help the entire person. They are more likely to help with food and encouraging family members to help. They will not buy into some sob story they will actually verify the facts. They will not give anyone money when they are spending what they get foolishly on Cable TV, Big Screen TV’s and expensive cars.

Steveangell on August 31, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Mormons have one of the largest disaster relief organizations in the world. They help out whoever they can.

Mormontheman on August 31, 2012 at 1:17 PM

What we are talking about here is one man, Mitt, and if he is fit to be president. And unless you can come up with something better than “he’s a Mormon”, you don’t have much of an argument.

I’ve not been a die-hard Mitt fan, but being a Mormon actually is a plus in my Methodist/Lutheran book. LDS folks have terrific family values, and they don’t go for cafeteria style faith. They are all in.

Laura in Maryland on August 31, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Steveangell on August 31, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Most good stewards, whatever religion, will want some accountability, it just makes sense.
It useless, often, to just hand out money without setting up some kind of safety net, or ability to get themselves out of the rut they are in.
So the money would come with “strings” attached, if they were good stewards.

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I’ve not been a die-hard Mitt fan, but being a Mormon actually is a plus in my Methodist/Lutheran book. LDS folks have terrific family values, and they don’t go for cafeteria style faith. They are all in.

Laura in Maryland on August 31, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I agree (and happen to be Lutheran), I respect their commitment to faith, and I suspect many Christians are envious of that commitment.

I think it is based on silly prophets, and dangerous ones, but like many things, God takes the evil and turns into a blessing.

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 1:23 PM

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Very true.

I think some though think Mormons are so trusting they will give without verifying and are surprised when that is not the case.

As others have said. When a disaster occurs Mormons from all over come out and help put things back and take care of people. I heard Mitt and his son once showed up and took care of a tree that was blown over in a storm. This is just the norm for Mormons. A storm or anything else occurs the Mormons are ready with trucks of food and supplies and plenty of people to help.

Steveangell on August 31, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Among other points about the instance in which Romney helped the boy draft a will is that a minor can’t create a legally effective will. But Mitt, noting the gravity of the situation, went right along with it.

I’m surprised that we haven’t seen a Fact-Check Article blaring “Romney Creates Legally Ineffective Will for Dying Boy,” telling us that Romney’s efforts were useless and only served to mislead the boy. If not, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes will be hashing this out on her show tonight.

BuckeyeSam on August 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Not that the LSM wouldn’t pervert the story if it could, but legality of the will is hardly an issue. Romney would surely have known that the boy’s small “estate” was exempt from probate, and a contest by “beneficiaries” highly unlikely. The point was to provide peace of mind that the “testator’s” property be distributed according to his wishes, as evidenced by the will. And it was.

Barnestormer on August 31, 2012 at 1:49 PM

If the campaign starts rolling out all of these stories and especially the people involved in them, it won’t take long before they get accused of exploiting the stories and the people for political gain.

You mean like every single Democrat has done over and over for sixty years? It’s the Dem MO: Trot out a hard luck story and use that to push your big government solutions.

Odysseus on August 31, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Exactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Repugnant garbage.
This is the kind of bilge I expect from the Freepers.

scarchin on August 31, 2012 at 1:59 PM

As others have said. When a disaster occurs Mormons from all over come out and help put things back and take care of people. I heard Mitt and his son once showed up and took care of a tree that was blown over in a storm. This is just the norm for Mormons. A storm or anything else occurs the Mormons are ready with trucks of food and supplies and plenty of people to help.

Steveangell on August 31, 2012 at 1:34 PM

All people of faith do that…the Baptists have a remarkable system for disaster relief, as well as Lutheran’s and their Disaster Response and their World Relief , almost every dime put into that fund is distributed…almost all the faithful religions have this…it’s part of faith.

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 2:25 PM

It would be more accurate to say that he will be the first person elected President whose declaration of Christianity is not accepted by a good portion of American Christians.

JadeNYU on August 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Aloha Jade! You may have meant the second person…..

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=XKGdkqfBICw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DXKGdkqfBICw&gl=US

kekelaward on August 31, 2012 at 2:49 PM

R2B: enjoyed your commentary on this post. You make a good point here:

If the Mormon’s fit the criteria of the Apostles Creed (or it’s minor variances), than you are correct…that is stated in every Christian Church, it is the defining statement.
There are about 10 (at least) beliefs that define the Christian religion…if the Mormon’s fit into those ten, like all the other Christian religion’s than they are Christian’s.
right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 12:42 PM

This is a good question to ask Latter-day Saints, because there is a good answer.
(The following explanation is from an article by Bryan Stout in 2007, emphasis added; see the ELCA link below** to compare the most commonly used version of the Creed; one reference uses the phrase “only begotten Son”, as in John 3:16.)

