Romney's Olympic-Sized Opportunity

The Obama campaign attacks on Romney for what he did or did not do from 1999 to 2002 has put Romney on the defensive. However, Mitt Romney has a massive Olympic-sized Opportunity to turn his current weakness into a trump card and power through the Bain of Obama attacks.  The epiphany for me came in a factcheck review that debunked the Obama attacks on Romney after 1999. Factcheck is clear that Team Obama is lying:

we reaffirm our conclusion that Romney left the helm of Bain Capital when he took a leave of absence in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics – as he has said repeatedly — and never returned to active management. The Obama campaign’s recent ads thus mislead when they point to investments made by Bain, as well as management decisions made by companies in which Bain invested, after that time.

This review is a stunning indictment of the Obama campaign’s willingness to engage in sleazy slanders, but that’s not what got me … factcheck’s review of what Romney was really busy doing is what got me:

it also quotes an accountant friend who was assisting Romney, Bob White, as saying “Right now he’s doing two, maybe three full-time jobs” running the Olympics.  Romney’s wife, Ann, is quoted as saying that her husband had been working 112 hours a week at first, causing her to move to Salt Lake City to be with him. Since her arrival, she said, he had cut his Olympics work to 84 hours a week.

Wow. 84 hour weeks? 112 hour weeks? Let’s review what this really mean here, and let it sink in:

  • Mitt Romney worked really hard to turn around the SLC Olympics
  • He worked harder and longer hours doing this job than any job Obama has done in his life, including being President
  • Mitt Romney took leave of a job that was making him millions and did this job, working 80+ hour weeks – FOR NO PAY
  • At the end of the day, the scandal-ridden, debt-ridden Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics was turned around and successfully held, a credit to Romney’s hard work, skill and leadership, and the work of those around him who made it happen.

Whether or not Romney had time to get in anything Bain-related while working 80 hours a week rescuing the Olympics becomes ever more petty and small-minded a concern, and ever more desperate and untrue.  Now, if the debate starts to get around to the question “How much credit should Romney get for turning around the SLC Olympics in 2002?” we will be able to talk not just about a guy who can actually manage a difficult situation to success, but we can also share anecdotes like this:

When he finally got back to Salt Lake, he delivered an address that has become legend, speaking about the awesome responsibility and the honor of hosting the world’s first international meeting after the attacks. He then led the team singing America the Beautiful, Fraser Bullock recalls. “He’s a very good singer,” he said.

Yes, it’s ironic that Obama has mocked Romney for singing the anthem America the Beautiful, but one wonders how effective the Obama ad would be if people realized what the FIRST time he did that publicly was about. One wonders – why not put out a pro-Romney ad that highlights how Romney saved this important post WTC attack event?

By telling HIS story of what he really did in 1999 to 2002, Mitt Romney can make that story the Template On Which 2012 Is Decided:  America is screwed up and we need a turnaround artist guy to turn things around. That’s been Mitt’s campaign message from the get-go, but somehow the Romney team has lost the plot in their over-passive defensiveness. It has taken Obama’s desperate negative attacks to line things up well enough for Romney to counter-attack.

We too can thank President Obama for reminding us that Washington “feels as broken as it did four years ago,” and that our economy is still on the ropes. In Roanoke, Obama told voters:

We’ve got the slowest job growth in decades. We’ve got deficits as far as the eye can see. Your incomes and your wages didn’t go up.

It’s an apt description of the Obama economy, and an admission by Obama that he cant run on ‘how great I did’. Obama is reduced to pathetic attempts to blame long-gone Republicans for our economic troubles or claim that “It would have been worse” without whatever magic pixie dust the Obama economic policies put on our economy.

So Romney has a great opportunity to counterattack and say – “Here’s what I really did from 1999 to 2002, work really hard, for free, to save an Olympics and turn it around.”   And he has the perfect time to do it too – NOW – in the runup to this summer’s Olympics.  Romney needs to introduce himself to voters in a positive way, and turn the camapign discussion around to “Who can actually fix things?”  Introducing the hard-working Olympics-saving Mitt Romney to the American people is a trifecta and an olympic-size opportunity.

Why has Mitt Romney held back? Does he want to run the same McLame campaign that was run in 2008? Why so passive? Why not go hammer and tong after Obama, like was done vs Newt, Santorum? The Olympic-sized opportunity for Romney will pass soon if he doesnt take it up, and what could be a big win will turn to a hard slog.