Romney: ‘My dad’s dad was not a polygamist’

“My dad grew up in a family with a mom and a dad and a few brothers and one sister,” he said on Fox News. “They lived in Mexico and lived a very nice life there from what I understand.”

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) said Thursday that Romney cannot speak about his faith or family’s history south of the border because “his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”

Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, had five wives and 30 children, according to the Mormon Church's Family Search service. Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was not a polygamist, although he was born in the Mormon colonies in northern Mexico. Those colonies were founded primarily by Mormons who fled the
United States once the government began cracking gown on the practice of plural marriage in 1882. The LDS Church repudiated the practice of polygamy in 1890.

Romney’s Mormonism has not played a central role in his campaign this cycle, although it served as a line of attack on his candidacy in 2008. Romney has emphasized that he believes in “one country under God” and that he is willing to discuss “the practices of my faith” but not the doctrines in the Book of Mormon.

He told Fox News he had not heard Schweitzer’s comments prior to the interview. “I will be happy to take a look at it but I do think that as we think about immigration policy, the policies that existed 1905, 1910 may not be highly relevant for the election in 2012,” he said.

Romney went on to confirm that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a possible vice presidential contender, will campaign with him in Pennsylvania next week and said he has yet to take a close look at Rubio's immigration reform proposal. Immigration is expected to be a hot topic in the general election.

Romney went on to describe his father’s upbringing as “very tough.”

“[W]hen he was 5 or 6 years old there was a revolution in Mexico. They escaped,” he said. “I believe they went to El Paso first, and were helped by the government to get on their feet and then his dad went around the country, Los Angeles, I think Idaho, Utah, went broke more than once. My dad had a very tough upbringing.”