Civilized conversations between DC's top politicos and journalists

Club for Growth president: Mitt's business credentials present challenges

Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, sympathizes with the challenges Romney faces as a business executive running for office, but doesn't know how he will serve as president.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth speaks in Washington on Sept. 20.

Club for Growth, the limited-government, free-enterprise advocacy group, focuses its spending on Republican primaries. It helped defeat moderate Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana and played a key role in Ted Cruz's come-from-behind win in the Senate primary in Texas. Chris Chocola, the group's president and a former congressman from Indiana, was the guest at the Sept. 20 Monitor breakfast.

His expectations for a potential Mitt Romney presidency:

"They are uncertain. That is the thing. We don't really know. Again, that is the knock against Romney, [it] is you don't really know how he will serve.... And so our expectations are uncertainty."

The challenges faced by business executives, like Mr. Romney and Chocola, when they run for public office:

"In politics, 90 percent of what you do is look like you are doing something, 10 percent is actually doing something. In business, 90 percent of what you do is doing something.... So businesspeople have a very hard time understanding why results just don't speak for themselves and 'why do I have to tell people how great I am.' "

Goals of Club for Growth:

"Our first focus is open, safe Republican seats. Our second focus is incumbents behaving badly.... Regardless of whether you win or lose, you scare the heck out of the rest of them."

The impact of the political environment on congressional candidates:

"Sometimes the candidates can do everything right and lose. Sometimes the candidates don't do everything right and win because they are at the mercy of the political winds on Election Day."

Romney and President Obama on trade issues:

"Romney and Obama had their dueling bash-China sessions. When you start to threaten a trade war with China, when you start to pander politically on trade issues, you are hurting the economy, you are not helping it.... We think that both of them are guilty of political pandering to the detriment of economic growth.... We think they are both wrong on this."

His view of Congress, as a former House member:

"I went to Congress because I was concerned about our government. Now that I have been there, I am petrified."

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.