The LDS objection to ancient creeds is probably better stated as an objection to conciliar creeds, that is the creeds defined by the Ecumenical Councils, where bishops from throughout the ancient church met together to resolve doctrinal debates. We do reject the decisions made at those councils, and we reject the whole process as a fundamentally flawed substitute for prophetic revelation.
But there was another type of creed, the baptismal creed. These creeds were used as concise summaries of beliefs (similar to our Articles of Faith), as an outline of concepts to teach potential converts (similar to the missionary lessons), and as a quiz of important beliefs before baptism (similar to the baptismal interview questions). The most famous of these is the Apostles’ Creed, which reached a stable wording by the 8th century but has roots reaching back to the 2nd. Here is one of several translations of the creed; I have numbered its traditional 12 articles for reference:
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and the life everlasting. Amen.
If you showed this to the average Mormon-on-the-street, I reckon they would say they believe in all but a couple of these claims. If you go on to point out that “descended into hell” means “descended into the grave, ie. the world of dead spirits”, that “catholic Church” means “universal church”, and that “the communion of saints” means “the fellowship of believers”, they would say they believe the entire thing. We Latter-day Saints believe every claim in the Apostles’ Creed, because they are both taught in the Bible, and reaffirmed in latter-day scripture. Indeed, they are almost contained in our scriptures, since the doctrinal summary in D&C 20:17-36 echoes most of the themes of the Apostles’s Creed, and vv. 22-24 are a close paraphrase of AC 4-6.
Finding Book of Mormon passages that teach each of these basic Christian concepts is an easy exercise, so much so that the problem is choosing which ones to use. Here are the selections I made:

**The (current) Wikipedia article gives many of the variant readings of the Apostle’s Creed, but most of the modern versions I found on the internet are nearly identical to the ELCA ecumenical version.

AesopFan on August 31, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I live in an area with a high percentage of LDS folks and interact with many through my line of work. These people are kind, caring, and helpful, period. As an evangelical Christian, I have profound theological differences with them, but I have personal experience with the good-heartedness and generosity of these people, and could list a number of examples when LDS colleagues went out of their way to offer help or assistance. In my town they are also prominent members of civic and philanthropic organizations and I know many are financially generous in terms of local causes and needs.

pianomomma on August 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Living in Arizona, which has a large population of LDS – I can vouch for these sentiments.

Hill60 on August 31, 2012 at 3:30 PM

AesopFan on August 31, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I don’t know what you wrote or what you copied…but the articles of faith of the Mormon church is totally different from the Creed’s…
Along with that is Christian’s being mono-theists, and Mormon’s being poly-theists.

And descended into “hell” is exactly that, and it is what the Mormon church does, change meanings of words to fit their theology, even when it is obvious it is wrong translation.

It has been noticeable that the Mormon’s diss the creeds at every turn, and denounce it completely. They do not believe in the trinity, that is pretty obvious and well known, Jesus Christ as His only son, they don’t believe in that, I could go down almost the entire list and they would have different definitions…which is what they do, the re-define words to fit them…since one of their statements is the belief in the bible as long as it is interpreted correctly, by their standards.

So phrases like ego eimi gets convoluted…they don’t believe in the strict interpretation of the Greek or Hebrew, but in the King James English version…

It’s interesting if they believe so strongly in the creeds, why they don’t say them in their service, and why they think, so many writing have been written to discount them…but of course when they find out how accurate and historical they are, than they find a way to twist them into their own meanings…sorry, that doesn’t work on well versed theologians…and that is how Mormon’s get their bad rep, but “twisting” the truth and words.

right2bright on August 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Notice that people from Barack Obama’s past can’t step up to the plate and tell America how he helped them, or what a caring, helpful man he is?

That’s because the people from his past are unsavory.

dukecitygirl on August 31, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Exactly. As I have been saying all long, Mormons ONLY help out other Mormons.
Don’t believe me? Try to get any charity from the “LDS”.
(and NONE of we real Christians are allowed in their “temple”)
Chew on that.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on August 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

You’re wrong.

A few years ago two young Mormon men knocked on my door to proseltyze. I politely told them I was Catholic and had no intention of converting, but that I did admire their devotion to family and their courage in proseltyzing. I also told them I didn’t have much time to visit as I was in the middle of packing and moving.

They offered to help me and moved a bunch of heavy boxes from upstairs to downstairs. And gave me their card, saying I could call if I needed any assistance in my move.

They did this out of kindness and good will. So you should think twice before making snap judgments about them.

dukecitygirl on August 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Mittens=character
JugEars=choom

KOOLAID2 on August 31, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Comment pages: 1 2