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A Man With a Mission

Mitt and I were in Torino, Italy, together. I hope we'll be in Beijing together next year. He may have some other plans for the summer of 2008, but I know he would love to go.

-- Fraser Bullock, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee

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After we were sworn in as governor and lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, Mitt and I received some very sobering news: The true budget gap was more than $3 billion (out of a $23 billion budget), up from the projected $1 billion gap. We had campaigned during the fiscal crisis of 2002-03, when many states, including Massachusetts, saw their tax revenue collapse and vowed to close the gap without raising taxes. Mitt asked his managers to accomplish the same work, with fewer resources, by developing new approaches. So instead of inspecting wetlands from the ground, the new leaner environmental affairs office increased enforcement actions by taking regular aerial photos of endangered wetlands. A plane could cover more ground more cheaply and effectively than a bureaucrat in a car. Two parks departments (one a legendary haven for no-show patronage positions) were merged despite the howls from legislators on both sides of the aisle who counted on securing well-paid summer jobs by the public pool for kids of their friends and relatives. Mitt provided leadership in tough times, spurred innovation, honored the work behind each tax dollar and respected families -- that's the Mitt Romney I worked with for the past four years.

-- Kerry Healey, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts during Romney's term as governor

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I had known Mitt Romney for more than 20 years when I went to speak to him in his campaign office in early 1994. We attended the same church and I know a couple of his children quite well and they're all lovely people. But there's a difference between being a lovely family and being a knowledgeable leader. When I went to see him, he had recently announced that he was running against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), and I thought it would be important for him to hear from someone who'd been active in women's politics in Massachusetts.

I congratulated him on taking a pro-choice position, one of the reasons I had been open to working with him. I remember his response was something like: "Well, this is Massachusetts. I realized I had to take this position," which was the first indication to me that what I had understood to be his personal view was a stance he was actually taking pragmatically. He went on that day to talk about an aunt of his who had died during a botched abortion and how he thought legalized abortion was important. But those around him, and people who knew him closely in the ward, knew that it was a position he had taken because he thought he had to in order to win.

-- Judith Dushku, associate professor of government at Suffolk University in Boston

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I watch with interest as Mitt Romney courts the conservative wing of the Republican Party with his antiabortion message. It reminds me of a pivotal moment in the 2002 campaign for governor of Massachusetts. In the final few weeks before the election, the polls indicated that although I had enjoyed a lead over Romney after I won the primary, the barrage of negative ads was helping to narrow the margin heading into the general election. In preparing for the final debate of the campaign, one strategy was to expose Romney's record of waffling on the issue of abortion, an important topic for a majority of voters in Massachusetts. I pointed out that, in his 1994 race against Sen. Ted Kennedy, Romney had accepted the endorsement of a pro-life group, and that when he was living in Utah while running the Olympics, his close friend and adviser had written a letter to the editor stating that Romney was not pro-choice and had taken on that label only to run against the senator. Romney responded that his support for a woman's right to an abortion was deep and long-held, dating to the early 1970s. He stated that since the 1970s, he had agreed with his mother, an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate, that to support abortion reflected an important belief in the separation of church and state. He was angered by my statements. He chastised me for being "unbecoming" because I was trying to scare the voters on this important issue, and insisted that he was truly pro-choice and "devoted and dedicated to honoring [his] word" on this issue. In that exchange, he was able to not only solidify his image as a strong pro-choice advocate, he was also masterful in spinning the story afterward that I was overly aggressive and indeed "unbecoming," because I had insisted that he was not telling the truth.

-- Shannon O'Brien, former Massachusetts state treasurer and Romney's 2002 opponent

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Mitt had hired me as a young associate at Bain & Co. in 1978, and we worked together occasionally between then and 1983, when we laid the foundations for the creation of Bain Capital. We started with a vision but virtually no experience in the realm that is now known as private equity. For six months, we traipsed around the United States, Europe and Latin America, seeking investors to back our plan, getting plenty of "no, thank yous" along the way.

One potential investor was concerned that we would spend lavishly on fancy offices and needless expenses. I could tell that this bothered Mitt, because he is very careful about spending. Finally, I told the gentleman: "You need to understand how frugal Mitt is. When he and Ann go to the movies, they pop their own popcorn in advance. Mitt figures the home-popped Orville Redenbacher costs him only 62 cents, which is a whole lot cheaper than $4.50 for the big tub at the movie counter."

-- Coleman Andrews, co-founded Bain Capital with Romney in 1983.

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When Mitt was at Bain Capital, I referred a couple of deals to him. In that business, you have to be a vacuum cleaner and amass more facts about the investment than anyone else in the world. That's a skill set that serves him well. Romney was so successful as a private equity investor that he was able to command a 30 percent share of the profits for Bain as general partner. That figure normally would be 20 percent. He was the most successful private equity investor in the country and with his track record, people were happy to give a 30 percent share to Bain. If you pay sufficient attention to detail you have less risk. And with him, nothing is left to chance unless it has to be. He is running his campaign that way -- marvelous planning at all levels.

-- William Weld, Republican former governor of Massachusetts

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