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TRUTH TEST | Ad portrays Mitt Romney as Salt Lake City Olympic hero

7:06 PM, Aug 10, 2012   |    comments
Mitt Romney, CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, talks with the press 31 October 2001 in Salt Lake City. He discussed security measures and preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics. (GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images)
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DENVER - Colorado viewers of the 2012 London Olympics have not been able to escape an ad touting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the hero of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

The pro-Romney SuperPAC "Restore Our Future" bought massive amounts of advertising to tell a positive story.

The ad may be most memorable because it features three Team USA gold medalists praising Romney for his work as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Games. Their praise centers around the financial turnaround of the organization.

"He faced a $400-million budget deficit," 2002 Games COO Fraser Bullock said in the ad. "And turned it around to a $100-million surplus."

Those claims are true, backed up by multiple news reports on the finances of the games.

Romney was proud of cutting the budget for the games from $1.45 billion to $1.3 billion.

Opponents point out the federal government pitched in $340 million for the Games, which does not seem to match Romney's stance on reducing federal spending.

Of course, Romney was not running for president then. He was running an Olympics - which commonly needs government support.

It's up to the individual voter to decide whether Romney's experience with the 2002 Games helps to qualify him for the White House.

Critics say it was not much of a challenge for Romney to fix the problems with the Salt Lake City Olympics because those involved wanted the games to succeed - encouraging them to cooperate with Romney.

That stands in contrast to the way presidents must wrestle with Congress to accomplish things.

Romney supporters say that does not change the fact that this part of Romney's past shows he was able to do big things well.

(Brandon Rittiman, KUSA Denver)

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