In December 2011, here’s how Romney described his living “conditions” in France — when he was a Mormon missionary (and when he obtained deferments from the Vietnam War draft):
“At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Sunday, he gave a rare account of his two and a half years from July 1966 as a missionary in France, which he described as “not exactly a Third World country”. He was forced to live off $110 a month. “So, I lived in a way that people of lower-middle income in France lived,” he said. Explaining that he often had no working lavatory, Mr Romney said: “We had instead the little pads on the ground There was a chain behind you with a bucket”.
“There were also no baths or showers, said Mr Romney. “If we were lucky, we actually bought a hose and we stuck it on the sink … and wash ourselves that way,” he said. “Most of the apartments I lived in had no refrigerators,” Mr Romney added. He remembered saying to himself: “Wow, I sure am lucky to have been born in the United States of America”.”
Wow, indeed. Especially when the house Romney stayed in is described SO DIFFERENTLY by everyone else who was there:
“…the Republican presidential hopeful spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy. Although he spent time in other French cities, for most of 1968, Mr Romney lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. “It was a house built by and for rich people,” said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr Romney’s stay. “I would describe it as a palace”.
“[...] “They were very big rooms,” said Christian Euvrard, the 72-year-old director of the Mormon-run Institute of Religion in Paris, who knew Mr Romney. “Very comfortable. The building had beautiful gilded interiors, a magnificent staircase in cast iron, and an immense hall.” [...] Mr Anderson said that as well as a refrigerator, the mansion had “a Spanish chef called Pardo and a house boy, who prepared lunch and supper five days a week”.
“It was “well equipped” with all modern conveniences, including a combination washer-dryer machine, Mr Anderson said. “I never saw anything like it in another private home at that time.” [...] The mission home in Paris was fully plumbed and central heated. “All of the missionary rooms had something like a bath or a shower attached to it,” said Mr Anderson. “The home had several”. This was in stark contrast to lodgings in working class areas given to other missionaries in Paris at the same time. “It was much better than the other places,” said one, Alan Eastman. “Most of us stayed in rented apartments quite a way from luxurious”.
“[...] Regarding spending money, Mr Romney “would have been on the same amount of money as the rest of us, about $125 per month,” said Mr Eastman – about $813 per month in today’s money.”
He suffered, y’all. Big time! They had only ONE houseboy.