Mitt Romney on Principles & Values
Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent
A: This is a campaign about the 100%. Politics has driven us apart in some respect. So my campaign is about the 100% of America. And I'm concerned about them. I'm concerned about the fact that over the past four years life has become harder for Americans. More people have fallen into poverty. More people we just learned have had to go onto food stamps. When the President took office 32 million people were on food stamps. Today 47 million people are on food stamps. Now I know that I'm not going to get 100% of the vote. And my campaign will focus on those people we think we can bring in to support me. But this is a campaign about helping people who need help. I have a record. I've demonstrated my capacity to help the 100%.
He is a turnaround specialist running to lead a nation that desperately needs one. In his narrative, President Barack Obama has steered the country into a ditch, and Mitt Romney is the only one capable of yanking it out. Mr. Fix-it, reporting for duty. He's already fixed his approach as a candidate, self-assured and savvy where he was often slipshod and self-defeating in 2008.
But several days later, Smith got a phone call from Romney, who told Smith he wanted to cover part of the shelter's milk costs, and he didn't want any publicity for it. Smith didn't know exactly how Romney had done it--he figured Romney had arranged something with one of the shelter's milk suppliers. But now, instead of paying for 1,000 pints a day, the shelter was paying for just 500. And it wasn't just some political stratagem. "It happened for a long period of time." Smith said he understood that Romney was still supporting the shelter when Smith left in 1996.
SANTORUM: We need a leader, someone who has the experience to go out and be the commander-in-chief.
Q: Were you talking about Gov. Romney?
SANTORUM: Yeah, of course. Business experience doesn't necessarily match up with being the commander-in-chief.
ROMNEY: People who spend their life in Washington don't understand what happens out in the real economy. They think that people who start businesses are just managers. Entrepreneurs that start a business from the ground up and get customers and get investors and hire people to join them, those people are leaders. And the chance to lead in free enterprise is extraordinarily critical to also being able to lead a state, like I led in Massachusetts, and, by the way, lead the Olympics. My experience is in leadership. I wish people in Washington had experience in the real economy first, before they went there, and they'd understand some of the real lessons of leadership.
Around this time, Mitt also offered to pay energetic college students 10 percent of every dollar they raised for him, an intriguing scheme that would give young people incentives to work for him for the duration. Is this the kind of stunning out-of-the-box, preemptive thinking and action we could expect from the nation's first latter-day entrepreneur president, not to mention its wealthiest?
A: Thanks for reminding everybody.
Q: Independent voters might like that. Should Republican primary voters be nervous about it?
A: You know, what I found is, in a state like mine where 85% of my legislature was Democrat--to get anything done--I was always in an away game, if you will. And to get something done, I had to see if there were Democrats who cared more about the state than they cared about their re-election or their party, and there were. And right now, America faces a crisis. I think people on both sides of the aisle recognize that this is no longer a time just for worrying about the next election. This is a time to worry about America.
ROMNEY: I don't think you carry cards in the Tea Party. I believe in a lot of what the Tea Party believes in. The Tea Party believes that government's too big, and taxing too much. I put together a plan with a whole series of points of how we can get America's economy going again. Tea Party people like that. So if the Tea Party is for keeping government small and spending down, and helping us create jobs, then, hey, I'm for the Tea Party.
The nations' founders discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
I can remember only one time during my life when most Americans presumed that we didn't really have any great challenges. It was during the period that largely coincided with the Bill Clinton presidency. Bush & Reagan had pushed the Soviet Union to the wall and won. Here at home, there was talk of a "new economy" that sent the bulls running on Wall Street. In some ways, we advanced as a nation on these years. The Internet boomed, and the pockets of millions of Americans grew deeper. But did these years of ease make us stronger, more free or secure nation?
But there is much more that compels us to pursue a productivity and growth agendas--it is essential to preserve the America we know. For if Washington were to continue to depart from this strategy, acting in ways that depress productivity and growth, America would decline. We would be surpassed as the world's leader, and lament as freedom is stealthily stripped from our descendants and from our friends around the world. It was not for this that the Founding Fathers established the nation, nor for this that hundreds of thousands of our brave men and women shed their blood. America is freedom, and freedom must be strong.
Our party can never be a rubber stamp for rubber-stamp spending. But before we move away from this "No" epithet that the Democrats are fond of trying to apply to us, let's ask the Obama folks why they say no: no to a balanced budget, no to reforming entitlements, no to malpractice reform, no to missile defense in eastern Europe, no to tax cuts. You see, we conservatives don't have a corner on saying no. We're just the ones who say it when it's the right thing to say.
A: I would have favored justices like Roberts and Alito, Scalia and Thomas. I like justices that follow the Constitution, do not make law from the bench. I would have much rather had a justice of that nature.
