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Tuesday
Mar272012

Mitt Romney Plans Even More Luxurious Southern California Retreat

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- From the outside, Mitt Romney’s California retreat almost looks modest -- as far as oceanfront villas go -- but new documents show that Romney has much more spectacular plans for his family’s $12 million La Jolla home.

Romney’s intention to level the existing structure and replace it with a considerably larger one has been known for months, but these documents indicate the Romneys intend to build an elevator for a four-car garage, an outdoor shower, an enormous basement and other amenities.

Those plans were first reported on Tuesday by Politico.

The home, now just over 3,000 square feet, would grow to quadruple that size. ABC News paid a visit to Romney’s property and found an official City of San Diego “Notice Of Application” hanging on one side of the current garage door.  The sign indicates the Romneys’ intention to “demolish the existing residence and construct a new, approximately 8,105-square-foot single family residence on a 0.41 acre site.”

The notice lists several special “zones” in which the home is located, including the Coastal Height Limit Overlay Zone -- an indication of the many hurdles the Romneys and their representatives are jumping through to build the newer, bigger version of their Pacific Ocean retreat. That effort is taking time and money, and according to the Politico report, the Romneys have been paying thousands to designers and lobbyists to help them through the process.

It’s clear that the Democrats plan to make a campaign issue out of it -- another example, they say, that Romney is out of touch with average Americans. As Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse quipped in an email message, “Well, doesn’t everyone need an elevator for their cars? Even if you have to hire a lobbyist to secure it?”

The home is located at the end of a long, narrow cul-de-sac in the seaside community of La Jolla, just north of San Diego. The street entrance is perfectly manicured and there is a small tile plaque adjacent to the front door that reads “Fin De La Senda” (“End Of The Path”).

Romney spent last weekend at the vacation home, and reporters who visited encountered a temporary staging area on the street set up by the U.S. Secret Service, whose agents now protect the former Massachusetts governor and presidential hopeful.

The real draw of the property is its unobstructed view of the beach and Pacific Ocean. A concrete seawall and locked gate separates the waves and the beachgoers from the Romneys’ backyard. The family can look out at the sun-worshippers and surfers from a large wooden deck.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb242012

Romney Hits the Gridiron -- and the Stump -- in Michigan

Scott Olson/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Standing on the 30-yard line of Detroit's Ford Field, Mitt Romney delivered his economic speech before a crowd of about 1,200 supporters sitting in folding chairs on the field of the indoor football stadium that is home to the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

Romney reiterated his new tax plan to applause from the audience in his crucial home state of Michigan, saying, "I want to thank the folks at the Ford Field for making this space available for us,” Romney said, joking about the massive stadium, "I guess we had a hard time finding a large enough place to meet and this certainly is."

As Romney spoke, his campaign acknowledged he must score in Michigan. Romney could survive a Michigan loss mathematically, but the political price would be catastrophic -- a chief strategist with the campaign telling ABC News, "What could we change here at this point... We're all in." The strategist would not predict Tuesday’s outcome.  The campaign source added, if they lose, "We get back up and start campaigning again like we always do," recognizing the tight race in the state against Rick Santorum. 

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Romney celebrated the auto industry indoors, saying he and his family drive American made cars. However, before the speech, protesters -- mostly including auto worker union members -- had gathered to demonstrate against him. The crowd -- some holding a giant banner with an amended headline from Romney's 2008 New York Times op-ed -- actually disappated before the speech, however. Protesters had changed "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" -- a line Romney actually never said, but the Times attributed to him -- to "Let Romney Go Bankrupt."

The host organization for Romney's speech, the Detroit Economic Club, changed the event site from a downtown Detroit hotel to the field because, as a spokesman for the club told ABC News, tickets sold out within hours.

Romney, in his home state where his father ran an automobile company and served as governor, began and ended his speech noting his love for cars.  But when he listed his cars, there was a slightly awkward moment: After declaring Detroit should be, "the Motor City of the World," Romney said, "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck.  He then said his wife Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.

Before ending, Romney added, "I used to have a Dodge truck so I used to have all three covered."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio