Mitt Romney's business experience has been his calling card throughout the election. 'A hard nosed businessman, that Romney fellow' has been the campaign message. But a New York Times investigation says he's more of a softy around the office than he'd like to let on.
The Times' Michael Barbaro, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael Wines looked into Romney's long executive history to see what kind of manager he really is. Through a series of interviews with old coworkers from Bain, his time with the Olympics, and his old campaigns they discovered he's "not so much a micromanager as a microprocessor." He's a manager that likes to get his hands dirty rather than designate, and one reluctant to fire:
Colleagues from every phase of his career said that Mr. Romney loathes pushing out people with whom he works closely and will do just about anything to avoid it — an approach that has inspired deep loyalty to him even as it has raised questions about his ability to make tough personnel calls, as presidents inevitably must.
One of Romney's Olympics aides said firing someone is too personal for him. "He personalizes the situation, from what I saw," Fraser Bullock told the Times. "It’s 'Oh, boy, what will happen to this person? Are they going to be able to get another job?'" The Times cited numerous examples of Romney choosing to suspend and reprimand someone instead of firing them, including campaign aide Ron Gorka, who was suspended instead of fired for telling a reporter to, "kiss my ass." That kind of management styles puts him closer on the management scale to The Office's affable, conflict-averse Michael Scott and further from the face of heartless capitalism, fellow Republican Donald Trump.
Does this make Eric Fehrnstrom the Romney campaign's Dwight? Probably.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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