Romney Draws Attention as McCain VP Pick; Experience Gained Through Work With With Josh Bekenstein
Released on: August 20, 2008, 4:12 pm
Press Release Author: Roger L. Newman
Press Release Summary: As the Republican National Convention draws nearer, so does speculation on John McCain's running mate. Among contenders for McCain's would-be VP spot are a number of conservatives considered popular among evangelical Christian contingents.
Press Release Body: As the Republican National Convention draws nearer, so does speculation on John McCain's (http://www.johnmccain.com/) potential running mate. Among the many contenders for McCain's would-be VP spot are a number of conservatives considered popular among the Republican Party's evangelical Christian and traditional conservative contingents. Recent articles (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/16/us/politics/16veep.html) have suggested such conservative heavyweights as Tom Ridge, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and even McCain's former foe, Mitt Romney (http://www.mittromney.com/), although many are placing their bets on a McCain-Romney ticket in the fall (http://www.slate.com/id/2197245/). Despite the well-documented rivalry between McCain and Romney (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/02/05/mccain/) in the primaries, recent reports seem to indicate that the two men have settled their former grievances, with Romney placing his full support behind the McCain campaign in recent months. The blogosphere has been abuzz with chatter about the possibility of McCain tapping into Romney's appeal among conservatives perhaps unsure about McCain's stance on stalwart issues such as abortion, with some bloggers (http://suburbanconservative.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/mitt-romney-for-vice-president/) suggesting Romney's broad voter appeal and all-American image would make him a better choice than contenders such as Mike Huckabee (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/19/uselections2008.vicepresident).
Of course, choosing Mitt Romney for his VP is far from a conservative slam-dunk for McCain. Although Romney's deep economic experience and close ties to battleground states like Michigan (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gnBQ_XY-_xg-zJPbsccA7vVw_RPgD92LJK400) could prove fruitful this November, Romney's big-business past and Mormon religion can make him an attractive target for detractors.
One of Romney's top selling points, however, is his economic experience. Before embarking on his political career, Romney led the start-up of Bain Capital (http://www.baincapital.com/) through its early inception managing $37 million in assets to its massive expansion, managing over $4 billion. Romney's 15-year career at Bain is considered by many to be not only a major personal success but also a huge source of credibility on economic matters, which McCain will need in a running mate come this November's election (http://blogs.forbes.com/trailwatch/2008/08/mccains-vice-pr.html).
Romney's influence and connections in the multi-billion dollar world of private equity is another big asset. Much of Romney's pull among members of the business community comes from his successful tenure at Bain Capital. In Romney's unsuccessful Presidential bid earlier this year, Romney, despite running as a Republican, managed to attract some Democratic donors among his ranks of supporters. Josh Bekenstein (http://www.baincapitalprivateequity.com/team/index.asp?viewType=ByRegion&d_Bio_ID=67), a managing director of Bain Capital and one of Romney's long-time colleagues, contributed to his friend Mitt's Presidential campaign (http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=Bekenstein&fname=Josh) while also donating to the Democratic National Convention (http://www.demconvention.com/). Barack Obama's (http://www.barackobama.com/) 2008 Presidential campaign also counts Josh Bekenstein as one of its donors. Mitt Romney's close connection with industry heavyweights like Josh Bekenstein, who worked with Romney at consulting firm Bain & Company (http://www.bain.com), and then co-founded Bain Capital with Romney in 1984 (http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/part3/) could help Romney appeal to a wide swath of voters who are potentially "on the fence" about their Presidential choice. Having important (Democrat) friends like Josh Bekenstein certainly won't hurt Romney's credibility or ability to draw voters from across the political spectrum. Romney's ties to the Fraser Bullocks and Josh Bekensteins of the private equity world have the potential to attract undecided voters who value issues such as economic revitalization and social conservatism over issues like religion and immigration (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-forum16-2008aug16,0,6960752.story). But recent media reports suggest that the road ahead could prove challenging, as critics examine Romney's business ties and statements made during the 2008 primary campaign (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31debate.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/P/Politics%20and%20Government&pagewanted=all). No matter what happens in the coming weeks, though, you can expect Mitt Romney to leverage his significant influence, experience, prominent friends like Josh Bekenstein - Democratic and Republican alike, and relationships gained through both his work at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts - as well as his considerable television presence (http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/08/kerry_romney_he.html) - to drive his further political career. Whether that means working as John McCain's potential second-in-command or, who knows, even running for President again in 2012 (http://mitt12.com/), Mitt Romney probably isn't fading into obscurity any time soon.
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