Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mitt Romney: A Charitable Man With a Sense of Faith, Not the Mean, Rapacious Businessman the Democrat-Media-Complex Foists on the American People

A surprisingly good cover story from Maeve Reston, at today's Los Angeles Times, "A Mitt Romney most of America doesn't know":

Mitt Romney
BOSTON — Edward Albertian had been working for only a few weeks at his new job, managing the first two Boston-area Staples stores, when he got an unnerving call from his wife. As Staples staffed up, Albertian had been poaching talent from his old company, and his former boss was piqued.

That morning, a courier had delivered papers to Albertian's wife threatening them with eviction unless they immediately repaid the $250,000 loan from Albertian's former company that they had used to buy their home.

A few days later the couple, with their newborn son and 2-year-old daughter in tow, were invited to Staples' Watertown headquarters and found themselves sitting across from Mitt Romney, whose company, Bain Capital, had invested money in Staples. He had heard about their predicament from the chain's co-founder, Tom Stemberg.

They talked for less than half an hour about the young store manager's goals and his role in the company. Then, "Mitt opened his checkbook and wrote a check for $250,000," Albertian, who is now chief operating officer of the Massachusetts-based Transnational Group, said of the 1987 encounter.

"He said, 'You're going to be great. As soon as you sell the house, then you can pay me back, but I want you to focus on Staples and building this into a great company,'" Albertian said. (Stemberg later assumed the loan, and Albertian paid it back over a number of years).

That was the Mitt Romney known to friends and business associates: a man generous to those in need, whose charitable acts stemmed from a deeply rooted sense of duty to help his neighbors.
While Ms. Reston points out that Team Romney's been careful in rolling out personal stories, especially relating to Romney's Mormonism, the Obama-enabling press has been itching to fill in the details, as unfavorably as possible:
George W. Bush connected with voters by revealing his struggle with alcoholism and his path to redemption through his faith. President Obama shared stories about growing up with a single mother. Romney has forgone those sorts of personal anecdotes; instead, his narrative has focused on others — like his father's path from being a carpenter who sold paint cans from the trunk of his car to becoming the head of American Motors.

For more than a year, Romney relentlessly hammered at President Obama on economic and budgetary matters, only recently switching to attacks centered on welfare. That strategy left largely unspoken by the candidate three of the most important elements of his life: his Mormon faith and related acts of charity; his time at Bain Capital; and his signature achievement as governor of Massachusetts, the state's healthcare plan — all matters deemed politically problematic.

As a result, 10 weeks before the election Romney remains an enigma to many Americans.

Democrats have done their best to fill in the blanks, pairing stories about Bain deals that led to layoffs with Romney's plans to shrink federal programs for the poor or shift them to the states. The result: Some of his closest friends and former colleagues say the portrait of Romney as a cold, calculating businessman bears little resemblance to the man they know.

Romney's advisors have long shrugged off his likability problem, arguing that voters care most about competence and insisting that Obama's middling job approval rating is a far more important number.

But in recent days advisors have signaled an intent to fill in the portrait of Romney. Last Sunday, for the first time, his campaign invited reporters to watch Romney attend church, one of its first formal recognitions of his faith. This week's Republican National Convention looms as their biggest opportunity to flesh Romney out with testimonials from people he has helped throughout his business career and through his church.

While some might see a contradiction between Romney's private acts of generosity and his plans to shrink government programs that help the poor or college students, those close to him say there is none. It stems from his belief in individual responsibility and self-reliance, and the view that every American has a duty to help others either through their community or through their church.

"He believes government has a certain role as far as helping people, or helping provide an infrastructure in areas where you can help create opportunities," Romney advisor Kevin Madden said. But his guiding principle is a belief in "putting our faith in individuals and free markets and free enterprise" rather than "government being the only engine."
Keep reading.

This is an amazing piece, and I'm giving Maeve Reston a major shout out here: good on you, lady, this is the kind of reasonably balanced journalism that should be the standard in campaign coverage.

Ms. Reston gives a number of examples of personal charity, but this story below is particular interesting, on the refugees from Hurrican Katrina who wound up in Massachusetts in 2005:
The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, who heads a faith-based gang intervention group in Roxbury, Mass., and spoke frequently to Romney during his governorship, saw two facets of the man — the executive and the spiritual counselor — come together after Hurricane Katrina when the Massachusetts Legislature provided shelter on Cape Cod for evacuees. Romney wanted members of the black clergy to attend to the arrivals — because he said some would rather talk to pastors than mental health professionals — and asked Brown to lead the effort.

Romney arrived a few days later, telling Brown he wanted to hear the stories directly from the victims, many of whom were from New Orleans' hard-hit Lower 9th Ward.

"He wanted to make sure that their needs were being met," Brown said. "He brought 50 state agencies down there, and everybody's needs were attended to. I'm talking about people who left their houses in such a rush that they forgot their teeth. He had dentists down there to get them their dentures.… He was on it."

But Brown was most surprised watching Romney interact with victims — praying with them, sitting with them on park benches asking about their families, scooping up children and asking for hugs.

"He was pastoral," Brown said. "He was that person with those people."
Not mentioned there is that Rev. Brown is black, and most of those from the Lower 9th Ward are black. Since Mitt Romney has been repeatedly attacked as racist on the basis of his Mormonism (the Mormon Church discriminated against blacks in the ordination of priests until 1978, a point the left has been extremely eager to exploit), the story of the New Orleans refugees should be a particularly powerful comeback to the left's racist cult of personality destruction.

The Boston Globe reported on Rev. Brown at the time, "1,350 miles away, they find a haven." Also, Rev. Brown is quoted at this piece from the Massachusetts GOP, citing another Boston Globe report, "Boston ministers skeptical of Elizabeth Warren."

Yeah, there's a lot about Mitt Romney --- and the Republican Party --- that folks aren't getting from the MSM. Thanks again to Ms. Reston for getting out a decent piece on the eve of the convention.

Recall in 2008 the Pew Research organization reported on the horribly biased media coverage favoring "The One." Doug Ross has that, "Pew Research Center confirms media bias affected race."

RELATED: I would bet this Politico piece is more representative of the media coverage of Romney's campaign, "Romney defends Swiss bank account" (at Memeorandum).

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UPDATE: Blue Crab Boulevard links:
Reading this, one gets a feeling for Mitt Romney completely different from the usual media smears. This man is not at all like the villain the media/left tries to paint him. He sounds like someone who would be a good friend. And a good man.
He is a good man --- and thanks Gaius!

Also linked at An Ex-Con's View. Thanks!

More! Power Line links at the "top picks" widget. Thanks!