A: No. He’s a fine man and a man I respect, and I particularly respect his service in the military and his integrity and courage for our nation. I do believe that as people over the centuries have considered who ought to lead our country, they don’t look to senators. They look to governors. And they look to governors because they have the experience of being executive leaders. They’re actually leading something. They’re making something happening. They’re running something. They’re leading an organization. Senators and congressmen are fine people, but they’re legislators. They sit in committees. They’re committee chairs. They call that leadership. In my view, the key leadership of my life was 25 years in the private sector, helping build business, turn a business around, start a business successfully, then going off to the Olympics, helping turn the Olympics around. You don’t do that as a manager; you do that as a leader.
A: I’m sure that are those who’d say, to be the commander-in-chief you have to serve in the military. I don’t believe that you have to have served in the military t be a great commander-in-chief or to be a great foreign policy expert. You’re going to see in our foreign policy and in the military, we’re going to face challenges not like the challenges of old. You’re going to have to have people of unusual capacity in bringing in the perspectives of the entire world and thinking about how you move your pieces and how you make changes that can strengthen the US’s position. My objective is to keep the US the strongest nation on earth, economically, militarily, and from the spirit of our people. I can do that by virtue of a lifetime of experience leading, making decisions. Some of our great leaders -- look at Abraham Lincoln, was not a military expert, but turned out to be one of the best in the history of this country.
A: Well, I was paraphrasing and underlining a quote from John Adams, who said that our constitutional form of government in this nation would require morality and freedom to be able to survive. We believe, as a nation, that God gave the individual certain inalienable rights. That’s not a constitutional guarantee, that’s not a policy guarantee, it’s a guarantee from our creator.
Q: But when you say freedom requires religion, can you be a moral person and be an atheist?
A: Oh, of course.
Q: And participate in freedom?
A: Of course yes.
Q: So freedom doesn’t require religion?
A: Our constitutional form of government and this American experiment requires morality, which in turn required religion. Yet, of course, on an individual basis, you have many individuals of great morality that don’t have any particular faith.
A: Of course not. You look at individuals based upon their skills and their ability, their values, their intelligence. And there are many who are agnostic or atheist or who have very different beliefs about the nature of the divine than I do, and, and you evaluate them based on their skills. But I can tell you that I myself am a person of faith and respect the sense of the common bond of humanity that comes from that fundamental belief.
Q: But there’d be no litmus test?
A: No, no. There’s no litmus test of that nature.
A: I’ve thought a lot about this question. And I take my inspiration from my dad, from Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, the Declaration of Independence. My view is that America is going to be strengthened by virtue of the presidency, if I’m able to have that opportunity. I would strengthen America’s military, make sure that we could be safe here at home. I want to strengthen our economy, keep our taxes down, become free of oil from foreign places, strengthen our economy so we have great jobs and a great future for our people. And finally, I want to strengthen the American family. In my view, strong families, a strong economy and a strong military--that combination of features is what makes this party so strong and accounts for our great success in the elections over the prior several decades and also is so critical to our future as a nation--a strong economy, a strong military, and strong families. And I’ll fight for those things.
A: Gosh. I love America. I’m afraid I’m going to be at a loss for words because America for me is not just our rolling mountains and hills and streams and great cities. It’s the American people. And the American people are the greatest people in the world. What makes America the greatest nation in the world is the heart of the American people: hardworking, innovative, risk-taking, God- loving, family-oriented American people. It’s that optimism we thank Ronald Reagan for. Thank you, Mrs. Reagan, for opening up this place in his memory for us. It is that optimism about this great people that makes this the greatest nation on earth.
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all--the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO. That's how I was brought up.
Mitt had just turned 18 and Ann was 15 when Mitt asked Ann out for a date in 1965; they saw The Sound of Music. "I caught his eye and he never let me go," Ann recalled years later. Other boys pursued her, and she would date them in Mitt's absence, but she said Mitt "stole my heart from the very first."
While Mitt struggled [for 2 years as a missionary] to win converts in France, his father was having better luck at home. In between his jaunts across the country to test the waters for a presidential bid, George Romney was guiding Ann Davies through her conversion to the Mormon faith.
For 2-1/2 years, Romney lived under the strict missionary regime. Romney said he converted 10 to 20 people during his time as a missionary, but even that small-sounding number stood out among missionaries. Years later, Romney bluntly assessed the experience: "As you can imagine, it's quite an experience to go to Bordeaux and say, 'Give up your wine! I've got a great religion for you!' It was a good training for how life works. Rejection of one kind or another is going to be important part of everyone's life. Here I'd grown up as the son of a governor, and now I was on the street." Having begun his mission with what he called thin ties to the faith, he became a stalwart believe
From the beginning of his 2008 campaign, Romney spoke about religion in a very general way, with statements such as "I need the prayers of the people of all faiths," and promises that he would "serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States." But Romney refused to speak openly and directly about his Mormon faith, identifying as religious bigots those who asked honest, specific questions about Mormonism. Ironically, this is similar to the tactic used by the Left on conservative Republicans when issues of religion and politics are raised.
