Mitt Romney has staked his entire presidential campaign on two things: his track record at Bain Capital and his leadership of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. His Bain record has received a fair bit of coverage, and Romney has been reduced to accusing his critics of being Communist tyrants. His record with the Olympics has been largely ignored, however—until now.
Although Romney rails on a daily basis against President Obama’s auto bailout and against Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich ‘s earmarking, yesterday’s Washington Post reminded us that as head of the Olympic games, Romney bragged about lobbying the federal government to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the winter games. And this morning the Democratic National Committee released the video at the top of this post highlighting the massive federal spending—effectively a bailout—that went into saving the 2002 games.
It’s a very funny video, particularly the segment in which John McCain lambasts the Salt Lake City “boondoggle,” but it has a serious point: when Mitt Romney claims credit for saving the winter Olympics, the part he leaves out is that taxpayers footed the bill. The real credit should go to the American public. His main accomplishment was that he was an effective lobbyist for the games. And when he attacks the federal government now for what he calls “crony capitalism,” what he’s really attacking is the very same thing that he depended on just ten years ago.