Romney has a history of surviving poor decision-making by gulping down federal largesse. He’s built up an impressive mythology about someone who makes things work. It’s true when he speaks about at Bain as a job maker, conveniently forgetting that $10 million bailout. But such money is paltry compared to another venture where Washington, DC saved his bacon with their checkbook: the SLC 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He likes to brag about how he “turned them around”, but in reality he did so only by reaching into Uncle Sam’s pocket. With taxpayer money and government employees the 2002 Games succeeded, with the help of Republicans in Washington to help out a fellow rich conservative.
How much money? $380 million from a friendly Republican president.:
Just as important is the federal contribution of about $380 million, five times what taxpayers had to pay for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and twice as much as what the federal government spent on the 1996 Games in Atlanta. [It was also twice that of the 2000 Sydney Olympics]
With a fraction of the athletes and events of Atlanta, Mitt helped himself to double the taxpayer money. With Washington taking care of 20% of his budget, it became a lot easier to balance the books. Now, this was for good reason — security costs shot up in the wake of 9/11. But as with Bain, anytime Mitt talks about running a good organization and doesn’t give much of the credit to the federal government, he’s not being straight with the voters.
It was the ideal situation, and even Senator Superman knew when it was time to help a GOP brother out:
Robert Flowers, who was in charge of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command, accompanied Romney to a meeting with Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, an appropriations leader, a few days after 9/11.
“I went to ask him for money,” Flowers said, “and Senator Stevens raised his hand, stopped me from speaking and said, ‘Mister Flowers, nobody is going to tell you no today.
What’s funny is the shortfall when Romney was brought in in 1999 was under $400 million. Quite a miracle turnaround, Mitt: covering a private shortfall with government money from a Republican helping take care of a fellow elephant. Such daring! Of course, the $380 million in federal dollars is not a big deal: Mitt’s adventure drained $1.3 billion from taxpayers. Any idiot can “succeed” with that kind of stimulus.
What did Romney’s newest BFF, John McCain say about all those taxpayers dollars going to Mitt’s project at the time?
What the Olympic games supposedly hosted and funded by Salt Lake City, which began in corruption and bribery, has now turned into is an incredible pork-barrel project for Salt Lake City and its environs.
And those nasty public sector workers, that government fat? Mitt didn’t mind them when he need help:
The number of security personnel increased to roughly 10,100, including 2,400 soldiers from National Guard units in Utah and 13 other states, 3,100 Secret Service and FBI agents, plus 4,600 law-enforcement officers from 48 states.
Once again, the federal government helps out the private sector. And once again, Mitt seems to think it happened because of his genius. Romney is great at taking credit for guiding taxpayer money into his coffers — it’s how he’s survived. By winning access to the entire federal treasury, where else would “Bailout Mitt” guide our dollars?
[Late edit: Something I’d mentioned earlier elsewhere but not here –in addition to government largesse, Romney apparently benefited from being there when the check for tv rights came in. That was another revenue boost Romney didn’t earn but tried to claim credit for — CBS News declares that “if that story gains legs, Romney could be in big-time trouble.”]