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Turnaround: A reader’s guide (continued)

Romney actually thought the Olympics would ruin his career. "My wife and I joked that I was committing professional suicide." (27)

Enjoy that VP job while you have it, Dick, because there’s no place for you in Mitt’s Washington. "In the business world, the reality is that so-called ‘conflicts of interest’ occur with some frequency. A conflict of interest just means that by virtue of various assignments, people face situations where they have conflicting responsibilities. When that happens, they simply disclose their conflict to both parties and step away from the table." (31)

Romney is capable of contrition (unlike another Republican, who shall remain nameless). Romney expresses regret for the way he orchestrated the exit of Alan Layton and other individuals who had conflicts of interest from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee board: "I felt terrible ... and I admit that I hadn’t properly calculated how high the personal cost would be for Alan and the others." (33)

People who live in Utah aren’t called Utes. The proper term is Utahns, thank you very much. "I promised that Utahns would share in the Olympic experience." (35)

Romney is not secretive or defensive. "My own experience with the media had taught me the importance of visibility and of promptness in responding to criticism." (37)

As the age of 20, Romney was pronounced dead at the scene of a head-on car accident. "I was at the wheel of a full-size Citroën on my way from Bordeaux to Paris. I came over the top of a hill to find a Mercedes coming directly at me, passing a truck on a curve, on a tree-lined road.... Tragically, there was a fatality; one of my passengers and a close associate was pronounced dead at the scene. I was also pronounced dead. One of the gendarmes at the scene found me lying unconscious on the side of the road and wrote, ‘il est mort’ on my passport before moving on." (39)

Romney really likes McDonald’s. "First off, McDonald’s was one of our best sponsors. We loved the company as much as I loved their burgers. And that’s saying something." (44)

Romney is an expert on body language. "My old boss, Bill Bain, had often said that there is a scientific basis for trusting your gut instincts. He reasoned that there are all kinds of signals, body language signals that your subconscious brain detects without you even being aware of it.... Whether or not that is so, I’ve tended to listen to what I feel in my heart about people." (57)

Romney is adverb-averse. "Cindy [Gillespie, the SLOC’s head of federal relations] ... is smart, real smart. Smart enough for it to be obvious real fast." (63)

Romney likes Southern women. "Sharon Kingman [who managed telecommunications for the Salt Lake games] ... had that quintessential Southern thing going for her: exceptionally good looks, bless-your-heart charm, and the strength of iron." (65)

Romney has an artistic temperament. Discussing the planning of the Salt Lake games’ opening ceremonies, Romney writes that "as an old English major and a frustrated creative type, I wanted to keep a direct hand on what we would produce." (72)

Think Romney is all sweetness and light? Think again! He pans Steve McCarthy, who managed the Olympic torch relay: "He didn’t want to be part of a team. And he resisted taking direction.... In my view, he had gone from being irritating to disloyal." (79-80)

Romney prizes debate (unlike another Republican, who shall remain nameless). "When I’m presented with a single viewpoint, I invariably take an opposing view. I’ve been told I’m prone to push it vehemently. Some call it arguing. I don’t. I call it debating the issue." (94)

Romney is a jokester. "We instituted a rule at Bain Capital that every meeting had to begin with a joke. I love jokes and I love laughing. The humor spread throughout the entire meeting: people were always on the lookout for a laugh. When Ed Eynon [SLOC’s head of human resources] began the process of having task forces determine what should be our guiding principles, I directed that ‘fun’ needed to be one of them." (100)

Sometimes homeless people make Romney laugh. Sometimes feces does. "Our creative department lived up to its name when it came to humor.... After enduring yet another budget review, our director of the ‘look of the Games,’ Bob Finley, noted: ‘All this begging for money will be valuable in my next career as a homeless person.’" SLOC staff also wore shirts with humorous lines under their formal office garb, and would reveal them at appropriate moments. For example, the assistant to Scott Givens, the creative department’s managing director, once amused her boss by donning "a shirt with one of her best lines: ‘Your schedule is so booked, there’s no time for a potty break. Wear your Depends.’" (101-102)

Romney is so clean-cut, he doesn’t even think profanity. Discussing detractors who worried that the Salt Lake games’ emphasis on frugality would be detrimental, Romney writes: "Of course, there are always those who see the bad news in everything: ‘Won’t these cheaper Games make us look bad compared with other Olympic cities?’ The media had a new angle for criticism. I felt like answering, ‘Not as bad as if we go bankrupt and can’t hold the Games at all, dummy.’" (106)

You can’t fool Romney. The governor dismisses all those claims that state budget cuts compromised core services in Massachusetts. He cites "the age-old ploy of a manager putting an item that is obviously critical on the list of things to be cut," adding, "As governor of Massachusetts, I see some municipal officials announce drastic cuts needed in police, fire, and teachers. Predictably, the public is appalled. But what about patronage jobs, less essential functions, excessive pay contracts? From them, the attention has been deflected." (111)

Romney doesn’t hold partisan grudges. Of David D’Alessandro, the former head of John Hancock, Romney writes: "While he had been a visible supporter of Senator Kennedy’s successful re-election campaign over my challenge, I had come to like and respect him. I knew him to be a smart, straight shooter." (125)

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Issue Date: August 6 - 12, 2004
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