For the Defense: Mitt Romney
If it must be Gov. Romney, let him defend himself and his career forcefully. We are already seeing how Romney is being demonized because he is rich and successful and owns multiple homes and eliminated some jobs in the course of saving, fixing and strengthening companies. If he gets defensive about this, he loses. If he shies from it, he loses. Here is how I think he should start every speech:
"I'm Mitt Romney. I'm rich. In case you haven't gotten the message from my GOP opponents, and from President Obama and his minions, I am rich.
President Obama thinks I should pay more taxes, and he thinks my being rich should disqualify me from replacing him - even though thanks to a book advance for the autobiography of a man without accomplishment, and thanks to Chicago political connections, he and his wife aren't exactly hurting. But replace him is exactly what I want to do - replace him and begin fixing the messes he's made or made worse. It's President Obama, not me, that is now threatening our economy and keeping millions from good-paying jobs.
So I want to spend just three minutes on me being rich, then set that aside, and talk about solutions to what ails us.
I am rich. Unlike the president, I've had a long career of accomplishment, in the private sector as well as in government. I am rich and I have earned it. He or his spokespersons will try telling America that I've gotten rich as a Wall Street paper jockey, buying companies and then destroying jobs and throwing people out onto the street to roam about hungry, living in cardboard boxes. Actually, the work I did with Bain Capital in buying, fixing and building dozens of different companies is a mixed bag when you narrow it down just to jobs eliminated and jobs created. Sometimes a company is sick, in part, because it is fat and bloated and has too much expense and, frankly, too many employees. For that company to be saved - for anybody associated with it to keep their jobs, and for shareholders (including pension funds representing hard-working people) not to lose their money - jobs must be eliminated. Sometimes they must even be - here's a dirty word - out-sourced. That is sometimes a fact.
Mr. Obama, after all, took over General Motors and wiped out hundreds of local dealerships and thousands of jobs with the stroke of a pen. His friend and the Chair of this "Council on Jobs and Competitiveness," GE's Jeff Immelt, has outsourced jobs as fast as possible. Another jobs council member, Kodak CEO Antonio Perez, will soon be wiping out jobs through bankruptcy.
We now have a federal government that is way too big, meddling in way too many things and doing most of them badly, spending and borrowing like mad, that must be reigned in, reorganized and right-sized. And along the way, some government jobs may be eliminated. Entire bureaucratic departments may be eliminated. In doing so, we can get burdens off business' back, including small businesses, so new jobs can be created.
The facts about me are: I created jobs. I grew companies, brought new stores into communities, and created job opportunities for as many as 100,000 people. The president can't deny the fact that he has never created even one job. He has never met a payroll. He has never run a business. He has never made the tough decisions that businesspeople must make. In fact, he has barely held a job. He went to school. He was a community organizer - by his own admission, in his book, a rather unsuccessful one. His very brief tenure in the U.S. Senate consisted of a lot of "present" votes.
Voting "present" isn't an option when you run a business, when your own money and that of your friends, coworkers and shareholders is on the line. But dodging decisions and avoiding creating any kind of a record sure helps when you want to be president.
That worked in 2008. But now he has a record. Every measurable aspect of the U.S. economy has worsened during his first four years, so it is impossible for him to make a case for being re-hired. His slogan is: "It Could Have Been Worse," an assertion for which he has no proof.
The president's only option is to attack me, and to distort my record and who I am, or simply try to reduce it to a comic book, with me a villain because I am rich. Do not be fooled. I have a track record that proves my ability to take companies and organizations and state governments with financial problems and fix them. I haven't given speeches about imaginary scenarios. I've done it. I have experience. I have maturity.
I have been trusted with the capital of investors large and small and have managed it well - unlike former Senator and Governor Corzine, a big Obama fundraiser who claims he misplaced $1 billion of his investors' money. Unlike the folks the president anointed as the shining future of green technology at Solyndra. Unlike many others - the list of incompetents and, possibly, thieves with ties to the president is long.
But we can give the president himself the benefit of doubt. He did inherit a difficult situation. He loves that word - inherit - as if the economy was a baby in a basket left on his doorstep. We can credit him with good intentions. With ideas. But his ideas have failed. I am a man of experience. I do not under-estimate the problems. I am prepared - prepared by real life experience - to fix them.
My speeches may not make people swoon. You may not like the fact that I am rich, though I remind you, I earned it. You may be a Conservative worried that I'm too moderate for you on certain few issues. You may be a Democrat - at another time of crisis, large numbers of good Democrats crossed party lines and defied their union bosses to support Ronald Reagan, ushering in an economic boom.
But in 2012, you can't afford to make this about ideology or ideas or hope. You're not voting. You are tasked to hire someone to fix a huge, dangerous, fast-growing mess that threatens you, your family, your future, your livelihood, your way of life. You are going to make a vital hiring decision.
The question is, having only two job applicants to choose from, who will you put in charge to clean up this mess? An earnest but inexperienced guy, who has had four years to turn things around and - for whatever reasons - has simply not been able to do so. Who has not been able to work with congress to solve problems. Who's burned through billions in stimulus money but been unable to ignite job growth. Hire him for another four years?
Or hire me, with my experience actually fixing financial messes, turning around troubled companies, creating jobs - and yes, even creating wealth, for many, and for myself. Compare our resumes and think about this responsibly, as a hiring decision.
So, yes, I am rich. If you don't admire that, it's okay. But don't let anybody use it to cloud your mind and goad you into hiring the wrong guy to fix the mess. That's your task now. It's simple. Hire the right man for this job at this time.
Now, enough about that. Let's talk about my plans to end the decline of America and re-start a society of opportunity for all …"