« Of Course I went to Chick-fil-A Today | Main | Obama in Never-Never Land »

August 6, 2012

Governor Romney's Olympic Achievement

Photobucket

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent this email out today which spells out the problems Mitt Romney faced when he took over the 2002 Winter Olympics and all that he did to solve them. I had no idea the problems were as bad as they were before he got there.


Dear Fellow Virginians,

Now that we're about half way through the Olympics, I thought it appropriate to reflect on the accomplishment that put Mitt Romney on the national (and international) stage: the turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

This is important for several reasons, first among them the continuing contrast of real-world accomplishments that Mitt Romney has achieved compared to the complete dearth of accomplishment of the current President when he ran for President (to say nothing of what he has done to America since he took office).

I think that it is objectively accurate to say that Barack Obama was the least accomplished person to ever ascend to the Presidency in my lifetime and probably all the way back through the 20th century, if not ever. What did he accomplish in the U.S. Senate? Nothing. What did he accomplish in the Illinois State Senate? Nothing - including frequently (147 times I think) not even voting even though he was present... pretty basic. What did he accomplish outside of government? Nothing that he seems to want to talk about...

Prior to being elected to anything, Mitt Romney founded and led Bain Capital, a pioneering and successful venture capital firm for more than a decade and a half. And in February 1999, he was asked to take over the effort to plan for and execute the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I'm writing about Romney's 2002 Olympic accomplishment because it was completely non-partisan, difficult to achieve, and represents a reasonable analogy for the choice before us in the 2012 Presidential election.

Upon Arrival

First, let's look at what he was walking into. The 2002 Winter Olympics weren't merely struggling, they were mired in scandal. Do you remember the discovery of the $1 million worth of gifts and bribes to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to win the Olympics in the first place? That's what Romney was walking into.

But that's not all. When Mitt Romney came on board, the budget for the 2002 Olympics was $1.45 billion, but it was $380 million in deficit. Executives were spending lavishly on meals and travel, going to meetings with large entourages, and the culture within the organization was such that they would never have gotten into the black without a radical turnaround. Sound like a useful example for the federal government?

On his way in, Romney thought the problem he was confronting was 80% a public relations problem and 20% a management problem. After only three weeks on the job, he concluded the problem was 80% management and only 20% public relations. And he rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

To cut to the chase on the numbers, Romney cut $200 million out of the budget (a 15% cut) and finished $100 million in the black... with praise for the accomplishment coming from every corner of America and beyond. A 15% cut in the federal budget would cut the deficit in half.

Making it Happen

To achieve this unprecedented Olympic turnaround required many things: strategic planning, hard-nosed decision making, even harder-nosed execution of those decisions, and a change in the corporate culture (and day-to-day operation) of the whole Salt Lake City committee - starting at the top.

Romney immediately stopped the lavish dinners. At meetings, executives had to pay for their own coffee and doughnuts, had to buy slices of pizza for $1 each, sodas for 25 cents. The entourages stopped going on trips. Trips were cut short or eliminated, e.g., Romney's December 1999 report to the IOC in Switzerland was done by teleconference, saving 3 days travel and $10,000.

Romney and his team questioned basic assumptions about how an Olympics should (must?) be run. When something didn't seem to make sense, he would drill down on it and frequently find that, in fact, it didn't make sense! And over the side such things would go.

For example, having a daily "Olympic Newspaper..." Why not let the papers in Salt Lake City handle that job? And so they did.

No limos for VIPS. No lavish hotel suites or parties for the IOC or anyone else. All business.

Romney also donated each of his three years' of salary - $275,000 per year - to charity? Additionally, he personally donated about $1,000,000 of his personal money to the Olympics. No shortage of personal commitment at the top of this organization.

Comparison

The last time the U.S. hosted the Winter Olympics prior to 2002 was in Lake Placid, New York in 1980. One of the gripes the Obama folks lob in about this incredible accomplishment is that the 2002 Winter Olympics got federal funds. Which is certainly true. However, while just under 20% of the 2002 budget came from federal funds, in Lake Placid in 1980 that number was about 50%.

Would I prefer no federal money? Sure I would, but Romney got a lot less federal help to pull off a winter Olympics than Lake Placid, and he started in a deep, deep hole.

Relevance

Well, this is obvious. America is in a deep financial hole. And Barack Obama has violated the first rule of holes since the day he was sworn in, namely, when you're in a hole - stop digging.

Our federal government needs a turnaround. It involves more than just our President, but the President plays a critical leadership role.

We need to replace our current President - one who insists on continuing to dig us into deeper and deeper holes (e.g., last month's jobs report and rise in unemployment) - with a President who has a track record of executive accomplishment.

