Republicans have long criticized President Obama for his dozens upon dozens of rounds of golf and numerous Hawaiian vacations, but even conservatives may have to admit that Obama's idea of vacation sounds a lot more relaxing than Mitt Romney's. This weekend, members of Romney's sizable family began their annual vacation at his lakeside home in Wolfeboro, N.H., where they are expected to follow a "highly orchestrated, highly competitive regimen of sports and games known as the 'Romney Olympics,'" says Philip Rucker at The Washington Post. The family's activities offer "a rare window into the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's rhythms and proclivities," says Rucker, and the Post's expose has undoubtedly given Romney "a taste of what it's like to have your holiday plans publicly critiqued," says Margaret Hartmann at New York. Here, a guide to the Romney Olympics:
What are the Romney Olympics?
The games have "long included a mini-triathlon of biking, swimming, and running that pits Mitt and his five sons and their wives against one another," says Rucker. But these days, "they also compete to see who can hang onto a pole the longest, who can throw a football the farthest, and who can hammer the most nails into a board in two minutes."
How competitive is Romney?
Very. The nail-hammering, football-chucking, and pole-hanging were all added to the Romney Olympics because the family's patriarch "once nearly finished last" in the mini-triathlon "behind a daughter-in-law who had given birth to her second child a couple months earlier." That caused "the ultra-competitive and self-described unathletic" Romney to expand "the games to give himself a better shot," says Rucker.
Are the Romney Olympics optional?
No. Everyone has to participate, according to Romney's oldest son Tagg. Tagg reportedly tried to skip the Romney Olympics one summer, using his job at the Los Angeles Dodgers as an excuse. Mitt forcefully objected, and Tagg tells Rucker that he "had to beg forgiveness from my bosses at the Dodgers."
Are there other activities?
Yes. Romney's grandchildren, 18 in all, put on a talent show on a stage that Mitt built in the backyard. They also participate in treasure hunts and roast s'mores. "At night, the adults gather for family meetings," says Rucker, "with each evening focused on a frank and full discussion of a different son's career moves and parenting worries." Each family member also has to pick a chore from a so-called "chore wheel," so everyone's duties are equally split up.
Does Romney's family like the Romney Olympics?
Yes. Tagg tells Rucker that it's everyone's favorite week of the year. Then again, says Hartmann, it sounds like "the first and second rule of the Romney family vacation is, 'You do not talk about how much you hate the Romney family vacation.'"