For the next few days, Mitt Romney will be known again as George Romney's son.
As the presidential nomination caravan moves into Michigan this weekend — the state's primary will be held Tuesday — Mitt Romney will face a very new kind of pressure.
He's got to live up to Dad.
George Romney was one of the 1960s' most popular Republicans and remains a legendary figure in Michigan politics. He made his national reputation at American Motors, where as chairman and president he was instrumental in developing the Rambler, a popular compact "second car" at a time when families were flocking to the suburbs.
He parlayed his reputation into a run for governor, serving for six years, and was a Cabinet secretary in the Nixon administration.Mitt Romney admired his father, soaking in the dinner table conversation, keenly observing the big names who would routinely come to visit.
"I met presidents, and I saw they were not supermen who could leap tall buildings in a single bound. They were ordinary people, but with, in some cases, extraordinary talent," Mitt Romney said.
As Mitt, now 60, grew older, friends saw striking similarities between them.
"There ís a lot of George in Mitt," said Dick Milliman, George Romney's press secretary. "Appearance is one similarity. Tenacity is another."
Tom Rath, a veteran New Hampshire GOP strategist, saw a lot of George in Mitt after Mitt lost Iowa's presidential caucuses last week.
"I'm sure he was tired and disappointed, but he didn't show it. Instead he immediately started talking about Plan B. He would ask people what the plan was," said Rath. "That's what the father would do."
George was analytical in his approach to nearly everything; so is Matt. George was a devoted family man; Mitt stories are legion about his fealty to family.
When wife Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years ago, Mitt was trying to fix the 2002 Winter Olympics. But, said Ann, he would still come home and cook dinner - though usually, she said with a twinkle, it was a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.
"Both my dad and grandfather always put family first," said Tagg Romney, Mitt's oldest son.
But Mitt is also different in many ways.
"My grandfather had a temper, he would get a righteous indignation about things," Tagg said. "Dad is a lot more measured and a lot better at controlling things."
A reason Mitt may be more careful is because of father's most famous public lapse.
George had strongly supported the Vietnam War, but by 1967 had doubts about the U.S. policy. That August, with the U.S. involvement at a peak, a television reporter asked Romney to explain his changing view.
"Well, you know," he said, "when I came back from Vietnam (after a 1965 visit), I had just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get."
Romney had led in some 1967 GOP presidential nomination polls, but that remark effectively derailed his bid, and he quit the race two weeks before the 1968 New Hampshire primary.
His son is far more guarded. On the night of the Iowa caucus, his JetBlue charter had about 35 reporters sitting in the back. Mitt walked up the aisles, talking and joking with staffers and volunteers. When he came to the first row of the press section, he looked, gave a wan smile, said, "There's an invisible rope," pivoted and walked back to his seat.
Loyalists say that's not a lesson from his father; it's just recognition that in these times, when every word can be recorded and instantly beamed around the world, one must be cautious.
Understand this, says Romney's team: "He is not running for president because of his father," Tagg said. "I don't think he's motivated by a big desire to please George Romney."
But Mitt clearly emulates his dad in so many ways. That's the storyline to come these next few days, and Milliman knows Mitt has learned another lesson.
"George thought things out very carefully, and then followed through with intensity," he said. Odds are that Mitt knows just what he wants to say about his father in his home state.