It's a pretty good move from the Romney camp. In a field of multi-millionaires and in a nation where only the mega-rich have any chance of being elected to national political power, he's decided to set himself out as the one who will do it for the love of service.
Republican Mitt Romney, conceding that his business career helped him make more money than he expected, said Tuesday he would likely decline a salary as president and instead donate the money - and more - to charity.You can write it off as a cheap political stunt if you want - but I'm betting it will have a positive impact on many. The only way it could be topped is if another candidate suggested means-testing for all administration officials, seantors and congresscritters. Possess existing assets over a certain amount and you get a reduced wage, in steps, until it hits zero at some level. Because it really should be about the wish to serve, about duty and responsibility, not money.
During a question-and-answer session with Liberty Mutual employees, Romney said that despite his personal wealth - his assets likely will total $190 million to $250 million - he has committed himself to public service, from head of the 2002 Winter Olympics to one-term governor of Massachusetts.
Romney's assets makes him the wealthiest of all the presidential candidates, Democratic or Republican.
``I wouldn't disqualify somebody by virtue of their financial wealth or their financial poverty,'' Romney said after ticking off his public service work. ``I would instead look at their record, what they've done with their life and whether they can make a difference, whether the things they have learned will enable them to be an effective leader.''
Later, speaking with reporters, Romney said he would likely follow the example he set while governor, when he declined his $135,000 annual salary. The president of the United States is paid $400,000 annually.
``I haven't really thought ahead that far,'' Romney said at first. ``There are some questions I haven't forecasted, perhaps because that would seem presumptuous of me.''
Then, he added: ``I presume I would take the salary and then I would donate at least that amount - or more - to charity.''
Like that's going to happen...
Unless Hillary really means this, all the way through:
Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an ``on your own'' society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.How about it, Mrs. Clinton? Is it Hillary or Shillary? At least offer to follow Romney's lead.
The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ``ownership society'' really is an ``on your own'' society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.
``I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society,'' she said. ``I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none.''