(McClatchy Newspapers) In 2006, 12 tons of concrete dropped from the roof of a tunnel on a major Massachusetts artery, killing a woman and terrifying drivers. Gov. Mitt Romney cut short a New Hampshire vacation and raced back to work.

The Republican governor promised a top-to-bottom review of the project, pressed for emergency legislation and the ouster of the turnpike’s director. He held press conferences and briefed lawmakers, displaying a flair for detail.

“He called me in for a meeting, I figured there’d be engineers and contractors, but the governor did the whole show,” said state Sen. Steven Baddour, the Democratic chair of the transportation committee. “He walked us through what had transpired and why. What had happened to the epoxy that was supposed to be holding up the ceiling. It was impressive.”

The response was vintage Chief Executive Officer Romney.

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