After King was assassinated in 1968, George Romney attended his funeral.
But while the Republican ticket badly needs to attract more black voters, for Romney to cite the experiences of his father or Ryan to discuss a black former girlfriend could easily attract claims of pandering.
He had been first to discover his father's lifeless body in bed after a heart attack just two years earlier - an experience that affected him profoundly.
His father's untimely death at just 55 not only cemented Ryan's well-documented life-long obsession with exercise, but also meant his college education was being funded by survivor's benefits paid to the teenager after the tragedy.
Records held by the Federal Election Commission show that Pope, then 28 and working for Ernst & Young, gave $1,000 to his Republican primary campaign in 1998 and the same amount for his general election race. Today, Pope is also a realtor for @Properties in Chicago and also has her own property portfolio.