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Mitt Romney attends Hinckley funeral

Published February 2, 2008 5:54 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Mitt Romney took the day off from campaigning Saturday to honor LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Romney, a Mormon and former Massachusetts governor who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, took his seat in the LDS Conference Center to listen as LDS leaders eulogized Hinckley.

He sat in an area reserved for Mormon politicians, including Utah's entire congressional delegation as well as Republican Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Gordon Smith of Oregon, Republican Reps. John Doolittle of California and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Romney sat behind Mike Leavitt, U.S. secretary of health and human services, who was representing the Bush administration. In the funeral's opening remarks, Thomas S. Monson, Hinckley's counselor in the governing First Presidency, read a message of condolence from George and Laura Bush that said Hinckley "demonstrated the heart of a servant and the wisdom of a leader."

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who has endorsed John McCain for president, was seated near Romney, as was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

Romney made no public comments about the funeral Saturday or about his relationship with Hinckley.

"This is a personal visit, he's not doing any politicking," said Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's spokesman, who was in the Conference Center press room. "He's here to pay his respects to President Hinckley and his family."

Romney considered the 97-year-old Mormon prophet "one of the great leaders of the church," Fehrnstrom said, "with a great sense of humor."




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