Wilfredo Lee, file, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs autographs after speaking at a campaign stop Nov. 29, 2011, in Medley, Fla.
While you were out Christmas shopping, watching football or cleaning up after hurricane-force winds and whatnot over the past few days, journalists all around the nation were continuing their coverage of all things Mitt.

Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle endorsed Mitt Romney this morning in an op-ed published by the Arizona Republic.

Quayle said Romney is the only Republican who meets his four criteria for determining who he will support in a presidential race — leadership, character, conservative philosophy, and electability.

"He has proven over and over again that he is a leader," Quayle wrote. "He has demonstrated he is capable of making tough decisions and turning things around. He is a man of integrity. He understands budgets and financial markets. He balanced budgets and met a bottom line. He is strong on national defense and has a deep love of the principles that make America great."

"Because of President Obama's failed leadership, Washington has become dysfunctional," Quayle said. "We need a leader from outside of the Washington establishment. We need a president with a proven track record of innovative thinking and a proven ability to make tough decisions and implement them.

While you were out Christmas shopping, watching football or cleaning up after hurricane-force winds and whatnot over the past few days, journalists all around the nation were continuing their coverage of all things Mitt.

For example, Parade magazine offered "A Mitt Romney You Haven't Seen Yet" through interviews with the presidential candidate and his wife, Ann. Presented in question-answer format, the interviews do provide some interesting insights, including:

Mitt's father, George, an automotive executive, governor of Michigan and presidential candidate, "made sure my brother and I mowed the lawn, shoveled the driveway … he decided we would learn to work with our hands."

Mitt on the value of his LDS Church mission: "I learned a great deal about my faith and the teachings of my church. At the same time, one learns a great deal about one's self. I read the Bible. I read it with much more interest and attention, and that made me, I think, more fundamentally appreciative of the truths and wisdom that had been provided by our Creator."

After explaining that his wife, Ann, had been the primary motivator of his decision to run for president in 2012 after the long and difficult campaign in 2008, he said, "I think at least 90 percent of my life could be explained as Mitt trying to impress Ann . . . I think she has more confidence in me than I have in myself. She believed that my business experiences in start-ups and turnarounds, in the Olympics, and as a Republican governor in a Democratic state prepared me uniquely to help the country in a troubled time. And that I have a responsibility to serve. As she calls on that sense of duty, I'm defenseless."

On following the rules of his LDS faith: "My view is that the commandments of God — let's take the Ten Commandments, the basis of all Judeo-Christian faiths — are not so much restricting as liberating."

And in her interview, Ann Romney reveals that Mitt loves the music of Roy Orbison, cold cereal (he's partial to Brown Sugar Chex Bites and Quaker Oatmeal Squares), low-fat chocolate milk, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke and that a Mitt Romney White House will feature horses (Ann is an avid rider — she says horseback riding has been critical to her therapy for Multiple Sclerosis) and "lots of grandchildren."

Meanwhile, Biography.com offers a three-and-a-half minute biography of Romney. It covers his early life, his entry into politics, his years as governor of Massachusetts, his 2008 presidential run and the 2012 campaign. And WBUR Radio in Boston presents a six-part radio series on Mitt, beginning with this look at his years as a student at Harvard, talking to students who remember him as "a pretty straight, conservative guy," "entirely positive, entirely enthusiastic" and "more like a farm boy than a sophisticated New Yorker."

Earlier, Boston's NPR station, WBUR, posted a story with an interesting 40-year-old picture of Romney speaking at a 1971 BYU Commencement. The story, titled "Romney's Harvard Years: An Earnest Traditionalist," is full of sources who knew Romney while he was attending Harvard in on his way to joint graduate degrees in business and law.

"What did distinguish Romney was his participation in that dual-degree program. Out of roughly a combined 1,300 students in his business and law school classes, just 15 graduated from both," NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer reported. "'When we told people we were in the JD/MBA program, you were kind of looked upon as somebody a bit special,'" said one classmate who is now a corporate turnaround specialist.

"He says that whereas Harvard Business School puts its students through a practical, problem-solving regimen of analyzing real business case studies and deciding what they would do if they were in charge, "'the law school is teaching you at a more theoretical level.'

"Together, the two educations gave students a detailed knowledge of the law and the government regulatory system, as well as a deep understanding of how to run a business. And those dual-degree graduates were some of Harvard's most sought-after recruits." Another classmate "describes the power of the twin degree this way: 'If you came out of that MBA/JD joint program, it's hard for me to imagine a task that somebody could have could put in front of you that you couldn't do, other than brain surgery. But running anything — running a company, running the Olympics.'"

The National Post returned to Romney's early days in an opinion piece that suggested that conservatives who question Romney's conservatism might have it all wrong. Instead, the Post piece says, Romney's actions are evidence not of "a liberal pretending to be a conservative in order to win the Republican nomination," but, "far more plausible, Romney has been a closet conservative for most of his political life."

And, of course, in case you missed it or haven't gotten to it yet, Romney was on the cover of Time Magazine, in which Joe Klein asked and answered the question, "Why Don't They Like Mitt?"

Finally, Reuters reported this morning that Romney "spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret."

As he left the governor's office, the report said, 11 Romney aides "bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for themselves. Also before he left office, the governor's staff had emails and other electronic communications by Romney's administration wiped from state servers, state officials say. Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney's four-year tenure as governor, which ended in January 2007. Precisely what information was erased is unclear."

The was legal but unusual.

EMAIL: jwalker@desnews.com