Enmity Dates to '02 Olympics

McCain-Romney beef has roots in feuding over federal spending on Salt Lake City Games
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2008 11:10 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shake hands at the conclusion of the Republican Presidential...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The beef between John McCain and Mitt Romney has a history—it's almost 8 years old, a lifetime in politics. In 2000, McCain blasted "preposterous" pork-barrel spending on the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, which Romney headed. The two clashed publicly, reports the LA Times, and, as one expert notes, "People have long memories in politics."

This battle frames the candidates' ill will. McCain calls himself an opponent of pork-barrel spending and paints Romney as an opportunist who is free with cash. "I went to Iowa and told them that I was against subsidies for ethanol; he was for them," said McCain. For his part, Romney paints himself as the savior of the 2002 Games, a characterization one board member calls "very opportunistic."