mitt romney, documentary, greg whitely, netflix

When we last heard of the Mitt Romney documentary Mitt, it was when Netflix released a trailer chock-full of suit-ironing and sad-election-night Mitt. Now the documentary’s release is imminent — available on Netflix streaming on Friday — and based on the early reports, it does offer a unique perspective on Romney’s failed bid for the White House.

Here are five things we’ve learned from the doc:

Mitt didn’t like watching it:
“He said there were things in the film that he would not have put in. It was uncomfortable for him to watch,” filmmaker Greg Whiteley says. “But he was touched by what he saw his family go through. And he was touched by their support that was portrayed in the film.”

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He was never altogether that confident about his chances:
As the Washington Examiner documents, one of the recurring themes in the film is Romney’s overall self-doubt. For instance, before the first debate, one of his sons asked if he would be intimidated by the fact that Obama is the sitting president. “Sure,” Romney replied. “Are you kidding?”

When told that it might help to show a bit of anger, like he did toward Newt Gingrich in one primary debate, Mitt was reluctant: “I’m good at smackdown if I have a piece of information I can smack them down with. If it’s just who can out-verbalize someone else, I’m — no.”

And then there were Mitt’s feelings that he is in some ways living in his father’s shadow: “The guy was born in Mexico. He didn’t have a college degree. He became head of a car company and became a governor. It would have never entered my mind to be in politics, how can you go from his beginning to think, I can be head of a car company, I can run for governor, I can run for president?”

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There’s a reason the film doesn’t show Mitt reacting to the media firestorm that followed his infamous “47 percent” remarks:
“I just simply wasn’t there when the 47 percent was uttered,” Whiteley says, Mother Jonesreports. “And whatever damage control or spin mode [the campaign was] in, I just didn’t have access to that.” Whiteley also told TODAY that he did, in fact, ask Romney about the comments, but felt that wasn’t his job. “My strategy in making the film was to show up and shut up and just film. I asked him about ‘47 percent.’ He just didn’t give me an answer that he hadn’t already given 100 other times to reporters.”

Mitt was weirdly concerned about campaign spending:
“I was surprised that somebody that rich would be that cheap,” Whiteley told Reuters, recounting how Romney reacted to a rather expensive glass of milk at a hotel. “He was constantly agonizing over how much for a (campaign advertising) spot.” Whiteley continued: “He would look at the hotel bill and just go crazy, and say, ‘I’ll just go buy my own milk at the grocery store at a third of the cost.'”

He was shocked that John McCain won the Republican primary in 2008:
“Six months ago we laughed at John McCain — laughed,” Romney said at the time. “And now he’s most likely the nominee. He ran a smart campaign. He beat us.”

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Here’s a clip from the doc, first of Mitt beginning to draft a concession speech on Election Night, as reality sets in:

And this clip shows Romney playing down the impact of his win in the first debate:

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