Romney Wasn't Happy "Just Earning Money" at Bain

Mitt Romney, the living symbol of the 1 percent, hasn't always viewed his stint in the private sector as the epitome of his experience. On the campaign trail, Romney loves to rail against "career politicians" and tout his credentials as a businessman who can bring an economic acumen he believes is lacking in the current White House (willfully ignoring that he first ran for political office in 1994 and has been in perpetual presidential-campaign mode for at least the last five years), saying in one debate:

"I'm very proud of the fact that I learned how you can be successful at enterprise, how we lose jobs, how we gain jobs... I understand how the economy works, Herman Cain and I are the two on the stage here who've actually worked in the real economy. If people want to send to Washington someone who has spent their entire career in government, they can choose a lot of folks, but if they want to choose somebody who understands how the private sector works they're going to have to choose one of us, because we've been in it during our career."

But Romney wasn't always so positive about that experience.

Romney candidly discussed his leadership at the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 2000 after taking over the reins of the dysfunctional organization committee. In response to the National Press Club  moderator's question about why Romney left his cushy spot at Bain Capital, the former governor explained that a mutual friend recruited his wife Anne to encourage him to take the job:

"She called me at the office and said, "Don't dismiss this out of hand Mitt, you've got to listen to this." And she made the pitch, and said, 'You've made as much money as you need to make. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life making money?' I'm not the oldest guy in the world, but 'do you want to keep on doing the same thing and making no particular contribution other than in your work —other than raising money for companies and so far. She said this is—I think she's right—this is the Olympics, think about the Olympics.

I think most of the people in this room have either faced or will face that question:  What am I going to do with my entire life, and am I going use all of it just earning money." [emphasis added]

It's certainly interesting to hear Romney imply that public service is a nobler pursuit than a career in business. He's spent all of 2011 trumpeting his time in the private sector as a prime qualification against opponents like Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich who have spent most of their lives working in the government. It's yet another example that can be added to the file of Mitt Romney flip-flops.

The revelation starts at the 48:45 mark in the video.


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