Romney Passed Trial By Torch
Candidate learned from running 2002 Games, but also drew flip-flop rap
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2007 3:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mitt Romney built his persona and political team as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Olympics, but also grew a reputation for playing to his audience. In turning around the scandal-plagued Salt Lake City Games, the GOP presidential hopeful gained poise unseen in his failed 1994 Senate run, the New York Times reports, but also fought for questionable earmarks.

Romney now sells himself as a budget hawk, but in the run-up to the Games he went to war over a $33,000 earmark for horse adoption and $55,000 to study racial tension in Utah's capital. Critics suggest Romney exaggerates how serious the problems were before he took over, and the Times writes “he was not alone in saving the Olympics.”