Romney "takes credit for cleaning everything up," complained Stephen Pace, who helped run Utahns for Responsible Public Spending, a local nonprofit group. "How much he really did, how much initiative he showed, is hard to tell."
Romney gives his version of events, including early face-offs with McCain, in his 2004 book, "Turnaround."
At a time when the Games needed "record-breaking federal support," he wrote, McCain and a few of his Senate colleagues were threatening to revoke the tax deductibility of corporate sponsorships. "That would nail the coffin of the Salt Lake Olympics and future Games," Romney worried.
McCain, he added, "had earned the unfair reputation of being out to destroy the Games." After their first meeting, in early 1999, Romney decided that McCain "did not oppose the Olympics -- he simply opposed the federal government paying for the Games, particularly when he saw any waste and abuse. And he had plenty of examples."
After the Sept. 11 attacks, however, McCain "made clear there would be no problems from him when we came to Congress for the funding necessary to keep the Games secure," Romney wrote.