As governor of Massachusetts and as head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Mitt Romney did not take a salary.
He has made millions at the private equity investment firm Bain Capital and before that at the management consulting firm, Bain and Company. According to the candidate’s personal financial disclosure released earlier this month, Romney is worth as much as $250 million. If he makes it to the White House he may be one of the wealthiest presidents in history.
So, if he does become president of the United States will he take the $400,000 per year paycheck?
He’s not telling … yet.
This morning on Neil Boortz’s radio show the host asked if the presumptive GOP nominee would continue his streak of not taking a salary, but Romney answered, “I don’t have an announcement for you on that today.”
He did leave the door open to it, though, floating an idea that government workers should get paid on an incentive system: If they get results, they get paid.
“I do believe in linking my incentives and my commitment to the accomplishments of specific goals and I think that’s true,” Romney said. “I wish we had that throughout government, where people recognize that they are not going to get rewarded in substantial ways unless they are able to achieve the objectives they were elected to carry out.”
When Boortz asked if he was referring to an incentive system, Romney laughed and said, “Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice.”
“Of course we have an incentive [system], we can vote people out of office,” Romney said. “And I just hope that the American people focus on the president’s record and say, You know what? Whether or not you think he’s a nice guy, he’s clearly failed us. His policies did not work. The economy did not turn around, housing prices did not come up, unemployment was not brought down, as he said it would. He said it would be down in the 6 percent range now and it’s at 8 percent. By his own measurement he has be unsuccessful and we have to try the policies of someone else which have a much better chance of getting America back to work.”
During the 2008 primary campaign, Romney said he would donate his salary to charity. In Massachusetts he declined his $135,000 a year salary. At the Olympics, which he headed for two years, he said he would only accept the $250,000 pay check if the games made a profit. When the Olympics were financially successfully he turned that money over to charity.
In another radio interview Monday morning the candidate defended comments he made about teachers and firefighters the Obama campaign pounced on last week.
“It would be a very strange thing if we now decide the federal government is responsible for hiring school teachers, firemen and policemen. I don’t imagine the president’s planning on making that kind of recommendation, but maybe he is, which would be quite a shift in the way the constitution works,” Romney said on WPHT radio in Pennsylvania today.
Friday, Romney said of the president, ”He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?”
The Obama campaign immediately jumped on the statement saying it shows how much Romney is out of touch. (Obama, for the record, does take the salary; his assets are estimated to be as high as $9.9 million.)
When Romney campaigned in Philadelphia last month, he was criticized by the Obama campaign for saying increases in class sizes don’t really matter when it comes to students’ success in the classroom.
He doubled down on those comments today: “Changing classroom size by a modest amount, from, let’s say, 18 kids per class to 20 kids or down to 16, that has a very small impact on the quality of education, and that the biggest impact on the quality of education is the quality of the teacher.”