We have been writing for a couple of months on MittTheMan.com about who Mitt Romney is as a person, which we mentioned just a few days ago. Our posts are often motivated by articles such as this one from Politico, which reported today on a poll commissioned by Third Way, a group supposedly representing the center of the US political spectrum. The article reported on the conclusion of a study that analyzed the results of the poll, which showed that Mitt trails President Obama among “swing independents.” The Poliltico writer, James Hohmann, explains that Mitt’s ideology is much closer to where the independents see themselves ideologically, but “the likability factor isn’t there for him,” according to the people who conducted the poll. Hohmann explained that “Obama is viewed favorably by 57 percent,” while “only 41 percent of the swing independents said the same for Romney.”
These findings are reflected in the high number of negative comments on Twitter and on Web sites from supporters of Mitt’s opponents, which so far show no sign of letting up, despite the fact that people are starting to recognize that he is the likely nominee. Of the comments that coincide with the likability issue, two specific accusations are particularly irksome to anyone who knows Mitt personally: That he does not have “a core” and that he might not keep the promises that he has made during this campaign.
The first accusation which suggests that he is not guided by any inner values is not only unwarranted, it is unimaginable to anyone who has known or worked with Mitt over the years. I first met him over 45 years ago, when we served in France as Mormon missionaries. I watched him there, when as a young leader, he motivated his fellow missionaries to increase their commitment to reach their goals of productivity, and deliver on a very difficult goal no one but he would have thought possible. Actually, he surpassed the promised results.
Later, I saw him work tirelessly as the president of a campus service organization of students at Brigham Young University. The fraternity-like student club to which we belonged had been raising a very admirable $10,000 to 15,000 a year for the university’s athletic program. After becoming president, Mitt committed to put in place a fundraising project that would not only raise $100,000 that year, but that would be able to repeat itself year after year. He not only surpassed the promised results, he did so within in the promised time frame.
Since those early days, it is a well-known fact that when he was offered the opportunity to start up a venture capital company, he was told he could get underway once he had raised $40 million in investment capital. He promised that he could and would do what was asked of him. To deliver on that goal required that he persuade very savvy and hard-nosed multi-million dollar investors to not only believe in his promises of lucrative returns but also to place their money on the line. In so doing he created one of the world’s most successful, private investment firms that today manages roughly $60 billion in assets.
Despite the downplaying of his opponents of the success he had witth the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, it is important to remember that he delivered once again on his promises by exceeding his projected returns to companies and governments who placed their funds and resources at risk. As the president of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee, he promised to rescue the Games from the ruinous path they had been on from the scandal-ridden origins of that venture. He promised not only to avoid leaving Salt Lake City with the huge debt that most Olympic cities accrue in hosting the Games, but to turn a profit for the city. He made that happen, producing arguably the most spectacularly successful Games in the history of the Olympics while leaving Salt Lake with a $100 million profit. Mitt again delivered as promised, and better.
Finally, as of Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt carefully kept track of some 88 campaign promises that he had made as a candidate. After his election, he went on to fill every single one of those before his four year term had expired.