Mitt Romney

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made fun of Utah — and himself — during a surprise appearance at a dinner this week for Washington, D.C., radio and television reporters.

His "Top 10" list of reasons why he dropped out of the race for the White House earlier this year started with, "There weren't as many Osmonds as I had thought" and ended with, "There was a flaw in our campaign theory that as Utah goes, so goes the nation."

Romney offered the David Letterman-style list, written with the help of several campaign advisers, at the Radio and Television Correspondents

Association annual awards dinner Wednesday night. A video of his appearance is available on YouTube.

He suddenly appeared on stage as Steve Chaggaris, CBS News director of political coverage, was telling the audience that there had been little competition for the Republican's presumptive presidential pick, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"I don't think you got that right," Romney told Chaggaris as the reporters laughed and applauded. Chaggaris joked, "That's odd. I thought there was a cardboard cutout of Mitt Romney behind me" before turning the stage over to the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney was approached by the association about a week ago to see if he "could come up with something funny" for the dinner, his Boston-based spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, told the Deseret News Thursday.

"We put together the 'Top 10' list, which was all in good fun. It got some big laughs at the dinner, and I know the governor enjoyed himself immensely," Fehrnstrom said, quickly adding that Romney "has a lot of dear friends in Utah."

Utahns, of course, contributed more money to his campaign than residents of any other state except California. They also gave him an overwhelming victory in Utah's Feb. 5 GOP primary.

Romney, who has a vacation home in Deer Valley, spent several years in Utah running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. And like the majority of Utahns, he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Most of the rest of the list mocked Romney himself, including reason No. 4, "I wanted to finally take off that dark suit and tie and kick back in a light-colored suit and tie," and No. 2, "I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair."

Although Romney was criticized at times for being somewhat stiff on the campaign trail, Fehrnstrom said that's not the case. "He's got a great sense of humor and he likes to take it out from time to time," Fehrnstrom said.

This isn't Romney's first attempt at comedy, either. He was a regular at Boston's St. Patrick's Day celebrations and has appeared at other Washington, D.C., events, Fehrnstrom said, even singing and dancing at times.

The radio and TV reporters "didn't get a chance to see him sing and dance, but he's happy to do that next year if that's what they want," Fehrnstrom said.

Asked if such a Romney performance at next year's dinner would be as vice president — or at least as a former candidate for vice president, Fehrnstrom said, "That's not his focus. His focus is to elect Republicans this year, starting at the top with John McCain."


s 'Top 10' reasons for leaving presidential race

10. There weren't as many Osmonds as I had thought.

9. I got tired of the corkscrew landings under sniper fire.

8. As a lifelong hunter, I didn't want to miss the start of varmint season.

7. There wasn't room in the campaign for two Christian leaders.

6. Word leaked out that nobody had bothered to search my passport files.

5. I'd rather get fat, grow a beard and try for the Nobel Prize.

4. I wanted to finally take off the dark suit and tie and kick back in a light-colored suit and tie.

3. Once my wife, Ann, realized I couldn't win, my fundraising dried up.

2. I took a bad fall at a campaign rally and broke my hair.

1. There was a flaw in our campaign theory that as Utah goes, so goes the nation.

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