Unfortunately, in using this political tactic, Romney abandons the conservative strict interpretation of the Constitution, for a liberal one. Article VI goes forbid the GOVERNMENT from imposing a religious test for those running for federal office, but its framers did not intend to prohibit VOTERS from closely evaluating the religion of federal candidates, and taking it into consideration when they voted.
The assault got so shameless and reckless that the Archdiocese of Boston finally commented in its official publication, the "Pilot." A blistering editorial defended Romney and indignantly admonished Kennedy for his irresponsible accusations and intemperate behavior. The headline over the piece captures the essence of ecclesiastical scold: "He Forgot His Brother's Words."
ROMNEY: What I actually found was most troubling was that the reverend said, in choosing our nominee, we should inspect his religion. And someone who is a good moral person is not someone who we should select; instead, we should choose someone who subscribes to our religious belief. That idea that we should choose people based upon their religion for public office is what I find to be most troubling, because the founders of this country went to great length to make sure--and even put it in the Constitution--that we would not choose people who represent us in government based upon their religion, that this would be a nation that recognized and respected other faiths, where there's a plurality of faiths, where there was tolerance for other people and faiths. That's bedrock principle.
A: You know, religions are in competitive battle. They’re competing for souls and adherents. And the good news is that Bob Jones may not agree with my faith--and obviously he does not--but he does believe that I’m the right person to be president, and that’s because he believes that person of faith should lead the nation. He backs me as a president, not as a pastor. So I’m delighted to have his support and some say when all this is over, we’ll probably talk about religion, too.
Q: Jones went on to say: “I’d be very concerned if he tried to make it appear that Mormonism is a Christian denomination of some sort. It isn’t.” He’s saying you’re not a Christian.
A: Well, people have differing views about faith. But the great thing is that our values are the same.
Given our grand tradition of religious tolerance and liberty, some wonder whether there are any questions regarding an aspiring candidate’s religion that are appropriate. I believe there are.
There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adams’ words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.’
Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.
As Governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution--and of course, I would not do so as President. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.
There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers--I will be true to them and to my beliefs.
Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.
In every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.
It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter--on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course.
A: I believe the Bible is the word of God, absolutely. I might interpret the word differently than you interpret the word, but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the word of God. I don’t disagree with the Bible. I try to live by it.
A century later the answer is the same. An official statement on the church Web site states: “Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with a publicly stated Church position. While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment.“
Romney himself has addressed the issue many times and has supported causes as a politician that he would not support in his personal view. How can you have Harry Reid on the one side and Orrin Hatch on the other without recognizing that the church doesn’t direct political views?
Mitt Romney is Mormon. The media are quick to point that out, practically leading each story with “Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney...” Pollsters probe our psyches for attitudes toward the possibility of a Mormon president.
Are we allowed to wonder about someone’s faith? Do we really care, or is this simply a media-driven issue?
Gov. Romney takes it in stride. “I think my religion is not as well-known as the other candidates’, and people are curious.” He doesn’t hide his religion. He calls himself a man of faith and speaks often of how his faith shapes his life. When asked about the specifics of Mormon doctrine, he defers to the LDS Church. He gives a top-line view of his beliefs, stressing the commonalities of Mormonism to mainstream Christianity.
Do his core values line up with those of Americans of faith? He’s pro-life, a defender of traditional marriage, and believes America’s greatness rests on a three-legged foundation of strength: strong families, a strong economy, and a strong military. Mormons are fiscally and socially conservative. In the 2004 election, 95 percent of Mormon voters cast their ballots for George Bush.
Still, attacks on Romney’s faith continue. One by one the campaigns of other presidential candidates have committed “accidental” attacks on Romney’s religion.
Gov. Romney accepted the apologies, saying, “Clearly, any derogatory comments about anyone’s faith--those comments are troubling. The fact they keep on coming up is even more troubling.”
It’s not all negative, however. At an early campaign stop a man in the audience challenged Romney directly, telling him that he would surely go to hell. The crowd groaned, then booed the man. Romney responded with what has become his signature comment on religion. “I believe Americans want a person of faith to lead the country. It doesn’t matter what brand.”
Mormons have served in other capacities in the national scene. Ronald Reagan’s administration included many Mormons, including his chief strategist, Secretary of Education, and Treasurer. Today 15 Mormons serve in Congress.
Given the political prominence of Mormons, the flurry about Romney’s religion is curious. Yet it is a symptom of the times in which we live.
