Buzzfeed Wrong on Romney's Bain Timeline During Olympics

Wednesday, Buzzfeed published a document and a brief video clip to suggest that Romney was still CEO of Bain Capital after 1999. Here's the description that goes with the article:

Mitt Romney has spent much of the last week arguing that, despite some public records, he was effectively gone from Bain Capital in February 1999. But in February 2000, Romney was introduced as the “founder and CEO of Capital” at the National Press Club during an appearance about the Olympics, and Romney's biography on the Olympic's website listed him as Bain Capital “founder and CEO.”

Let's take these in reverse order. The biography of Romney which Buzzfeed pulled from the 2001 version of the Olympic Games website is not from 2001. It's a press release published in February of 1999. A full color version of the same text was published in the official Olympics magazine the same month. Notice that all three versions state "Romney, 51, is the son of the late George Romney." But Romney wasn't 51 in 2001, nor in 2000 for that matter. In fact, he turned 52 on March 12, 1999. So this document was clearly written before that time. The fact that Romney's online bio was never updated doesn't prove anything.

The other item is a clip from a CSpan video in which Romney is being introduced to the National Press Club in early 2000. Buzzfeed starts the clip in the middle to of the introduction to suggest that Romney was being introduced as the CEO of Bain. But if you rewind to the beginning of the introduction it's clear that Romney is being introduced not as the CEO of Bain, but as the CEO of the 2002 Olympic Organizing Committee:

Willard Mitt Romney, our speaker, quoted his father, the former Governor of Michigan as saying about Washington that it's the fastest place to go from Who's Who to "Whose that?" Now Mr. Romney comes to Washington in his Who's Who role as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games of 2002, a post that he's held since last year.

It's only later, in summarizing Romney's full biography, that his role at Bain is mentioned:

Who is Mr. Romney and why was he selected to head these games? Well, Mitt Romney is a lot of things. He's a venture capitalist. He's a senatorial candidate, although an unsuccessful one and son of the late George Romney the former Governor of Michigan as I've just said. And he's the white night who was selected to clean up the image of the Olympic Games after the bribery and vote pedaling scandals that came to light just over a year ago. And he's the turnaround specialist who was chosen to improve the Salt Lake Games' finances.

From 1978 to 1984, Mr. Romney was a vice president of Bain and Company, an international management consulting firm. And he's the founder and CEO of Bain Capital a private holding company that was organized in 1984. And since it's founding Bain Capital has acquired or started more than 120 companies...In 1994 Romney decided to run in Massachusetts as a Republican against a Kennedy...

Now, as almost everyone knows, the Olympic site selection process has been under scrutiny...Mr. Romney was named President and CEO for the Salt Lake Games on February 11th 1999 and that was just two days after the scandal was documented in a 300 page ethics report. His appointment was part of the organizing committees plan to clean up and move forward.

On paper, Romney was still the CEO of Bain in 2000, but as a 2000 version of the Bain website (also published by Buzzfeed) shows, he was not part of the company's management team that year. And as this introduction makes clear twice, he had left that position starting in February 1999.

After his speech during a Q&A session Romney was asked why he left his very successful business to get involved with the Olympics. His reply focuses on his desire to do something that would inspire people and to use his life for something beyond making money and building businesses. In short, he left Bain in February 1999 to serve his country.


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Video Proof: Buzzfeed Misrepresented Romney's Role At Bain During Olympics

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