In the latest attack du jour of the presidential campaign, Obama's people are claiming Mitt Romney wasn't all that engaged in the Salt Lake Olympics. He was, they say, moonlighting -- splitting time between the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) and Bain Capital. How could he have "saved" the Olympics while still running Bain?
A reporter for Politico
talked to several people who worked on the 2002 Olympic Games including former mayor and former democrat Rocky Anderson. Rocky and others all said Romney was indeed at the helm of the SLOC fulltime -- actually putting in "12-14-16 hours a day."
That squares with everything I saw.
I was one of ABC 4's Olympic reporters. I was there from the announcement of Romney as head of the SLOC to Sydney where his delegation got "hands on" experience to Athens where Romney received the Olympic flame.
I saw the transformation. When Romney arrived at the SLOC, the bribery scandal had paralyzed the committee. The staff was demoralized, sponsorships were drying up and the sharks were circling. Some said the games should be taken away from us.
Romney and CFO Fraser Bullock got things moving again. They rallied us.
They stopped the defections among sponsors and landed new ones. They got enough money to cover obligations and leave an endowment for the continued operation of our legacy venues.
I saw them pull off one of the most successful Winter Olympics in history. They did it in the shadow of not just the scandal, but also September 11th.
As I recall, Romney has also been criticized for taking "too much" federal money for the Salt Lake Olympics. Those critics fail to mention that most of that federal money paid to ramp up security. After 9-11, protecting the Olympics became a national priority.
Say whatever you want about his politics, ROMNEY HELPED SAVE THE SALT LAKE GAMES.
I grow tired of political hit men who cynically try to rewrite Utah's Olympic story.
It was our shining moment on the world stage. We threw one great party. Romney deserves our continued thanks for a job well done.