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Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games, by Mitt Romney
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by Massscorecard.org:
This book is about Mitt Romney's experience as the chairman of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), which ran the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Some of Romney's comments in the book hail back to his time at Bain Capital, or forward to his time as Governor of Massachusetts. But mostly it's about SLOC, so most of our excerpts are about the principles & values he developed and/or describes from there.
Romney is widely credited with "turning around" the Olympics, after a series of scandals within SLOC involving corruption and bad financial planning. Romney overcame both problems, and pulled off a successful Olympics, which was viewed as having recovered the integrity of the Games, while also turning a profit.
Romney's performance in the Olympics was exemplary and outstandingly positive. However, he claims he never thought about the political implications of running the Olympics; and he claims he never considered running for Governor while at the Olympics. I don't believe that for one second. Romney ran for Senate against Ted Kennedy in the 1990s, and made a decent showing against the single most entrenched incumbent in the Senate. Everyone in Massachusetts politics, including myself, always assumed Romney would run for office again, and fully expected him to segue from the Olympics to a gubernatorial run. If Romney was surprised by that turn of events, he was the only one!
Romney, in effect, rode the coattails of his Olympic turnaround to victory in the Massachusetts gubernatorial election of 2002. There was no gap between the two -- Romney flew back from Utah and immediately entered the gubernatorial race. Similarly, there was no gap after Romney retired from the Governor's position -- he announced for President the day after the inauguration of Deval Patrick, his successor. So Romney is still, in effect, riding the coattails of the Olympics in the presidential race.
P.S. Full disclosure: I worked as a senior (paid) staffer for the Robert Reich for Governor campaign, which was a Democratic campaign in the primary when Romney was the only Republican candidate. After Reich's loss in the primary, I volunteered with the Shannon O'Brien campaign, which directly ran against Romney in the general election.
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@Massscorecard.org, Feb. 2007
Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games, by Mitt Romney.