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Mitt Romney, ‘Sport’ Enthusiast

mitt romney olympics

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Mitt Romney has a quirky way of talking about athletic competition. Like at one recent campaign event, when he described the time he met a very tall man: "Yeah, handsome, great big guy, seven feet tall! Name is Rick Miller – Portland, Oregon. And he started a business. Of course you know it was in basketball. But it wasn't in basketball! I mean, I, figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn't in sport." (Romney talks about "sport" – not to be confused with "sports" – quite a lot. In his 2004 book Turnaround, about the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, he talks about 'sport'-related activities approximately 33 times, by Mother Jones's count.)

Stephen Colbert would have you believe that Mitt is just your average horse-ballet-loving blue-collar "sport" fan. But though his wife's dressage horse might be Olympic-bound, Romney himself has a more practical use for "sport" events. Unlike your average blue-collar fan, Romney counts "sport" team owners amongst his friends – and campaign donors.

Pictured here: Romney was President of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, although he once said his favorite of all Olympic "sport" is Women's Beach Volleyball.

mitt romney celtic

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‘I Am a Celtic’

Mitt and his wife Ann attended the playoff game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks. According to campaign finance filings, Romney received a $1,000 donation from Celtics President Rick Gotham, and a $2,500 donation from Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations.

mitt romney basketball

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Hoop Dreams

Romney's also gotten $2,500 from both the owner of the Miami Heat and the owner of the New York Knicks. Charles Barkley, on the other hand, is not a Mitt fan: "We're going to beat you like a drum in November," Barkley said, addressing Mitt at the Celtics game the Romneys attended. "Don't take it personally. You seem like a nice guy, but you're going down, bro."

mitt romney red sox

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Go Sox!

In 2004, Romney won a bet against then-New York Gov. George Pataki after the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the ALCS. Mitt may be a Sox fan, but Red Sox President Larry Lucchino has repeatedly donated to the Obama campaign since 2008.

mitt romney baseball

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Go Yankees!

That may be because Yankees top brass have donated to Romney. Yankees President Randy Levine gave Romney $2,500, and $5000 to his PAC, and George Steinbrenner's widow gave him $500.

mitt romney and football

AP Photo/LM Otero

Football Haul

Less fickle are Romney's other friends in football, who he boasted about on a radio show in March: "I got a lot of good friends – the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine." He can probably add the owners of the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins to that list, since they each gave him $2,500, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

mitt romney nascar

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Inside Track

And, if all else fails, Romney's always got NASCAR, just like your average blue collar fan. "I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners," he said at Daytona in February. According to the Public Campaign Action Fund, that friendship extends to a $2,500 donation from the owner of Richard Childress Racing and $1,000 from the executive vice president of Penske, among others.

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