Democratic leaders anointed Gov. Mitt Romney "Matinee Mitt" yesterday following a Herald report that he has a 13-person squad devoted to choreographing every detail of his public appearances.Even funnier is the fact that the office door for the governor's spin squad has a sign on it reading, "Governor's Office of Operations. LXX," since Romney's the 70th governor of Massachusetts. All hail Romney!
"It is bizarre. It is like a make-believe world," said Jane Lane, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, about the $350,000 in state salaries paid to nine staff members who, along with four unpaid interns, make up Romney's Office of Operations.
"At a time when cities and towns are desperate for more police, firefighters and public school teachers, Gov. Romney thinks it is more important that he looks good at public appearances," Lane said.
Yes, it's amusing that the guy needs so many primpers and "yes men" around to appease his vanity, but there is that matter of cost. Over Romney's four-year term, that's $1.4 million he's paying out in salaries alone. The article points out, though, that the expense only begins with the salaries:
Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer refused yesterday to provide further information on costs associated with the office, despite a two-month-old public records request filed by the Herald.All this from a man who once said cutting the federal workforce would be a great way to get some extra budget savings and that his experience running the Olympics showed him how he could cut waste in government. "We took things out that were waste, that were unnecessary, the folderol that wasn't essential to carrying out the mission of a great Olympics," Romney said. "The same thing, I believe, can happen in government."
Workers in the office, including four advance people, have state credit cards, surveillance kits similar to those used by the Secret Service and other electronic equipment paid for by taxpayers.
Operations staff also travel in and out of state with the governor.
The sprawling suite of offices in the State House basement, taken over by the image squad in February, has banks of computers, a refrigerator, microwave and stacks of Romney promotional material.