Political Animal


August 21, 2011 8:55 AM Romney’s real estate

By Steve Benen

I’m curious, does anyone know how many homes Mitt Romney owns?

Reader R.S. passes along this item that ran in the San Diego Union Tribune yesterday.

GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, scheduled to attend a series of fundraisers this weekend in San Diego, is also working on plans to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront manse in La Jolla.

Romney has filed an application with the city to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot, single-story home at 311 Dunemere Dr. and replace it with a two-story, 11,062-square-foot structure…. Tentative plans call for new retaining walls and a relocated driveway, but would retain the existing lap pool and spa.

I’m sure it’s lovely, but in a purely political context, I seem to recall another very wealthy Republican presidential contender running into some trouble three years ago when he struggled to answer a simple question: how many homes do you own?

As best as I can tell, Romney hasn’t been pressed on this just yet, but the story out of Southern California reminded me that Romney also has a $10 million home in New Hampshire. A little cursory searching this morning also turned up Romney’s townhouse in Belmont, Mass., and a nearby mansion, where one of Romney’s sons lives, and where Romney was registered to vote as recently as last year. There was also the $5 million ski-house in an exclusive area in Utah, but he sold it last year.

Not bad for a guy who jokes about being “unemployed.”

Just to be clear about this, there are obviously far more pressing matters in the presidential race, and I generally consider this little more than a point of curiosity on a fairly slow news day. Romney made an enormous amount of money breaking up companies and laying off thousands of American workers, so it stands to reason that he’ll purchase a luxurious residence (or in his case, several). I don’t begrudge him for doing so.

But given the way this issue affected John McCain, I wonder if this is one of those looming questions that might cause some headaches for Team Romney.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • DAY on August 21, 2011 9:12 AM:

    The phrase "Tone Deaf" is applicable to so many candidates, in so many ways.

    Too often men measure their worth by the cost of their toys.

    The older I get, the more I understand Thoreau's advice to "simplify, simplify".

  • FRP on August 21, 2011 9:16 AM:

    It is quite frankly very noble of Mr Benen to give his blessing to the blood money prizes of the mild mannered vampire , his holyness the blood sucking and most honored , Mit Romney .
    I am pleased to announce my power to hold my nose and otherwise make adjustments in my life to keep the stink and its powerfully disabling glamour of misery , and suffering from my blessings list .
    Thank you

  • Kathryn on August 21, 2011 9:21 AM:

    No doubt Mr. Premature is readying his "White House West" headquarters.

  • sick -n-effin-tired on August 21, 2011 9:25 AM:

    And this boys and girls moms and dads is what has become of the political process. Millionaires and billionaires running for office to make more money for their corporate buddys (sponsors) while being supervised by millionaire news readers and on air hacks who know which team they are on and are beholden to their corporate owners anyway.

  • Bobbo on August 21, 2011 9:36 AM:

    Our Galtian overlords deserve as many mansions as they are kind enough to bestow upon the landscape. We lowly parasites should be grateful for the work Romney provides, in his largesse, to his house servants.

  • walt on August 21, 2011 9:36 AM:

    "Mild-mannered vampire" is the winner of the contest: describe Mitt Romney in three words or less.

    Of course, we mustn't ever put a price tag on success. Buying, looting, and then bankrupting American companies creates jobs! Overseas, but they're still jobs.

  • hildebrand on August 21, 2011 9:38 AM:

    Of course it is not a problem, because the President is obviously worse because he spends a whole week at somebody else's expensive ocean front home. No more questions. Because, shut up!

  • c u n d gulag on August 21, 2011 9:40 AM:

    "Mr. Romney, how many 'Mitt-mansions' do you own? Enquiring minds want to know."

    I think in this time, when millions of people are threated with losing their homes, that we have a Presidential candidate who is financially secure enough not to have to worry about being homeless.
    Or his children.
    Or his children's children.
    Or his children's children's children.
    Or, his children's children's children's children...

    Mitt is an inspiration to the nation!

    If only I'd worked hard enough at firing and laying people off, I'd be able to afford coastal mansions, too.

    Where, oh where, did I go wrong?

  • CK62 on August 21, 2011 10:07 AM:

    Although some dictionaries recognize a secondary meaning of the word "manse" as a synonym for "mansion," I suspect that the author of the Union Tribune piece has no idea what the primary meaning of the word "manse" actually is: "the residence of a minister; especially: the house of a Presbyterian minister" (MWD).