Then the unthinkable happened. The beautiful new church went up in flames, a target of arson. Arsonists had set several other Mormon meetinghouses ablaze during that year, but none were as badly damaged as the Belmont Chapel.
Turning to other sects in the area, Romney told them an attack on any church was an attack on all churches and asked for their support. Seven churches offered to share their buildings with the Mormons. Churches held fundraisers to help with reconstruction. Belmont offered its town hall.
Romney accepted every offer. Romney said, “Some people in Belmont thought of Latter-day Saints as bizarre, and we were not part of the church community. The fire changed that for good.”
A: Well, Pres. Kennedy some time ago said he was not a Catholic running for president; he was an American running for president. And I’m a proud member of my faith. I think it’s a fair question for people to ask, “What do you believe?” And I think, as you want to understand what I believe, you could recognize that the values that I have are the same values you’ll find in faiths across this country. I believe in God, believe in the Bible, believe Jesus Christ is my savior. I believe that God created man in his image. I believe that the freedoms of man derive from inalienable rights that were given to us by God. And I also believe that there are some pundits out there that are hoping that I’ll distance myself from my church so that that’ll help me politically, and that’s not going to happen.
A: I don’t say anything to Roman Catholic bishops. They can do whatever the heck they want. Roman Catholic bishops are in a private institution, a religion. And they can do whatever they want in a religion.
Q: Do you see that as interference in public life?
A: Well, I can’t imagine a government telling a church who can have Communion in their church. We have a separation of church and state. It’s served us well in this country. This is a nation, after all, that wants a leader that’s a person of faith, but we don’t choose our leader based on which church they go to. This is a nation which also unites over faith and over the right of people to worship as they choose. The people we’re fighting, they’re the ones who divide over faith and decide matters of this nature in the public forum. This is a place where we celebrate different religions and different faiths.
HUCKABEE: I never criticized Gov. Romney for that. When a person says, “My faith doesn’t affect my decision-making,” that the person is saying their faith is not significant to impact their decision process. I tell people up front, “My faith does affect my decision process.”
Q: But you answered a question on Feb. 11 about Romney in this way: “I’m troubled by a person who tells me their faith doesn’t influence their decisions.“
HUCKABEE: A person’s faith shouldn’t qualify or disqualify for public office. But we ought to be honest and open about it.
Q: Gov. Romney, do you accept that he wasn’t talking about you?
ROMNEY: Everyone who’s a person of faith has values that are deeply held. That’s what makes America such a powerful land: that comes from being a people of faith, but not people of a particular church or a particular synagogue. Rather, the great values we share are American values.
The founding prophet of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, declared his candidacy for the presidency in 1844. Mitt Romney’s father, Michigan governor George Romney, ran a full-scale campaign for the presidency in 1967-68. Three years earlier, George Romney was nominated at the 1964 convention as a “favorite son“ candidate, with his teenage son Mitt on the convention floor supporting him. Arizona Democratic Congressman Mo Udall, a Mormon, made a run in 1976. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, another Mormon, threw his hat into the ring against the Bush machine in 2000.
In only one of these races did the Mormon candidate come close to the nomination--George Romney’s 1968 run. Romney was actually the GOP frontrunner for most of 1967, and with that status, his faith became a topic for a delicate sort of scrutiny.
There are a couple of lessons in George Romney’s campaign, but none unique to it: Gaffes can kill campaigns. Allies can switch sides. Difficult wars make for difficult interviews. What George Romney’s campaign didn’t have to deal with, though, was religious bigotry. The elder Romney just didn’t last long enough to see anyone try to raise a “Mormon objection” to his qualifications.
One veteran of the George Romney effort sent Mitt Romney an analysis of why George’s campaign floundered--an assessment that included 20 reasons why he lost. “One of them was not because he was a Mormon or people didn’t understand the Mormon Church or whatever,” Romney underscored.
Article VI, Clause 3“I think it is clear that the way the field of candidates for president is shaping up, Romney is going to be the candidate whose values most closely approximate those of evangelical Christians,” said one pundit. He goes on to say that he sees bigotry in the anti-Mormon assault on Romney.
.no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification in any Office or public Trust under the United States.
But he knows the real challenges lie ahead for him, just as they do for his health plan. One special test involves the public reaction to his Mormon faith. He thinks it won’t ultimately be a barrier but says, “At some point, I know, I will have to face all the questions about its tenets, just as John Kennedy did in West Virginia and in the meeting with the Greater Houston Ministerial Association,” when his Catholicism was an issue. “But I think tolerance will prevail again.”
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise...is to help you and your family.
I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.
We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future. But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future. This was the hope and change America voted for. It's not just what we wanted. It's not just what we expected. It's what Americans deserved.
I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn't something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something.
Did he fix the economy? Did he tackle the housing crisis? Did he get Americans back to work? No.
