A Closer Look at Mitt Romney’s Olympics
When the Olympics come to America, it’s rightfully a source of pride for all Americans. And Mitt Romney certainly likes to tout his experience running the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was so proud of the job he did, he became the first ever Olympic leader to personally commission his own Olympic pin. In fact, he had an entire line of pins made in his likeness. And like many things at Romney’s Olympics, they were made in China.
Let’s take a closer at how Mitt Romney ran the Olympics, including a few things Romney doesn’t tout out on the stump.
It’s no surprise that an outsourcing pioneer like Mitt Romney would outsource Olympic gear to foreign countries like China instead of making it here in America, but the extent of Romney’s outsourcing is truly shocking. Items he outsourced to foreign countries include:
- Commemorative 9/11 pins — Made in China
- Uniforms for Olympic torchbearers — Made in Burma
- Stuffed animals — Made in China
- Hats — Made in Bangladesh
- Tote bags — Made in Taiwan
And, in an outsourcing feat worthy of a gold medal, he even outsourced commemorative granite bricks at the Olympic plaza – yes, bricks — to China. There’s a suburb of Salt Lake City named Granite because there’s so much of it there, but Romney got his shipped all the way from China. “It’s extraordinary, but it’s cheaper to get it from China,” Romney explained.
Romney’s Olympics? Taxpayer Money Built That
Romney and his campaign have been relentlessly attacking the president for making the obvious point that government has a role in facilitating the success of individuals and businesses large and small. It turns out that the government — and American taxpayers — had a very large role in helping Romney’s Olympics succeed. Taxpayers spent a whopping $1.5 BILLION on the games, funding which Romney claimed was necessary to pull them off:
“No matter how well we did cutting costs and raising revenue, we couldn’t have Games without the support of the federal government.”
The Salt Lake games cost taxpayers 1.5 times the amount spent on the previous seven Olympics held in the U.S. — combined. While some money went to security, much of it was spent on infrastructure and “questionable projects of marginal value to the Salt Lake games.” Mother Jones reports that the taxpayer money was something of a slush fund for wealthy donors:
Wealthy Utahns used the games as an excuse to receive exemptions for projects that would otherwise never meet environmental standards, or to receive generous subsidies for improvements of questionable value to the games—but with serious value to future real estate developments. In one example, a wealthy developer received $3 million to build a three-mile stretch of road through his resort. Where’d he get the money? Federal funds that had been deposited in the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund.
Indeed, Mitt Romney was so eager to get “free stuff” and other things from the government that he even became a registered lobbyist. It appears that Romney may have been lobbying some of the same legislators to whom he was giving thousands in campaign cash.
Snubbing 9/11 Widows & Orphans
The Salt Lake games came just months after 9/11. A representative of widows and orphans whose husbands and fathers were firefighters killed in the terrorist attack inquired about free or discounted tickets to games. Romney’s executive assistant twice denied the request, saying that there was a policy in place against giving away tickets. That policy apparently went out the window “six weeks later when [Romney] offered a hundred surplus tickets, valued at $ 885 each, free to Utah legislators,” according to the book The Real Romney. The former Salt Lake firefighter working with the 9/11 widows and orphans had this to say:
“I was outraged at the hypocrisy. In less than two months, he went from saying, ‘We’re going to run a tight ship’ to throwing out free tickets to a group of people who could help him politically.”
America was proud to host the Olympics in 2002, but the way Mitt Romney ran the games raises questions about how he’d run the country.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
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In 2010, Romney wrote that Britain is tiny island with small houses that makes stuff nobody wants.
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