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Monday
Sep172012

Romney Stands by Comments About ‘Entitled’ Obama Supporters in Leaked Videos

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(COSTA MESA, Calif.) -- Leaked video of Republican nominee Mitt Romney at closed-door fundraisers show him saying that “no matter what” he does, 47 percent of the population is going to vote for Obama because they are, “are dependent upon government.” On Monday night in California, Romney did not back down from what he had said.

The video clips, which were posted by Mother Jones, show Romney telling donors that 47 percent of voters will chose Obama “no matter what” because they are people, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

“My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney says in the video. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Portions of the video were posted anonymously on YouTube in June while longer, but still incomplete, versions were posted on Monday by Mother Jones, which claims it “has confirmed its authenticity.” ABC News has not thus far been able independently to validate the authenticity of the clips.

Responding to the leaked video on Monday night at a press conference in Costa Mesa, Calif., Romney stood by what he said in the clip, but he admitted he could have been more eloquent at the time the video was shot.

[Hear Mitt Romney's response here.]

Romney said that he was speaking “off the cuff” in response to a question.

“It’s a question and answer, as I recall, about the process of the campaign and how I’m going to get the 51 or 52 percent I need, and I point out it’s by focusing on those folks that are neither in [Obama's] camp nor in my camp,” Romney said.

“I recognize that among those that pay no tax, approximately 47 percent of Americans, I’m not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes. That’s not as attractive to those who don’t pay income taxes as it is to those who do,” Romney said. “And likewise those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government. And so I then focus on those individuals who I believe are most likely to be able to be pulled into my camp and help me win the 51 or 50.1 percent that I need to become the next President.”

Earlier on Monday, the Obama campaign responded swiftly and harshly to the video.

“It’s shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people  view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives,” Jim Messina, Obama for America campaign manager, said in a statement. “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”

It is not specified when or where the taped fundraiser was. The clips have been edited into 38-second to one-and-a-half minute chunks.

In the series of leaked videos, Romney also tells supporters that if he, “had he been born of Mexican parents I’d have a better shot of winning this,” that he, “was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America,” and that he “inherited nothing” from his wealthy father.

“My dad and Ann’s dad did quite well in their lives, but when they came to the end of their lives and passed along the inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away,” Romney says. “So I have inherited nothing. Everything Ann and I have we have earned the old fashioned way.”

Romney explains to the campaign donors that he has not been harsher in his attacks against President Obama because he is trying to win over people who voted for Obama in 2008.

“And because they voted for him, they don’t want to be told that they were wrong, that he’s a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he’s corrupt,” Romney says. “Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn’t up to the task.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep172012

In Leaked Video, Romney Says He Can't Convince ‘Victim’ Voters 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Leaked video of Republican nominee Mitt Romney at a closed-door fund raiser sometime earlier this year that purport to show him using some very different talking points from the ones he tends to use publicly.  Gov. Romney can be heard in the videos saying that “no matter what” he does, 47 percent of the population is going to vote for Obama because they are, “are dependent upon government.”

In one portion of the speech Romney says he, “was born with a silver spoon” but in other he says he “inherited nothing.”

The video clips, which were posted by the liberal site Mother Jones, show Romney telling donors that 47 percent of voters will chose Obama “no matter what” because they are people, "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."

"My job is not to worry about those people," Romney says in the video. "I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

In a statement Monday, the Romney campaign said he cares about all voters.

"Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy," said spokeswoman Gail Gitcho. "As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney’s plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs."

Portions of the video were posted anonymously on YouTube while longer, but still incomplete, versions were posted on Monday by Mother Jones, which claims it "has confirmed its authenticity." ABC News has not thus far been able independently to validate the authenticity of the clips.

The Obama campaign responded swiftly and harshly to the comments.

"It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives," Jim Messina, Obama for America campaign manager, said in a statement. "It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."

The tapes are, as Mother Jones reports, from fund raisers, "which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination," although it is not specified when or where the fundraiser was. The clips have been edited into 38-second to one-and-a-half minute chunks.

[See the full videos from Mother Jones here.]

In the series of leaked videos, Romney also tells supporters that if he, "had he been born of Mexican parents, "I’d have a better shot of winning this," that he. "was born with a silver spoon -- which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America," and that he "inherited nothing" from his wealthy father.

