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From the NewsHour Archives: For Romney, Olympics ‘Affirm Humanity’

Mitt Romney and Ray Suarez discuss plans for unprecedented safety measures for both athletes and spectators at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

In London Thursday, on the eve of the Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told reporters he expects the games, which have been criticized for security concerns and lackluster organization, “to be highly successful,” according to an Associated Press report.

After meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Romney added “Of course there will be errors from time to time, but those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes.”

Romney had held similar expectations in 2002 when he served as chief organizer of the Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In our tape library, NewsHour uncovered an interview with Romney from Feb. 5, 2002, just three days before the start of those games, in which the future Republican nominee reflected on the strife of preparing for an Olympics just one year after the Sept. 11 attacks when “the world changed.”

He told correspondent Ray Suarez:

I think the world has changed from the days when wars only meant combat between two nations, perhaps at their border. Now there is a sense of war on something as awful as terrorism, which knows no borders, which has no country which is its flagship, where there is no army opposing you, where your enemy is invisible. Like the war on drugs, it must go on constantly and our nation must be vigilant and aggressive in its pursuit of this war, even while perhaps the most visible event on the world stage that augers for peace, the Olympics, goes on. That’s the nature of our modern world and I think the Olympics now is a symbol which is, perhaps, more powerful, stands out in more contrast to the awful terrorism that has befallen us.

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