LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: In tonight’s Rewrite, Mitt Romney rewrites the definition of an Olympic athlete.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST OF “FACE THE NATION”: I hear you’ve got an Olympic athlete in the family.
MITT ROMNEY: Isn’t that something? Yeah, it’s not me. It’s my wife, of course. She’s the athlete, but in this case, it’s not her personally, but she along with two other people purchased a horse and have trained it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: She’s the athlete. That’s what Mitt Romney just said. She’s the athlete.
In Utah, Romney worked to develop a routine. Josh Romney, the third of the Romney sons, was living in Salt Lake City at the time, and mother and son met regularly for lunch, often at a bagel shop near Josh. “We spent a lot of time just trying to talk things through,” he recalls. Mitt Romney juggled the household chores and running the Olympics. On his drive home, he would sometimes stop at Albertson’s, a grocery store in Park City, to pick up dinner. One favorite meal was rotisserie chicken, accompanied by side dishes of broccoli and pita bread.
Through all this, Ann Romney wondered how long her ability to walk, even with difficulty, would last. She recalls thinking, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up in a wheelchair, pretty sure I’m going to be really bad.” She resolved to take action and made a decision: “I want to do things that I love so much in life before I can’t do them anymore.”
So Romney bought a horse, Buddy. Romney is quick to tell me that Buddy wasn’t an “expensive” horse. “Having him,” she says, “was like the coolest thing in the world.” Buddy was a trail and first-level dressage horse, and he was Romney’s companion in those days. “I was pretty lonely,” she admits.
Buddy’s stable was a 35-minute drive from the Romneys’ Utah home. Once at the stable, Romney would spend hours and hours with Buddy, grooming him and cleaning out his stall. Still very weak, she could barely ride the horse: “I could only ride, like really ride, for like five minutes” before getting too worn out.
But Romney’s affection for Buddy transformed her outlook on life and gave her a reason to push herself to climb out of bed each morning. “I noticed that I had this euphoria afterwards — it kind of got me out of that fatigue place for a little bit, just for a little time,” she says of her riding. Slowly, she began to feel slightly stronger.
Time passed. And then Mitt Romney nominated his wife — without telling her — to carry the Olympic torch, citing her as his personal hero. It would be an arduous task for her: Those who carry the Olympic torch run for a quarter-mile before relaying the torch to the next person. For weeks beforehand, Romney practiced, building up her strength.
“She was able to jog the whole thing,” remembers Josh Romney, who was there with her, running alongside his mom.
“I literally ran,” Romney says, describing how she carried the torch, with friends and some of her sons present. “My kids were all surrounding me,” she says. “And they were all crying because they knew what a miracle it was that I came [to Utah] barely able to walk and now [here] I was, three years later, torch in hand, the Olympics were a success, I was back on track, I was regaining my strength, and off I ran with this torch into the city.”
O’Donnell’s fussing about Mitt’s tax deduction for the Olympic horse as a business expense, which is fully allowed under current tax law. Let’s remind Larry that MSNBC deducts Larry’s make-up, hair, and most probably on-camera wardobe – his dressage – as a business expense, too.
And, as an update,
Which End Of The Horse Is Lawrence O’Donnell?
It is bad enough that MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell mocks Ann Romney for riding horses to treat her multiple sclerosis. But then shows what an ignoramus he is by saying that “dressage (competitive horse riding) does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment” for MS.
Actually, for many illnesses riding horses is a legitimate therapy technique. It’s called “hippotherapy.” Wikipedia has a nice description of it, and there’s even an group called the American Hippotherapy Association.
Type in “hippotherapy” into the search engine PubMed, and you get back dozens of peer-reviewed studies showing the benefits of hippotherapy. There are even four medical journal articles showing the benefits of hippotherapy for multiple sclerosis patients. One of the articles explains how hippotherapy works: