Roanoke, VA - One of Mitt Romney's biggest fans lives in the Roanoke Valley. He's a friend whose history with Romney goes back all the way to the late 60's. That's when Romney was a Mormon missionary serving in France.
Dr. Dane McBride says he believed by the time he and Romney were in college following their mission work, that Romney was presidential material.
In 1968, a much younger Romney sat with fellow missionaries in France as part of all young men's commitment to their church, which includes two years of service spreading the word of Mormon to anyone that will listen.
"He was a lot of fun; tremendous energy; very focused. He was deeply in love with his girlfriend Ann back home, but that did not get him unfocused on what he was doing there," said McBride.
McBride was one of those men, and during that time together, McBride said he developed a relationship with the presidential candidate that would endure to this day.
"He was fun to be with. He made a difficult job actually a lot of fun as you worked together with him."
Throughout that relationship, McBride says he always knew there was something special about Romney and secretly hoped one day, he would run for president.
"Back in those days I saw a tremendous leadership in him and I said to other people, 'If this guy doesn't become the president of the United States, this country would be cheated,'" said McBride.
But the campaign has been difficult to watch - especially the negativity that has come to a head this week. And the assertion that his friend is anything less than benevolent is so far off the mark to him, that he doesn't mind speaking up to defend him.
"He won't whine about it, but I will. That spin is typically what you find in the main stream media, I'm afraid."
Thursday, Romney's son Craig is visiting the Roanoke Valley Victory office at 12:30 p.m. before making his way to the Lynchburg Victory Office at 3:30 p.m.