The Los Angeles Times published a front page article in its Sunday edition yesterday. It is titled, “Image Gap” [The Romney we see on the campaign trail doesn't seem to be the one revered by friends and colleagues], by Maeve Reston. I highly recommend reading the entire article by clicking the link above: “Image Gap.”
Those of us that have studied for years the life and career of Mitt Romney are well aware of the many stories that clearly define him as generous with his time; as someone who is patient and genuinely kind to others — a man of service. I have heard some people voice frustration that he does not speak of these experiences and they wish he would. Any student of “servant leadership” knows that a characteristic attribute of such leaders is humility.
Following are excerpts from the article:
The article starts off by describing how Mitt Romney gave a bridge loan to save the home of an executive of Staples at a critical time.
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.
If the country knows little about what makes Mitt Romney tick, that is in large part because the campaign has walled off large swaths of his background, including some of the most humanizing components, to public discussion.
As a result, 10 weeks before the election Romney remains an enigma to many Americans.
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.
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.”
To date, many of the stories friends and advisors tell of Romney emphasize his tendency, as one put it, to personally “run at problems and fix them.” One often-cited episode was his decision to shut down Bain Capital and organize a multiday search party to find a partner’s teenage daughter, who had vanished after a party. After he recruited Bain’s lawyers, accountants and other business associates to walk the streets of Manhattan showing her picture, authorities found the girl in a New Jersey basement. (Notably, the story was used by Romney in advertising for an earlier campaign, before Bain became the focus of months of Democratic gibes.)
Cindy Gillespie, who worked closely with Romney when he ran the Salt Lake City Olympics and then moved to Massachusetts to work with him, recalled a less dramatic illustration of Romney’s approach. When movers left her bedroom set stranded in the driveway of her new town house after failing to maneuver it up a narrow staircase, Romney — then the governor — arrived with three of his sons and