Romney targeted over plans for growth — of his house
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who has criticized President Barack Obama for taking a nine-day vacation at a time of high unemployment, filed for permits to almost quadruple the size of his oceanfront home in La Jolla, California.
The former Massachusetts governor and his wife bought the house three years ago for $12 million. They want to knock down the one-story, 3,009-square-foot home overlooking the Pacific Ocean and replace it with an 11,062-square foot place in its stead, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Romney says he needs a bigger place to have room for his five sons, their wives and his 16 grandchildren. The Union Tribune said the plans would keep the house’s existing pool and spa.
Romney has fought a reputation as being somewhat out of touch, an impression that will not be enhanced by undertaking a massive renovation while campaigning for president. The super-rich candidate raised eyebrows earlier this month when he told a heckler in Iowa that “Corporations are people, my friend,” and a remark in June to unemployed workers in Florida that he was “also unemployed” fell flat and was jeered by the Democrats.
Critics have seized on the project to scoff at Romney. Jess Durfee, chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, used the house project to joke about Romney’s residency. “Let’s hope he hires a contractor that provides union-equivalent wages and helps to stimulate the local economy,” Durfee told the Union Tribune. “He also could register to vote here and help out the Republicans, whose numbers are dwindling.”
The magazine Vanity Fair published a tongue-in-cheek list of things that could fit into Romney’s new house, including “the world’s largest whale,” “the top-of-the-line luxury spa at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas” and “the Memphis-area Enterprise-Rent-A-Car facility.”
Romney, at least, is likely to know how many houses he owns — three. He has a townhouse in the Boston area and a lakefront home in New Hampshire in addition to the La Jolla property. John McCain, who defeated Romney in the 2008 Republican nomination race, famously told a reporter that he was not sure how many homes he had. The Arizona senator owned as many as eight, according to news reports, which helped Obama’s Democrats paint the Republican as being out of touch with typical Americans and living an outrageously rich lifestyle.
McCain, of course, eventually lost the White House race to Obama.
Picture credit: REUTERS/Jim Young; REUTERS/Charlie Neibergall/Pool (Romney at Iowa debate)