ROMNEY: I'm an optimist, and I certainly hope it turns around. We have 25 million people that are out of work or have stopped looking for work, and also a lot of people who've got part-time jobs and need full-time employment. I hope we continue to see good news. But it's not thanks to President Obama. His policies have made the recession deeper, and his policies have made the recovery more tepid. As a result of everything from Obamacare to Dodd-Frank to a whole host of new regulations put on American businesses, he's made it harder for small entrepreneurs and big businesses to decide to invest in America and to grow jobs here. And so the president is going to try and take responsibility for things getting better. You know, it's like the rooster taking responsibility for the sunrise. He didn't do it. In fact, what he did was make things harder for America to get going again.
ROMNEY: Let me tell you the title that I want to hear said about Obama, and that is: former President Barack Obama. Pres. Obama is a big-spending liberal. And he takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn't working in Europe. It's not going to work here. I believe in America. I believe in the opportunity and in the freedom that is American opportunity and freedom. I believe in free enterprise and capitalism. I believe government is too big. It's gone from 27% of our economy in the years of JFK to 37% of our economy. We have to rein in the scale of government or we're not going to be a free economy.
If I decide to run for President, it won't take me two years to wake up to the job crisis threatening America. Fifteen million Americans are out of work.
In a world composed of nations that are filled with rage and hate for the US, our president should proudly defend her rather than continually apologize for her.
I reject the view that America must decline. I believe in American exceptionalism. I am convinced that we can act together to strengthen the nation, to preserve our global leadership, and to protect freedom where it exits and promote it where it does not.
That Mitt's performance was achieved by dint of personal determination and largely funded by his own money made his showing even more impressive. He had established himself as a Republican to be reckoned with. In fact, the political IOUs he collected in 1994 would prove useful in his hurry-up campaign for governor eight years later.
Romney cast himself as a doer, not just a dreamer, who had managed large enterprises, and as an outsider who would shake up the capital. "I do not believe Washington can be transformed from within by a lifelong politician," he said. "There have been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements, and too little real-world experience managing, guiding, leading." If Republicans wanted competence, he would be that candidate.
A: Absolutely. Reagan would say we’re going to win in Iraq, and I’m not going to walk out of Iraq until we win in Iraq. Reagan would say lower taxes, lower spending. Reagan is pro-life. He would want to have an amendment to protect marriage. Reagan would say that Washington is broken. Like Reagan, I’d go to Washington as an outsider--not owing favors, not lobbyists on every elbow. I would be able to be the independent outsider that Reagan was, and he brought change to Washington. Reagan would say let’s drill in ANWR. Reagan would say no way we are going to have amnesty again. Reagan saw it, it didn’t work. Let’s not do it again. Reagan would say no to a 50-cent-per-gallon charge on Americans for oil that the rest of the world doesn’t have to pay. Reagan would have said absolutely no way to McCain-Feingold. I would be with Reagan. This party has a choice, what the heart and soul of this party is going to be, and it’s going to be in the house that Reagan built
A: That theme is not going to stand the test of time because you can see what I did as governor. And my positions as president are identical to those as governor. They all flow from them. I found a way to work with Democrats in my legislature. I’m proud of my record, and I’m running on my record, and my views are consistent with that record. Everybody over time is going to make an experienced judgment based on what they think is right, and no candidate has been the same throughout the entire process. And if they have, I’ll show you a candidate that ought to be pushed aside, because you know what? You should learn from experience. If you want somebody who’s never learned from experience, who’s never made a mistake, I’m not your guy
ROMNEY: When I ran against Ted Kennedy in 1994, that was a big uphill climb. But let me tell you, I was fighting for issues like making sure that we would have the death penalty in our state, fighting to keep our taxes down. I was fighting against the Liberal Lion in perhaps the toughest state in America. And I’m pretty proud of what I was able to accomplish in that race, but nothing compares to the pride I have with the work that I was able to do as a governor.
McCAIN: Gov. Romney, you’ve been spending the last year trying to fool people about your record. I don’t want you to start fooling them about mine. I stand on my record as a conservative, and I don’t think you can fool the American people. They may not agree with me on a couple of issues, but they’ll know I’m telling the truth, and my steadfast positions on these issues for more than 20 years.
LOU GORDON: (on Vietnam): “Isn’t your position a bit inconsistent with what it was?”
GEORGE ROMNEY: “Well, you know when I came back from Vietnam I just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get. Not only by the generals, but also by the diplomatic corps. I no longer believe it was necessary for us to get involved in South Vietnam to stop Communist aggression.“
The comment took on a life of its own, spawning headlines like: ”Romney Asserts He Underwent ‘Brainwashing’ on Vietnam Trip.“ The public uproar was loud and quick. Romney had impugned the integrity of honorable men! He can’t recognize truth when he sees it! Romney is too gullible to be president!
