Romney touts ties to Washington in old video
March 2nd, 2012
03:14 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney touts ties to Washington in old video

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's campaign on Friday defended remarks he made as a gubernatorial candidate in 2002, in which he boasted about his ties to Washington and a knack for getting money from the nation's capital.

"I am a big believer in getting money where the money is," Romney said in a decade-old video. "The money is in Washington."

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The comments appeared in a video obtained by ABC News and were reportedly shot by a Democratic opponent at the time. Romney was addressing the New Bedford Industrial Foundation, giving a presentation on Massachusetts' economic potential.

"I want to go after every grant, every project, every department in Washington to assure that we are taking advantage of economic development opportunities," Romney said.

Reflecting on his work leading the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, he said he learned that "if you have people who really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there, you can get money to help build economic develop opportunities."

In the video, Romney said he received more than $410 million for the Olympics–an unprecedented amount from the federal government, he claimed–and he did so "by going after every agency of government."

His comments back then mark a stark contrast to the image he has sought to present of himself during this campaign–that of being an outsider who could effectively limit unnecessary spending in the federal government. He has pledged to cut $500 billion in his first year in office.

Romney has also lobbed some sharp criticism about Washington spending at his opponents in the 2012 Republican presidential race. Most recently, Romney pounded on rival Rick Santorum as a Washington insider, accusing him of a heavy record of earmark spending during Santorum's time as a senator from Pennsylvania. He has also attacked Gingrich as a lobbyist and product of Washington.

Responding to the video, Romney's campaign said Friday the practice of seeking federal funds is a common procedure among governors but argued the candidate today favors a "permanent ban on earmarks."

"Every state budget in the country is dependent on federal funding, and every governor in the country makes requests for funding, but governors do not get to decide how Congress appropriates money. Governor Romney supports a permanent ban on earmarks, which are symbols of what's wrong with Washington," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement.

At CNN's Arizona debate in February, Romney stood by his requests for funding at the Olympics, saying it was nothing out of the ordinary.

"In the history of the Olympic movement, the federal government has always provided the transportation and security," he said. "So we came to the federal government asking for help on transportation and security."

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Filed under: 2012 • Massachusetts • Mitt Romney • Washington D.C.
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Church

    Palladin(Paladin?), where do you roam?
    I am an independent who home schooled our kids.
    We all vote against the Repugnants.

    March 2, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Lenny

    Borrowing all that tax payer money and claiming YOU saved the Olympics all by yourself. Telling President Obama he should not take credit for domestic energy shows YOUR projection (pychological projection in your case). You cut jobs and say you create them and come up with bogus positive/destructive theories of capitalism. And lately you are getting defensive about having had to cut or out-source those jobs-tell it to the people you ruined, if you think they are buying what you are trying to sell on your attempt to live on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    March 2, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Mindy

    Republicans are funny–they tell President Obama to stop bragging about Bin Laden and domestic energy, and Mitt, the favored Republican goes bragging about jobs he really did not create so much as destroy or outsource and his herioc feat to save the Olympics on America's taxpayer money while he pays ridculous taxes on his money stashed around the world. All your money could help the economy if it was in American banks instead of the Caymens and where ever else you hid it. On top of it you had one of your people solicit over at Credit Suisse in Europe for your campaign. Lots of luck trying to get sympathy from any American workers, especially the ones in Detroit. FRAUD

    March 2, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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