I would respectfully suggest that President Obama has had three and a half years of failure as President, and nothing prior to 2008 to point to and say "this shows what I can do." Mitt Romney has achievements that he can point to and say "this shows what I can do," but none of them stand out like his arduous, three-year turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Half way through the 2012 Summer Olympics, as Americans and others around the world celebrate great accomplishments, it seemed to me to be a good time to reflect back on one of Mitt Romney's greatest accomplishments.

Please share the comparison of accomplishment versus none with your friends and family, in letters to the editor, and via door knocking and phone calling at our Victory Centers! Click here to find your nearest Victory Center. I'll see you out on the campaign trail.

Sincerely,


Ken Cuccinelli, II
Attorney General of Virginia

P.S. Here is a recent T.V. ad on the subject of the 2002 Olympics that the Romney Super-PAC has put out.

Posted by Tom at August 6, 2012 6:06 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.theredhunter.com/mt/refer.cgi/1830

Comments

This report conveniently left out a very, very import piece of why the 2002 Olympics succeeded: Mitt Romney Didn't Make That Happen Without Government Money:

Mitt Romney said he would have been unable to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, had it not been for the "enormous spending and services of the federal government."

The words, uttered by Romney in 2002, are in direct contrast to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's relentless attacks on President Barack Obama over his "you didn't build that" comments.

Romney and Republicans have spent the last month knocking Obama as government-obsessed and for crediting Washington with the success of small businesses. But by the former Massachusetts governor's own admission, it was only with the government's support that he was able to pull off the Olympics he so often heralds as one of his career's greatest accomplishments.

"Without question, we simply could not host Games in Salt Lake if it were not for the enormous spending and services of the federal government," Romney had said in a 2001 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing around cooperation between federal, state, local and private agencies for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

"When I came to the Games two years ago, following the revelations of bid impropriety, there was nothing which caused greater anxiety than whether or not we could count on this critical federal support," he said, before thanking both the Clinton and Bush administrations for being involved with his committee's planning efforts "every step of the way."

According to Romney at the time, former President George W. Bush specifically included Olympic items in the budget he submitted to Congress.

The testimony doesn't just contradict Romney's current position on the role of federal spending -- it also underscores the outside help he received in orchestrating the 2002 Olympics.

Without the federal government, Romney would not have succeeded. Romney admitted this himself.


Posted by: Shaw Kenawe at August 7, 2012 9:05 AM

Er no. Romney did not succeed only because of money from the federal government. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli addressed that falsehood directly:

One of the gripes the Obama folks lob in about this incredible accomplishment is that the 2002 Winter Olympics got federal funds. Which is certainly true. However, while just under 20% of the 2002 budget came from federal funds, in Lake Placid in 1980 that number was about 50%.

Would I prefer no federal money? Sure I would, but Romney got a lot less federal help to pull off a winter Olympics than Lake Placid, and he started in a deep, deep hole.

So nothing you say changes the main assertion of the piece, which you conveniently left out, and that is that without Mitt Romney the whole thing would still have been a failure, government money or not.

If Obama had been in charge, the Salt Lake City Olympics would have been a miserable failure, even with twice as much government money. We know this because of Obama has not a bit of experience in managing anything of substance. Before getting into politics Obama had done nothing productive with his life and had achieved nothing of significance. His "community activist" work helped almost no one (see here). As AG Cuccinelli says, he has "nothing prior to 2008 to point to and say "this shows what I can do." "

Obama's management of the U.S. economy has been a disaster. He has spent trillions and the economy has gotten worse. All Obama can do is throw money at problems and rack up debt without solving anything.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, can take money and make good out of it. Obama wastes government money, and Romney makes good productive use of it.

Posted by: Tom the Redhunter at August 8, 2012 9:13 PM

Mitt Romney, in his own words, contradicts what you and Cuccinelli wrote:

"Without question, we simply could not host Games in Salt Lake if it were not for the enormous spending and services of the federal government," Romney had said in a 2001 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing around cooperation between federal, state, local and private agencies for the Salt Lake City Olympics.


Romney says in his own words that the government contributed "enormous spending" and without its "services" Salt Lake could not have hosted the games.

IOW, Romney need the government's help in order to succeed. He said himself he couldn't have succeeded without the government.

Posted by: Shaw Kenawe at August 9, 2012 9:14 AM

No again. This contradicts nothing.

Yes without federal money the games could not have succeeded. Yes Romney alone could not have done it. But that without Mitt Romney's leadership the money alone would not have worked. In other words, the same money but with different management would not alone have made the games a success. Money without proper management simply results in a huge waste.

This is a rather simple concept.

Posted by: The Redhunter Author Profile Page at August 9, 2012 3:52 PM

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)