Cover Story

Meet Team Romney

"Meet Team Romney" Continued...

Issue: "The brain trust," June 30, 2012

Romney also has a key business connection: Robert F. White, a longtime friend who worked with Romney at Bain Capital. White, 56, has been beside Romney from Bain Capital to the Olympics to the governor's office and presidential campaigns in 2008 and this year.

Political surrogates, such as former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent and former Minnesota governor and presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, also surround Romney. He has named about two dozen special advisors on national security and foreign policy and another four advisors on the economy.

This is a team that will face off against an Obama operation that in the early spring had five times more employees than Romney. In its downtown Chicago headquarters, the Obama camp has a unit of more than 100 statisticians, mathematicians, software engineers, advertising experts, and bloggers working exclusively on digital media techniques.

Romney's team is ballooning from 80 to about 400 full-timers. But even as the campaign absorbs new political professionals and dishes out new responsibilities, the top of Romney's pyramid will remain the mix of loyalists from Romney's governorship and the assimilated Bush veterans. It's a team that matured during Romney's Jan. 21 defeat in South Carolina, rebounding to win 10 days later in the key state of Florida.

On the same day Axelrod ventured into Romney's backyard, across the country in California Romney visited the shuttered plant once run by Solyndra, the bankrupt solar panel company whose millions in taxpayer-backed loans from the Obama administration sparked a congressional investigation.

As Romney stood in front of the building that now has a red "For Sale" sign hanging from the roof, reporters asked him about the Boston heckling of Axelrod.

"At some point you say, 'You know what, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,'" Romney said, pointing out that he is often heckled at events by Obama supporters. "If they're going to be heckling us, why we're not going to sit back and play by very different rules."

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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