"My dad and Ann’s dad did quite well in their lives, but when they came to the end of their lives and passed along the inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away," Romney says. "So I have inherited nothing. Everything Ann and I have we have earned the old fashioned way."

Romney explains to the campaign donors that he has not been harsher in his attacks against President Obama because he is trying to win over people who voted for Obama in 2008.

"And because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he’s a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he’s corrupt," Romney says. "Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn’t up to the task." Critics would argue, however, that those talking points are just what the Republican base wants to hear.

On the economy, Romney said the markets would react favorably if he won the White House on Nov. 6.

“We’ll see -- without actually doing anything -- we’ll actually get a boost in the economy,” he says, admitting two sentences later that he, "can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected."

And while the Republican candidate’s campaign said Monday that he would start offering more specifics about his policies, Romney said during this fundraiser that, "in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject -- discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn’t win elections."

Like President Obama, Romney lets press into some parts of his fund raisers that are held at public venues. Often, reporters are allowed for one part of a three-part event. When fund raisers are held at private homes, the press is barred altogether. The types of question-and-answer sessions that are captured in these videos are generally closed to the press.

President Obama similarly does not allow press to sit in on question-and-answer sessions, and most political experts know comments tossed as "red meat" to big donors -- on either side of the political aisle -- won't play as well to an open audience.

The Romney campaign announced earlier Monday, before Mother Jones posted the videos, that cameras would now be allowed into fund raisers at public venues.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Obama Fundraises with Players in Solyndra Scandal

Ken James/Bloomberg via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- At an exclusive re-election fundraiser Monday night, President Obama hobnobbed with 60 of his wealthiest supporters, including two figures at the center of the Solyndra loan scandal.

Steve Westly, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, was one of the first to raise red flags about the administration’s support for a $500 million loan to Solyndra, the solar energy start-up that later went bankrupt.  He wrote directly to senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett in 2010 to raise concerns about the company’s viability ahead of the president’s high-profile visit that year.

Matt Rogers, a former senior adviser at the Department of Energy, played a key role in approving Solyndra’s loan as part of the stimulus plan.

Both men were spotted by White House print pool reporter Darren Samuelsohn of Politico at the Piedmont, Calif., home of Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan, who were hosting the $35,800-a-head event.

Samuelsohn noted that Westly was seen near the pool, “juggling lemons, entertaining kids at the party.”

Republicans have seized on Obama’s ties to Westly and Rogers -- as well as top Obama campaign bundler George Kaiser, who made multiple visits to the White House in an attempt to get the Solyndra loan pushed through -- as part of their case that the president engages in “crony capitalism.”

“The Obama Administration betrayed American taxpayers when it dumped hundreds of millions of public dollars into Solyndra while ignoring clear warnings about the company’s dire financial situation,” Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.

“President Obama’s first term worked out well for his donors who got special access and taxpayer money for their failed ventures,” Williams said. “It hasn’t worked as well for the 23 million Americans struggling for work in the worst economic recovery our country has ever had.”

Solyndra first applied for a Department of Energy grant under the George W. Bush administration, but it was shelved two weeks before Obama took office because the company's fundamentals were in question. The Obama administration fast-tracked the massive loan in 2010, then touted the now-bankrupt company up as an example of a success story from the taxpayer-funder stimulus.

The Solyndra loan was so central to this strategy that the administration initially planned to have Obama personally announce it, and later sent the president to the company's solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California to celebrate its work, according to a previous ABC News report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul162012

Romney: GOP Is Not 'Party of the Rich'

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages(JACKSON, Miss.) -- At a fundraiser at a country club in Mississippi Monday evening that was expected to raise a record-breaking $1.7 million, Mitt Romney defended the Republican Party against its reputation as the “party of the rich” explaining that really, it is a party focused on helping the poor.

“We’re accused, by the way -- in our party -- of being the party of the rich,” Romney said. “And it’s an awful moniker, because that’s just not true. We’re the party of people who want to get rich. And we’re also the party of people who want to care to help people from getting poor. We want to help the poor."

“We also want to make sure people don’t have to become poor,” Romney said. “And we know what it takes to keep people from becoming poor.”

This was Romney’s second fundraiser of the day, his first in Louisiana raising at least $2 million, bringing the campaign’s estimated tally for the day to $3.7 million.

Romney himself seemed taken aback by the night’s success, which a campaign aide said a finance analyst had determined was the single largest political fundraising event in Mississippi’s history.

