domingo, 5 de agosto de 2012

Romney se rodea de amigos

The Wall Street Journal:
After an Olympics, a term as governor, a presidential campaign and the better part of a second one, Mr. Romney has built a small cadre of loyalists who have worked with him for years. He repeatedly has convinced many of them to move to places where they knew no one and to take on challenges that were unfamiliar and daunting.

"Every time he went to do something else, I joined him," said Bob White, a longtime friend who also was a partner at private-equity firm Bain Capital with Mr. Romney. "Each of the things he was doing was big….This campaign is my sixth once-in-a-lifetime experience with Mitt Romney."

Nearly every presidential candidate relies on a handful of trusted advisers who have been longtime loyalists. Mr. Romney's inner circle includes a large number of people from fields other than politics. Many say they have little taste for campaigning, have no plans to move on to another job in the political world and are in the campaign only to help a friend become president.

Mike Leavitt, the former Utah governor who is helping Mr. Romney on transition matters for his potential administration, worked with Mr. Romney on the 2002 Olympics. So did Spencer Zwick, who is now the campaign's national finance chairman. Senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom has been with Mr. Romney since he ran for governor. Beth Myers, who is leading the search for Mr. Romney's running mate, worked on his gubernatorial campaign and then served as his chief of staff.

(...) Mr. Zwick was finishing school at Brigham Young University when he agreed to work on the Salt Lake City Winter Games, handling tasks such as translating documents. His plan was to move on to New York and work for an investment bank. Mr. Romney had other ideas—namely, that Mr. Zwick should help him become governor.

Ten years later, Mr. Zwick is still on Team Romney. He has gone to the governor's office and then to two presidential campaigns. Along the way, he has launched an investment company with Mr. Romney's eldest son and has been dubbed Mr. Romney's "sixth son."

Mr. Fehrnstrom compares working with Mr. Romney to "being launched out of a rocket."

Mr. Fehrnstrom was at his desk at an ad agency, "working on a press release for a new, spicy menu at Popeye's Fried Chicken," when Mr. Romney phoned him to ask for help on his gubernatorial campaign. "I said to myself, 'There have to be more interesting things in life than spicy fried chicken,' " Mr. Fehrnstrom recalled. "I hung up the phone, walked down the hall and quit."

(...) While Messrs. Leavitt and White both play central roles in the Romney campaign, with Mr. White serving as a senior adviser, both describe their roles simply: as a friend to the candidate.

"I offer an independent voice when it's needed," Mr. Leavitt said. "When you have a thoroughbred racehorse, you can put a goat in the stable with them, and it calms them down. I'm the goat."