An hour before Clint Eastwood took the stage, Bowdoin trustee, alumnus and parent Bob White ’77 spoke at the Republican National Convention yesterday. Currently Chairman of Romney for President, Inc., White recounted his long experience with Romney's character and business acumen.
"For 30 years, I have been at Mitt Romney's side when he did extraordinary things," said White. "As Mitt says, I'm his wingman."
A profile of White in The New Republic agrees, framing White as Romney's "discreet consigliere who serves alternatively as fixer, sounding board, chief surrogate, and all-around defender of the faith." The profile says Romney refers to White as simply "TQ", for "The Quail" (the "bobwhite" being a type of quail).
At Bowdoin, where White played hockey and became the first in his family to go to college, he made a good impression.
"Bobby White was one of the friendliest guys at Bowdoin," said David Biette '79. "I was impressed he always knew my name and always said hello. In retrospect, a very friendly — and politic — guy."
It was seven years after White's graduation that Bain Capital was founded, and White was one of the first people Romney brought aboard.
"Our journey began when Mitt asked a small group of us to help him start an investment firm called Bain Capital," said White at the RNC, to sustained cheers from the crowd.
White appears on the far right of the mid-1980s "money shot" of Romney and other Bain Capital executives posing with wads of cash.
The New York Times DealBook wrote that White "has perhaps worked more closely with Mr. Romney in his post-Bain Capital days than any of the other pictured executives."
White praised Romney's principles: "Integrity. Respect. Responsibility. Trust." Romney, said White, "runs toward problems, believes it is important to make a difference, and is determined to always give something back."
The speech wasn't all business. White praised Romney's charitable work and personal compassion. When a partner's daughter went missing, Romney "closed down our entire office, took all of us to Boston, mobilized a search effort. And within days, we found her. And a mom, a dad, and a daughter were reunited."
Said White of Romney, "He is the right man at the right time to be the next President of the United States."
Politico has a transcript of the speech as prepared, or watch it below:
At press time, White had not responded to a request for comment (sent early this morning).
—Nora Biette-Timmons contributed to this report.