City Journal: Inside Mitt’s New Digs
With Romney’s campaign for the presidency just off the ground, we get an exclusive tour of his North End headquarters.
When you gotta raise tens of millions to be competitive, you gotta pinch a few pennies. The faux-suede sofa in the lobby was brought in by the candidate himself; elsewhere in the office are mismatched desks and chairs bought from W. B. Mason or on the cheap from the Healey-for-governor campaign. This in a building that used to house Roche-Bobois!
Mitt’s lease on the building at 585 Commercial Street lasts through next year’s primary season; after that, it’s month to month. At nine bucks a square foot, the monthly rent amounts to upward of $20,000. That’s a steal owing to perfect timing: The owner of the plum waterfront parcel is planning to knock down the structure to build condos.
BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE
Romney’s only request for his office? A decent view. His third-floor corner spot faces north and serves up an enviable eyeful of the Zakim Bridge, the Charles River, and the Bunker Hill Monument beyond. The room’s got the best light in the building and is the only one with hardwood floors.
Romney’s old man, George, was a three-term governor in Michigan before he became a GOP frontrunner for the White House in ’68. It isn’t clear whether placards for the elder Romney are reminders of past glory or a warning for Mitt to watch his mouth on the trail (Papa Romney had his own “tar baby” moment, sinking his campaign with the verbal gaffe that he’d been “brainwashed”). The walls of other Romney HQ offices are dotted with shots of Republican royalty (the Gipper!) and portraits of the candidate posturing presidential (there he is with Hamid Karzai!).
Next door to Romney, campaign chief Beth Myers has gone with a cartography-chic motif—the better, she says, to help her learn the names of the 238 counties in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina. Down the hall, Peter Flaherty—newly installed as conservative outreach director—has decorated his desk with portraits of the Pope and Mother Teresa.