Summarized by Kent Larsen
Deseret News Profiles Mitt Romney
Deseret News 6Jul00 N2
By Elaine Jarvik: Deseret News staff writer
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Deseret News' Elaine Jarvik gives a long and
interesting profile of Salt Lake Organizing Committee President Mitt Romney,
the LDS Church member who moved to Salt Lake from Boston to save the 2002
Winter Olympics in the wake of a bribery scandal. The profile shows how
Romney, perpetually aware of those around him, is able to diarm the press
and lead the committee in preparing for the Olympics.
Romney joined the Salt Lake Organizing Committee 16 months ago, after Utah
developer and Salt Lake Organizing Committee board member Kem Gardner
approached Romney's wife, Ann, asking her to get Mitt to consider it. His
first response was, "That's absolutely ridiculous."
But Mitt took the job and his family moved to Salt Lake City. Two weeks into
the job, however, he discovered the true extent of the SLOC's financial
problems, which went beyond the bribery scandal. "Two weeks into it, he
started tearing the books apart, and he realized it was much worse than just
the scandal. . . . He wasn't sleeping at all," says Ann. But after Romney's
efforts during the past 16 months, he is sleeping again, and the SLOC's
budget is in line with revenue projections, following cuts of $180 million
and $200 million in sponsorship revenue that Mitt helped raise.
Jarvik connect's Mitt Romney's abilities with the example his father set for
him. George Romney became head of American Motors when Mitt was 8. While his
father was there, Mitt learned that leaders are sometimes hands-off, letting
employees perform their responsibilities without interference. Other times,
he learned, they are very involved in the details of an issue.
When Mitt was 15, his father ran for Governor of Michigan, and won. "I
learned how you say things, what you don't say, how you build consensus,"
says Mitt of the experience. A few years later, Mitt was serving an LDS
mission in France when his father ran for President of the US, and Mitt
learned then about the benefits and pitfalls of being open to the media and
the public. His father's failure to win the Republican nomination for
President over Richard Nixon is generally attributed to his statement that
he and other US Governors had been "brainwashed" during a tour of Vietnam.
Romney has put these lessons to work, first at the Boston venture capital
firm Bain &Co., and then in a campaign for the US Senate against veteran
politician Ted Kennedy. Ultimately, according to Jarvik, it was Romney's
nature and image, his impossible-seeming clean living and upscale life style
that made some voters uncomfortable and kept him from winning the election.
The Boston Herald, in profiling Mitt and Ann Romney asked "Are they out of a
time warp or something?" and the Boston Globe's bureau chief Frank Phillips
said that "people felt Ted Kennedy was one of us and Mitt was from another
Jarvik's account gives many insights into Romney's character, and tries to
give a sense of what may be ahead for him. Romney has gained a strong
reputation in Utah, getting approval from 75% of Utahns for how he is
handling the SLOC. That kind of favorable publicity, along with his LDS
background and Republican credentials make him a shoe-in for office in Utah.
But Utah isn't a great place to start a national political career, and both
Mitt and Ann miss Boston. And while many reports indicate that Romney is
interested in running for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he hasn't
decided what he will do. Since his wife, Ann, was diagnosed with multiple
sclerosis in the fall of 1998, Romney says that it depends largely on her
Romney a hit with Utahns
Deseret News 6Jul00 N2
By Lisa Riley Roche: Deseret News staff writer