WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. -- At an early-morning press conference at a Texaco gas station, Mitt Romney remarked on the death of Gordon B. Hinckley, the Mormon church president who passed away yesterday at the age of 97.
"We will miss him as a family, respect him as a man of great character and courage, but particularly his humility and ability to touch the lives of each individual is something for which he will long be noted," Romney said. "His ability also to talk to people throughout the world and to make close relationships with people in the public sector and in the media distinguish him as one of the great leaders in our faith."
Romney, a Mormon, knew Hinckley through his work leading the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The former Massachusetts governor recalled a meeting he had with Hinckley, in which the LDS president showed such an impressive knowledge of detail of Salt Lake City that he knew the sewer system would be an obstacle for an event that was being planned on church-owned property.
Romney also said that Hinckley was friendly with Mike Wallace and that when Wallace interviewed Romney, the "60 Minutes" legend asked Romney about Hinckley.
Romney said that he hoped to attend Hinckley's funeral in Utah.
The press conference was called at the gas station to draw attention to the McCain-Lieberman climate bill, which Romney said would raise gas prices and have a minimal impact on the environment.
He also attacked the Arizona senator for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill and McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill.
"I would note that senator McCain is noted for three major pieces of legislation," Romney said. "I think all of them were badly flawed and if somebody wants to know where he would lead the country, you simply have to look at the three pieces of legislation with his name at the top."