BARROW-IN-FURNESS, England (Reuters) - Mitt Romney`s fight to become America`s next president has the backing of one enthusiastic group of supporters, although they don`t actually have a vote: his relatives in England.
Few associate the Republican candidate with Britain but it was in England`s industrial northwest that his ancestors lived for generations and converted to Mormonism before leaving for the United States in 1841 in search of the promised land.
Dalton has plenty of Romney-related history. Its most famous son was George Romney, who went to London and became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the 18th century.
Two streets and a park are named after the artist, who is said to have had a secret affair with the mistress of Lord Nelson [right], the naval hero who defeated the French at Trafalgar.
George was buried in the churchyard of St Mary`s parish church - where Mitt Romney`s great-great grandparents, Elizabeth and Miles, were baptized and married before converting to the Mormon faith in 1837 and moving to the United States.
I like the first George Romney`s painting of Thomas Paine.
But being English-American — in the tradition of Franklin, Washington, and Lincoln — is not something to be boasted of:
When he came to Britain in July this year, Romney did not visit the area where his family have their roots - unusual since emphasizing a European heritage is often seen as an electoral plus in U.S. politics.
Barack Obama, who faces Romney in the November 6 presidential election, went down well last year when he toured an Irish village where one of his forebears once lived [O`Bama? Baroque O`Blarney?]
Romney`s campaign spokeswoman made no comment when asked how the Republican challenger felt about his English origins