Lesson #1 for son in politics: Watch what you say.
A: You let the president decide what the responsibilities of the V.P. would be in his administration.
Q: What would you decide?
A: Depends on the person, depends on the needs, depends on their capabilities. But I like a person that gives wide viewpoints on a wide array of issues. It’s been very popular lately to be critical of the president and the V.P. I know they make mistakes. But they have kept us safe these last 6 years.
ANNOUNCER: In the most liberal state in the country one Republican stood up and cut spending instead of raising taxes; he enforced immigration laws, stood up for traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life.
ROMNEY: This isn’t the time for us to shrink from conservative principles. It’s a time for us to stand in strength. Strong military, strong economy, strong families.
ANNOUNCER: In the toughest place, Mitt Romney’s done the toughest things
True, Massachusetts has Democratic Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, and in 2004 it became the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage. In the 1972 presidential election, it was the only state (plus DC) won by Democratic nominee George McGovern.
But consider Vermont, the home of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described “independent democratic socialist,” and of Howard Dean, former governor. Social activist ice cream czars Ben & Jerry also are based there.
Then there’s Rhode Island, which cast a greater share of its votes--61%--for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in 2000 than any other state. And some might well grant the distinction to New Jersey, which has a higher personal income tax than Massachusetts, as well as two Democratic senators.
Has said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.” Supports civil unions and stringent gun laws. After visiting Houston, he criticized the city’s aesthetics, saying, “This is what happens when you don’t have zoning.”What’s a RINO? Wikipedia.com explains:
RINO stands for Republican In Name Only, a disparaging term for a member of the Republican Party who is thought to be too fiscally or socially moderate or even liberal. It has replaced the older term Rockefeller Republican. The term is used by conservatives to delegitimize moderate Republican office holders. Those labeled RINOs counter that the conservatives who call them RINOs are too far right and too politically naive. They point out that they can and do win in moderate and liberal areas and without their votes the Republicans would lose control of Congress.
We recognized that there was no way I was going to beat him. After I won the primary, and was ahead in the polls, Kennedy launched a particularly effective attack campaign, portraying me as a money-grubbing businessman. He beat me soundly.
We wanted to raise new ideas for government, and help rebuild a disappearing second party. But after it was over, we did not feel like we had accomplished what we set out to do.
A state rep endorsed me for governor. The attention stemmed from the weakness of the incumbent. She had taken over for the governor when he became Ambassador to Canada. A poll showed such poor ratings that the pollster said she was unelectable. If I did not run, he concluded, the GOP would lose the office and probably disappear as a viable party in Massachusetts: the legislature had dropped to 15% Republican. Democracy needs two parties; If not, me, who?
Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p.379-380 , Aug 25, 2004
When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together. I was an Episcopalian. He was a Mormon. We were very young. Both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage, and you know? We just didn't care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen.
That was 42 years ago. Now we have five sons and 18 grandchildren and I'm still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance.
This moment provided a lesson for Mitt which he would use in his later political life. Mitt had started an endurance race as if it were a dash. "It stayed with him the rest of his life--pace yourself and to run the whole race, and to temper your enthusiasm with judgment," another classmate said.
Romney's injuries appeared so severe that a police officer who responded to the scene made a grave notation in the young man's passport: "Il est mort"--"He is dead." In fact, Romney was unconscious in a coma for 3 days. One passenger died. Romney recovered quickly and without surgery.
By all accounts, Romney himself was driving cautiously that day and deserved no blame. For Mitt, the fatal accident was a turning point. He was still a young man, 21 years old, with a young man's sense of his own invincibility.
The Romneys' Mormon faith, as they began building a life together, formed a deep foundation. The Romney's family-centric lifestyle was a choice; Mitt and Ann plainly cherished time at home with the boys more than anything. But it was also a duty. Belonging to the Mormon church meant accepting a code of conduct that placed supreme value on strong families. The Romneys have longed cited a well-known Mormon credo: "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."
When the Romneys arrived in the Boston area in 1971, they established a home in Belmont, a well-to-do suburb that was fast becoming a magnet for Mormon families. Over the next decade, they would have three more boys in addition to Tagg and Matt. Joshua was born in 1975, Benjamin in 1978, and then Craig in 1981.
Ann, fit and not yet 50 years old, had first noticed the symptoms in 1997, and they had gotten progressively worse. Numbness in her right leg. A hard time climbing stairs. Difficulty swallowing. Initially they'd thought that maybe she had a virus or a pinched nerve.
After an MRI, Ann Romney had multiple sclerosis, a life-changing, chronic disease of the central nervous system whose course is difficult to predict. Ann's diagnosis changed everything. Now the love of Mitt's life was facing a potentially crippling disease. Their future was in doubt.
