Romney pins GSA scandal on Obama but gives him a pass on Secret Service

Steven Senne/AP

Mitt Romney tried on Wednesday to pin a federal agency's Las Vegas spending spree on the Obama administration, but gave the president a pass on the widening scandal involving members of the Secret Service and military who allegedly hired prostitutes while on assignment in Colombia.

“The president has confidence in the head of the Secret Service as do I, and I believe the right corrective action will be taken there,” Romney said on WTVN in Columbus, Ohio. “Obviously everyone is very, very disappointed in these stories, very uncharacteristic of the service, and I think it will be dealt with in as aggressive a way as is possible given the requirements of law.”

The marks were a contrast to Romney’s assertion that the administration “obviously is embarrassed” by the revelation that the General Services Administration hosted an $823,000 conference near Las Vegas in 2010. He said top GSA official Jeff Neely was pleading his Fifth Amendment rights as an “excuse” to not have to testify in the case.

Speaking more generally about government corruption including the GSA scandal, the Secret Service scandal, and the Justice Department's botched "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation, Romney said he would “clean house” if he were president.

“The right thing to do is to remove people who have violated the public trust and have put their playtime and their personal interest ahead of the nation,” Romney said in an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “You’ve got to make an assessment of those individuals, and where people have failed and where you think they have not got the level of care and caution that is necessary, you replace them.”

On WTVN, Romney also fielded questions about his vice presidential pick. He declined to provide a short list, but did talk about a “debt of gratitude” for help he had received in the Ohio primary from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is widely perceived as a top possibility.

“I think his strength and his endorsement and his campaigning with me across the state really made a difference. That kind of a victory in Ohio was one of the things that propelled me to become the presumptive nominee. So I’m in a great debate of gratitude to Rob Portman and recognize that yeah, he makes a difference in Ohio but he would make a difference on a national ticket as well. He’s a great guy and a very capable person,” Romney said.

Matthew Shelley contributed to this report.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.