Romney’s Experience Of Poverty: Living In A Parisian Mansion

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 15 2011 @ 6:39pm

The Telegraph has looked into Romney's claims that he subsisted as a missionary in France, taking dumps in holes and using showers from hoses. His fellow missionaries remember a different experience:

The Republican presidential hopeful spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion … It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy. Although he spent time in other French cities, for most of 1968, Mr Romney lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. “It was a house built by and for rich people,” said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr Romney’s stay. “I would describe it as a palace”.

Check out the Telegraph's photo of the elegant palace. Romney says he didn't think it had a refrigerator. Maybe the chef didn't let him in the kitchen. As for the outdoor shitting, a fellow missionary notes:

"All of the missionary rooms had something like a bath or a shower attached to it. The home had several". Maybe Romney is referring to trips in other cities, although most of his time was spent living in the palace. But when told of Romney's story:

Jean Caussé, a 72-year-old Mormon who met Mr Romney in Bordeaux, said he “would be astonished” if that had been the case. “I never knew missionaries who had to do that,” he said. “I don’t see why he would have lived in conditions like that for two years when it was far from the general case”.

Why would Romney go out on a limb like that – when it could easily be disproven by an enterprising reporter? Maybe this has something to do with it:

Tearful as he described the house, Mr Anderson, 70, of Kaysville, Utah, said Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there.