Eventually, Ann hit upon an effective assortment of treatments, including yoga, Pilates, reflexology, acupuncture, and a controlled diet. Perhaps most important, she rekindled her childhood love of horses, improving both her mobility and spirit.
Traditionally, Mormons are encouraged to marry young. As they prepare to return home, young missionaries are often instructed to immediately begin the search for "an eternal companion."
Mitt returned home from France in Dec. 1968. He wasted no time. On the short ride home from the airport, Mitt proposed marriage again. Ann accepted instantaneously.
Mitt's mother and Ann's parents were horrified. They thought Mitt and Ann were way too young, and it was much too fast.
George Romney went on his church mission to Great Britain. When he returned to America in 1928, he moved to Washington DC and took night classes at GWU, and then worked as a lobbyist for Alcoa.
In 1940, he joined the Automobile Manufacturers Association in Detroit. He became general manager of the association in 1942. In 1954 George Romney was named president of American Motors, the first Romney-led turnaround took place.
After prayer and a 24-hour fast, he resigned from American Motors and ran for governor of Michigan in 1962. In 1964 Romney stood up to the Republican Party, demanding it take a stronger stand on civil rights. He famously walked out on Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention.
George Romney suggested that his son study law, but Mitt wanted to go to business school. In a compromise in the great political tradition, he attended Harvard, intent on earning a Juris Doctor and MBA simultaneously. Mitt Romney doesn’t recommend it. Harvard doesn’t give you a break on tuition, he ruefully acknowledges. He graduated in four years with both degrees and headed off on a brilliant career.
She claims she would have preferred a diagnosis of a terminal disease because she was so ill. The left side of her body was numb and her balance was off-kilter. Worst of all, fatigue overwhelmed her.
Ann Romney faced the disease in a proactive way. She turned to a variety of methods to rebuild her strength and get her life back. They included acupuncture and reflexology, yoga & Pilates, deep breathing exercises & steroids. These treatments all helped, but she credits her recovery largely to getting back on a horse.
Today the disease is in remission and Mrs. Romney is healthy. She pays close attention to her energy level and diet. She continues to ride horses.
A: No, no, no, not quite like that.
Q: Inside a kennel.
A: Yes, yes.
Q: What were you thinking?
A: This is a completely airtight kennel and mounted on the top of our car. He climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself. It was where he was comfortable. And we had five kids inside the car. My guess is he liked it a lot better in his kennel than he would have liked it inside.
Q: Well, Massachusetts law prohibits carrying an animal on top of a car, even in a kennel, as cruel and inhuman. Do you really think you did nothing wrong?
A: I didn’t know that there was any problem with that in terms of Massachusetts law. Love my dog. We’ve had a lot of dogs over the years. Love them. Seamus, as his name is, climbed up there all by himself, enjoyed his ride, and whether you’re in the back of a pickup truck or in the rooftop carrier, it was a good ride. He was a good friend of the family.
I later joked with the press that it was due to an overdeveloped community service gene. And that was not far from the truth. Ann’s arguments had resonance, but they had resonance because she knows my core beliefs and life aspirations. She knows that somewhere deep inside, I hoped to commit myself to things greater than making a living or building a fortune. It was the spirit of service in one form or another--a family poltergeist that has haunted my ancestors for generations. It was the legacy of my heritage.
Tragically, there was a fatality; one of my passengers was pronounced dead at the scene. I was also pronounced dead. One of the gendarmes found me unconscious and wrote, “il est mort” on my passport.
My parents and Ann, my then-girlfriend, learned I had expired. They did not believe it. My father called Sargent Shriver, who was then the US ambassador at the American embassy in Paris. Shriver assured them I was very much alive.
At the hospital where we were taken, the doctor’s triage led him to focus on another colleague. Broken ribs, facial lacerations, & bleeding were more threatening then my broken arm & swollen forehead.
SANTORUM: I didn't suggest it was a bad earmark. I voted for it. But Gov. Romney asked for that earmark. His TV ads right now, unfortunately, attack me for saying that I'm this great earmarker, when he not only asked for earmarks for the Salt Lake Olympics, but also did as the governor of Massachusetts, $300 million. He said, "I would be foolish if I didn't try to get federal dollars."
ROMNEY: I would put a ban on earmarks. He mentioned coming to the Congress, asking for support. No question about it. That's the nature of leading an organization or a state. You come to Congress and you say, these are the things we need. In the history of the Olympic movement, the federal government has always provided the transportation and security. I was fighting for those things. But while I was fighting to save the Olympics, Santorum was fighting to save the "Bridge to Nowhere."
One advisor thought the damage could extend to Romney's business career, rooted as it was in his reputation for high competence and probity. The advisor said. "If he failed to put on a quality Olympic Games, his reputation as a private-equity guy would have been significantly damaged. I think he took it because he felt that the Mormons were in trouble. He never said that, but I think he saw the scandal as a stain on his religion. He knew a calamity when he saw one."