  • bob h on August 21, 2011 11:09 AM:

    Of course, this is not the same order of political offense as vacationing in Chilmark.

  • Objective Dem on August 21, 2011 11:32 AM:

    The republican line: Romney is a maker who is creating jobs by building a house. Critics are socialists who are trying to create class conflict because they are failures. Obama is a taker who lives in housing (the White House and Camp David) provided by the public.

    BTW: Captcha wasn't visible when I first entered this comment. When I hit post, it deleted my comment because I didn't enter the magic words.

  • Dennis on August 21, 2011 11:33 AM:

    In 2006 or 2007, the GOP and the Right Wing media were outraged that John Edwards built a large new home in North Carolina. Are these same right wing activists going to be outraged about Romney's massive new house?

  • Objective Dem on August 21, 2011 11:35 AM:

    Captcha's tag line is "Stop spam. read books." Seems like they are succeeding at sending readers away from the comment blogs and back to books.

  • Objective Dem on August 21, 2011 11:40 AM:

    Captcha's tag line is "stop spam. read books." They succeed by making it too hard to comment.

    A post from about 5 minutes ago didn't go through because the Captcha box wasn't visible. I just lost my last post because it said I didn't spell correctly. I have good vision and can read quite well, but if I can't get it right it indicates that Captcha is too difficult.

    Plus they never indicate if you are suppose to include the punctuation like commas and periods.

  • Texas Aggie on August 21, 2011 1:29 PM:

    Objective Dem, when that happens, hit preview and the magic words appear. And forget any punctuation or capitol letters or curlicues on the letters. If the word is upside down, type the word the way it should read right side up. And if there are any doubts, hit the little circular arrow thingy to get a new set.

    After looking at Romney's real estate ownership, check out Goodhair's. During his time as guv, he made a large fortune buying and selling land. He got to be a millionaire on a salary of $175,000.

  • TR on August 21, 2011 2:03 PM:

    If the Democrats make comments about Mitt Romney owning multiple homes, the Beltway bobbleheads will all explain that what the Democrats really mean is that Mitt Romney belongs to that weird religion that lets you have multiple wives, and therefore the Democrats are guilty of committing RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY.

    And, of course, by daring to imply that Mitt Romney is not an all-American average joe because he owns a half-dozen luxury estates, well, the Democrats are guilty of committing CLASS WARFARE as well.

  • Objective Dem on August 21, 2011 2:19 PM:

    Thanks Texas Aggie

  • zeitgeist on August 21, 2011 2:26 PM:

    I wont be as magnanimous as Steve. I do begrudge Romney his multiple mansions.

    One of the biggest social and economic problems in this country is an inability to every stop and say "ok, I have enough." As Gregg Easterbrook notes in The Progress Paradox, it is why getting immensely wealthier as a country didn't raise our happiness. It is why Scandinavian countries - largely socialist democracies - routinely score higher in polls of life satisfaction than the United States. It misdirects resources to vapid consumerism over more worhty pursuits, and results in massive inequalities as those with means exploit those without in a race to some pointless and unreachable "top."

  • John on August 21, 2011 3:43 PM:

    I'm with zeitgeist above; I too begrudge Romney building some palatial new estate when the rotten son of a bitch has made a "career" out of gutting companies and throwing people out on the street. At what point is "enough" considered "enough?" I'm sure there are many people no longer employed thanks to Romney who would consider a 3,009-square foot home (with lap pool and spa!) a really nice place to live.

  • Varecia on August 21, 2011 5:21 PM:

    I'm just sickened that some over-privileged job-destroyer would bulldoze a structure for no other reason than to build an even bigger, pointless structure. At least salvage the usable materials so they can go toward a home for someone who really needs and would appreciate it. These people make me retch.

  • gmoke on August 21, 2011 6:08 PM:

    Mark Halperin will be happy to tell it's a terrible mistake to pick on a Repug candidate for having so many homes he can't count them. He said it would backfire for Obama against McCain and he'll tell you the same thing if Obama or any Dem uses it against Romney.

    But then again, it is Mark Halperin, almost as wrong as Bill Kristol but not quite so rightwing.

  • Death Panel Truck on August 21, 2011 8:26 PM:

    The question isn't; How many homes does Romney own?

    The question is: Does Romney know how many homes he owns?

    McCain didn't know. Does Mittens?

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  • Nancy Irving on August 22, 2011 1:17 AM:

    In keeping with his "joke" about being unemployed, maybe Romney can "sympathize" with a voter who's underwater on his mortgage; he can claim to be "land poor."