“This is a real gathering. I can’t believe the success tonight as I heard how much you have raised and I appreciate that very, very much -- it means a great deal for me,” he said. “I know you’re not doing it for me, or even for my party, you’re doing it for the country.”

At his first fundraiser of the day, Romney told the guests -- who each had to have contributed $50,000 to the campaign to attend -- that it was likely the “most expensive lunch” they’ve ever had. At the event in Mississippi, Romney gave a nod to those handing out refreshments to the group as an example of people who are struggling in the Obama economy.

“I know that people in this room are probably doing relatively well, relative to folks across this country. But not everyone in America is doing so well right now, it’s tough being middle class in America right now,” Romney said. “The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they’re not having a good year."

“The people of the middle class of America are really struggling. And they’re struggling, I think, in a way because they’re surprised, because when they voted for Barack Obama, he promised them that things were going to get a heck a lot of better,” Romney said. “He promised hope and change and they’re still waiting.”

During the primary election, Romney was criticized for a remark in which he suggested he wasn’t as worried about the very poor as he is about other struggling Americans.

“I’m in this race because I care about Americans,” Romney told CNN in February, on the morning after winning the Florida primary. “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”

Romney tried to explain his remarks, saying, “I’ve said throughout the campaign my focus, my concern, my energy is going to be devoted to helping middle income people, all right?"

“We have a safety net for the poor in, and if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that,” he said. “And if there are people that are falling through the cracks, I want to fix that. Wealthy people are doing fine. But my focus in the campaign is on middle income people. Of course I’m concerned about all Americans -- poor, wealthy, middle class -- but the focus of my effort will be on middle income families who I think have been most hurt by the Obama economy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul092012

Romney Campaign Reports Raising Record-Breaking $106.1M in June

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Romney campaign announced on Monday that it raised $106.1 million in June, marking its best fundraising month to date.

The money was raised by three entities: Romney for President, Romney Victory and the Republican National Committee.

The campaign also reported having $160 million on hand at the end of the month.

Last month's loot far exceeds that of May, when the campaign raised more than $76 million, out-raising the Obama campaign effort by $16 million.  The Obama campaign has yet to release its own fundraising numbers for June.

Romney Victory National Finance Chairman Spencer Zwick said in a statement, “This month’s fundraising is a statement from voters that they want a change of direction in Washington.  Voters of all stripes -- Republicans, Independents, and Democrats -- have made it clear that President Obama has not lived up to the promises of his last campaign."
 
“Our June fundraising is a sign that voters are fed up with President Obama’s failure to fix our economy and want a change of direction,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  “While President Obama thinks that the private sector is ‘doing fine,’ millions of Americans are struggling to find work, pay their bills and stay in their homes."

Romney spent a significant amount of time fundraising in June, including two fundraisers in Michigan on June 20 that Zwick said at the time were the most successful fundraisers to date.  They are expected to take in a combined $8 million.

A two-day swing in Texas in June was also expected to be highly lucrative, as was a similar swing in Southern California.

The Romney campaign also noted that of the $106 million raised, $22.3 million was raised by donations of under $250 -- about 94 percent of all donations.

Contributions were made from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun262012

Obama Warns Against ‘Scary Voices’ in Political Ads

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(MIAMI) -- President Obama Tuesday night warned Florida voters to be skeptical of the “scary voices” in political ads that will flood the state ahead of November’s election, and focus instead on the content of the candidates’ economic plans.

“They’ll say the economy is bad and it’s all my fault. That will be their message,” Obama said of Republicans.

“They’ll say well he can’t fix it because he thinks government is the answer, or he can’t fix it because he didn’t make a lot of money in the private sector, or he’s in over his head, or he thinks everybody’s doing just fine."

“That’s what the scary voices in the ads will be saying,” Obama explained. “That’s what Mr. Romney will say, that’s what Republicans in Congress will say, and since you’re in a battleground state you’ll hear this a lot.”

The president urged his audience to approach the November election not as a referendum on his record but as a choice of two starkly contrasting economic visions with high-stakes for the future. His critics, like

Presumtive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney says Obama himself promised to turn the economy around, and drop unemployment, and he's had enough time to do so since taking office.  In a speech earlier this month, Gov. Romney said, "We have waited, and waited, and waited for the recovery, and enough time has passed for us to pronounce judgment on the president’s economic policies. They have failed. They have not worked."