And that was the appeal. "He loves emergencies and catastrophes," Ann Romney said they day her husband took the reins. "He would never have considered doing it if it wasn't a big mess."
There was no real financial crisis at the time Romney took over--"the SLOC had plenty of money on hand"--one analyst added, "but a leadership vacuum can create financial problems. Plus, we had lots more money to raise and fewer than five years to do it. We needed a visible leader, someone whose presence would be reassuring to the world."
Was Romney a savior or an opportunist? Probably a little of both, but probably more of the latter. Many say the games simply would have been a success, no matter who ran them. The Mormon Church would never have allowed them to fail.
With the previous financial problems and bribery accusations associated with the Salt Lake Olympics before Romney came on board, it may be that organizers decided to forego the threat of a lawsuit by excluding Scouts.
Enter Mitt Romney. Hailed as a white knight, turnaround king, and Games saver, Romney was offered the job as president of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee a little over a month after the former president stepped down. At first Romney didn’t want to take the job. He had no experience with sports management, was happily living in Massachusetts, and business was booming at Bain Capital. His deep belief in service--and some serious nudging from his wife Ann--convinced him to take the job. Relying on his lifelong credo of public service (“If not me, who?”), he headed to Utah.
The significance of Romney’s Olympic stewardship for Romney’s presidential bid is much more in the stories he tells of the Games than in the awful numbers he and his colleagues confronted and reversed. Romney has got a box of business stories, but they cannot compare with the planning for the torch relay, or the tale of tempting the Today Show with a promise of a Romney run on the skeleton sled.
[But as I spoke with Olympic champions], it began to impress on me that the Olympics are really about something greater than sport, but seen through sport and the Olympians themselves. The Olympics are a showcase of some of the great qualities of the human spirit: determination, persistence, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, faith, passion, teamwork, loyalty, honor, character. The Olympics celebrate the human spirit by revealing the athlete’s unrelenting drive to push the limits of human capacity.
The phrase we eventually gave as the vision of our Games was “Light the Fire Within.” Those words, that vision would affect everything we did at the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
I gave very little thought at all to what I would do afterwards. Many people cannot believe that. They think that I had calculated the political benefits. I saw no political connection at all. The idea of going to Utah as a way of helping me run in Massachusetts was nuts. If I wanted to run, I would have stayed in Massachusetts. And I had no appetite for staying in Utah for a political career. There were plenty of people who had lived there all their lives, who were prepared and qualified. I was going to Utah to run the Olympics. Ann and I felt it was the right thing to do. We felt it brought greater meaning to what we had already done. I wanted to serve the community, not run for office.
When you take a job to perform a service, not to earn a paycheck or win a jackpot, you do not really care a lot about how people think of you. You have the absolute luxury to do exactly what you think is right. Ann kept reminding me that this was about serving. It was a great relief and it freed my anxious mind to really do what I thought was right.
We designed a donor package of benefits. Our bronze level cost $100,000 and entitled the donor to 4 tickets each to even of several prime events over the 17 days of the Games. Silver was $500,000 and brought 8 ticket packages & other benefits. A cool million included 12 ticketing packages.
Because no good deed goes uncriticized, the donor program attracted its fair share of naysayers. Rich people were going to get special deals. Yes, and we would get an even more special deal because these rich people would be helping us pay for Games that were in financial crisis.
Dollar by dollar, million by million, we climbed toward the $100 million dollar goal. We enlisted 105 donors. We secured the $100 million.
But, there was nothing to do but approach Utah to ask for forbearance. I knew it would not be easy. The whole point of the state payment schedule was to guarantee that Utah taxpayers would get their money out first. But if we did not keep the bank line of credit, we would not have Games and if we did not have Games, the cities and towns would get zero. Give the forbearance and the cities and towns had a shot at the whole $99 million. The legislature eventually approved the deferral.
During the parade of nations, the host country’s delegation is always last. The last 8 American athletes in line would carry the 9/11 flag. The Olympic Charter stipulated that displays of nationalistic sentiment were not permitted. Hitler’s efforts to use the Games in the 1930s to celebrate Aryan superiority had sent aftershocks that were still felt.
The IOC had decided that the WTC flag could not take a place in the ceremonies. I was sympathetic to the policy but I felt it was wrong.
We finally agree about 1 AM the next morning. The flag would be brought into the stadium just before the anthem was played and held in front of the symphony and choir. A second American flag would be raised during the anthem.
In his three years in Salt Lake, Mitt erased a $360 million operating deficit, organized 23,000 volunteers, galvanized community spirit, oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization to ensure public safety and led one of the most successful Olympics in our country’s history.
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Mayor Rocky Anderson(J)