In a 2002 video recently uncovered by ABC News, then-Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney bragged about being able to get taxpayer dollars from Washington, D.C., despite his current attacks on federal subsidies.
“I am big believer in getting money where the money is,” Romney said in an address to the New Bedford Industrial Foundation on Oct. 16, 2002. “The money is in Washington.”
“I want to go after every grant, every project, every department in Washington to assure that we are taking advantage of economic development opportunities,” the candidate explained.
At a campaign event last week, Romney took aim at rival Rick Santorum for being a Washington insider, but in the 2002 video, the Massachusetts Republican touted his D.C. connections.
“I have learned from my Olympic experience that if you have people who really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there you can get money to help build economic development opportunities,” Romney said.
The former Massachusetts also recently suggested during a Republican presidential debate that he had not taken any more money from the federal government for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games than previous games.
Again, the 2002 video recorded by Democratic operatives tells a different story.
“We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games,” Romney boasted. “That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going after every agency of government.”
At one point, he even explained how one of his colleagues managed to get Olympic funding from the Department of Education.
“She said, ‘Why don’t I get the Department of Education to buy tickets to the Paralympics so that high school and grade school kids can go to the Paralympics?’ She literally got, I believe the number was over $1 million from the Department of Education, funding to buy tickets for kids,” Romney said. “This way we got kids there and we also got additional revenues that we wouldn’t have had. That kind of creativity I want to bring to everything we do.”
ABC’s Jonathan Karl noted on Friday that Romney presidential campaign spokesman Andrea Saul had insisted that the 2002 video did not contradict the candidate’s current message.
“Every state budget in the country is dependant on federal funding, and every governor in the country makes requests for funding, but governors do not get to decide how Congress appropriates that money,” Saul said. “Governor Romney supports a permanent ban on earmarks, which are symbols of what’s wrong in Washington.”
Watch this video from ABC’s Good Morning America, broadcast March. 2, 2012.