Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Romney - The Real Deal

In the News

Romney Is the Real Deal

By: Ronald Kessler

"Last April, Newsmax magazine ran a cover story headlined, 'Romney to the Rescue: Romney's Got the Right Stuff for 2008.' "

Based on interviews I conducted with Mitt Romney and his friends, family, and aides, as well as with critics and neutral observers, the profile depicted him as a remarkably successful businessman and conservative governor with impeccable character. "

Since the Newsmax article appeared nothing has changed."
"The fact is that while most of the candidates have changed position on some issues, Romney has made a clear change on only one issue. While he has always been personally pro-life, like Ronald Reagan, he is a convert to the pro-life position when it comes to public policy. But as governor, Romney took pro-life stands, vetoing bills that authorized embryo farming, therapeutic cloning, and access to emergency contraception without parental consent.

"That track record is far more important than his endorsement of Roe v. Wade more than a decade ago during a debate with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. In fact, even more than Reagan as governor of California, Romney's actions as governor fit the conservative mold in the most liberal of liberal states.

"While playing up the theology of Romney's religion, the media have downplayed his record of success. Few stories mention that he is both a Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School graduate. Romney started Bain Capital, a venture capital firm, from almost nothing in 1984. In evaluating whether to invest in a company, Romney would conduct massive research and play devil's advocate to flush out facts.

"Relying on those techniques and data he developed about the true amount companies spend on office supplies, Romney decided to invest $600,000 in Staples before it opened its first store in Brighton, Mass. After the opening, he invested millions more. "'He made eight times his money in three years,' Tom Stemberg, founder of Staples, tells me.

"Bain Capital now has assets of $40 billion, and Romney is worth close to $250 million. In addition, he established a trust valued at $100 million for his five sons. "Romney worked similar miracles when he took over the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, turning a $397 million budget shortfall into a $56 million profit. As Massachusetts governor, he turned a $3 billion deficit into a surplus without raising taxes. Along the way, Romney developed a health insurance plan designed to cover all Massachusetts residents. It's now being copied by other states."
"In contrast, when told in July 1996 that the 14-year-old daughter of one of his partners had been missing in New York for three days, Romney closed down Bain Capital and asked its 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to try to find her. The girl had gone to a rave party and taken ecstasy.

"'I don't care how long it takes, we're going to find her,' Romney told the girl's father Robert Gay.

"As a result of a massive campaign orchestrated by Romney, he was able to locate and rescue the girl when she was within a day of dying from the effects of an overdose.

"If that episode – virtually ignored by the media – tells you a lot about the man and his character, so does his choice of a wife. In personality and intelligence, Ann Romney bears a striking resemblance to the widely admired subject of my book 'Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady.'

"Like Giuliani, Romney recognizes that no issue is more important than protecting the country and staying on the offense in the war on terror. But unlike Giuliani and the other leading Republican candidates, Romney's record demonstrates that he is true to all three prongs of the conservative movement."

... "'One of the reasons I decided to endorse Romney is that I became convinced that he is the only candidate developing a credible ability to appeal to economic, social, and defense-oriented conservatives,' David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, tells me.

"Within the conservative movement, no one is more respected than Keene, who has headed the ACU since 1984. With one million members, the ACU runs the Conservative Political Action Committee's (CPAC) annual conference in Washington and publishes an annual Rating of Congress – the gold standard for ideological assessments of members of Congress.

"'Giuliani appeals to defense-oriented conservatives and can make a credible argument to some economic conservatives, but he can't pass the giggle test with social conservatives - and doesn't really try to do so,' says Keene. 'Mike Huckabee appeals to social conservatives but has demonstrated virtually no appeal to those who focus on national defense and economic issues. Thompson may have had the potential to do what Romney is now doing, but hasn't done so. John McCain is a hero to many national defense oriented conservatives, but he has little appeal in other quarters.'

"Romney, on the other hand, has 'developed into a candidate who has tried hard to appeal across these factions in the way Reagan did some decades ago,' Keene says. 'Like all the others, he began with credibility issues, but as time has gone on, more and more conservatives are beginning to accept today's Mitt Romney as the real deal rather than the caricature others are portraying.'

"That is why Romney has the support of conservatives as different as Robert Bork, Paul Weyrich, former Sen. Jim Talent, Michael Novak, and Kate O'Beirne and the editors of National Review, says Keene. "

'This support will broaden and deepen as more and more members of the conservative coalition realize that Romney can hold the coalition together and advance their cause better than the other candidates,' predicts Keene.

"The Newsmax cover story last April called Romney 'The Reagan Candidate.' "That is as true today as it was then."

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