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Private elevators and security ropes were emblematic of Mitt Romney's Massachusetts 'bipartisanship'

FRI OCT 05, 2012 Mitt Romney made much of his supposed bipartisan skills in Wednesday night's debate. By this time, it may not surprise you to hear that he was stretching the truth. As a Republican governor whose legislature was 87 percent Democrats, he said, "I figured out from Day 1 I had to get along, and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done." The result, he said, was that "we drove our schools to be No. 1 in the nation. We cut taxes 19 times." Romney didn't deserve credit for Massachusetts schools that were already great when he became governor, the tax cuts include a number that came from the legislature, "routine extensions of existing tax reductions that were due to expire," and two one-day sales tax holidays. Additionally, Romney was famous for raising fees on basically everything he could think of. And about that bipartisanship. Massachusetts state legislators, though heavily Democratic, were used to working with Republican governors. But while there were moments Romney worked with them successfully—passing the precursor to Obamacare, for instance—Massachusetts legislators by and large remember him as exactly the entitled jerk we see running for president now. One frequently cited example of that entitlement is the elevator in the State House that Romney reserved for himself, banning state legislators from using it. They also talk about the security ropes he had installed outside his office. And about how it was impossible to get a meeting with him and he didn't bother to learn the names of the legislators who he now tells us he worked so hard to get bipartisan with. It's not just legislators, either. Romney also kept his distance from the state's mayors: John Barrett, who was mayor of the city of North Adams during Romney's governorship, described him Thursday as "a governor who just ignored us, who didn't want our effort," saying he never met with mayors or sought their input. "He believed that a PowerPoint presentation would solve all our problems," Barrett said. One Democratic mayor did have a positive experience with Romney. But: When Kalisz relayed the story to his fellow mayors, though, a funny thing happened: Nobody believed him. “They thought I was joking when I said he was physically in my office,” Kalisz says. Taking a shared elevator and keeping it for himself, security ropes, refusing to meet with legislators and mayors. Sound like bipartisanship to you? And that was in a state mostly controlled by Democrats—Romney wouldn't face nearly the same pressure to work with Democrats when it comes to a sharply divided U.S. Congress. The meetings with Democrats that he claims would happen on Day One would be much more likely to happen on Day Never.


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