Obama sought to deflect the crticism by saying Tuesday night, "I understand it's a theory to win an election; it's sure not a plan to create jobs. It’s not a plan to grow our economy, it’s not a plan to restore the American dream. So ultimately the question for all of you is how much are you willing to fight for this?"

The president made the remarks at his seventh and final campaign fundraiser of a two-day swing that took him through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida. An estimated 1,500 supporters crammed the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach to see Obama up close; tickets started at $100.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun252012

What Romney’s Donors Heard at This Weekend’s Utah Retreat

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(PARK CITY, Utah) -- Mitt Romney’s donors attended a golf outing on Sunday at the Red Ledges Gold Club in Heber, Utah, but the excitement was really what went on Friday and Saturday at the events and panels.

Romney’s top donors were treated to panels on specialized policy topics, such as healthcare or the financial services industry, heard speeches from stars of the Republican Party, such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and were granted access to the presidential candidate’s senior advisors for information about the inner workings of the campaign.

All events were closed to reporters, but ABC News has the rundown of some of what these donors were privileged to hear.

James Baker

One of the first discussions Friday was a lecture from former Secretary of State James Baker III.  Rodger Young, a donor from Michigan and New York, described the speech as “positive” in tone and although he said Baker did say the country was in “significant trouble” because of the nation’s “debt burden,” the state of the world “internationally … isn’t as bad as you think,” specifically pointing out that America has “still by far the strongest military.”

Baker scolded the Obama administration for “ignoring any type of bipartisanship,” according to Young.

Mitt and Ann Romney Greet Attendees

Friday evening, donors were treated to a lavish reception at Park City’s Olympic Park.  Attendees watched Olympic hopefuls perform on the ski jump, which was used in the 2002 Olympics, but they also heard from the Romney couple.

Two donors from New Jersey who attended the reception said their highlight was Ann Romney’s speech, when she introduced her family and roasted her sons, four of whom attended.  On Saturday, Sen. John Thune said Ann Romney’s speech was “funny” and called Mitt Romney’s address “inspirational” in tone that went beyond just thanking the fundraisers, adding that the presumptive GOP nominee described how he wants to lead the country.

Larry Conti, a plus-one attendee from Los Angeles, said Romney mentioned the Brookings Institution study, often cited by Rick Santorum during the primaries.  Romney spoke about this study in his speech to the annual Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.  The study found that marriage, education, and employment all play important roles in keeping people out of poverty.

McCain’s Morning Address

To kick off Saturday morning, Sen. John McCain addressed the donors.  Young told ABC News that McCain spoke about Iran, saying that “Iran is so much closer to nuclear weaponry than they were at the commencement of the Barack Obama term.”  McCain, who ran against President Obama in 2008, also discussed the “perceived weakness of the United States” in the world.

Innovation in America Panel


Attendees were then treated to a panel moderated by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said the president “needs a lot of help in terms of understanding the private sector,” according to Young.  Two other vice presidential contenders, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and South Dakota Sen. John Thune, also sat on the panel along with Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, who discussed the “necessity to get people to graduate from our technical colleges.”  Billionaire financier and Home Depot founder Ken Langone also spoke, and according to Conti, relayed a message for the current administration: “Leave us alone and let us hire people.”  Conti said Langone told the audience with today’s “regulations,” he would not be able to start Home Depot.

Media Insight Panel

Karl Rove, founder of American Crossroads and a former Bush strategist, was also on hand.  He spoke on a “media insight” panel and on another one examining Romney’s path to victory.  Rove, dressed in a blue blazer, told reporters his panel was “damn good,” before whizzing away on a golf cart.

Attendees said the panel was engaging and humorous, with Rove swearing up a storm and regaling the crowd with funny stories.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz told reporters both Rove and GOP strategist Mary Matalin were making the crowd howl, telling them about when Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a friend with bird-shot pellets on a hunting trip.

“He was on full display,” Chaffetz said of Rove.

It wasn’t all joking, though.  According to Young and his wife, Rove said, “We had to focus on some particular groups, such as some Republicans that didn’t vote in the last election,” including focusing on women.  It’s unclear whether Rove was also soliciting donations as he mingled with attendees over the weekend.

Campaign Debrief

Donors didn't just listen to the top leaders and thinkers of the Republican Party.  They also received a briefing by the Romney senior staff, including campaign manager Matt Rhoades, senior strategist Stuart Stevens, and longtime adviser Beth Myers, who is heading up the vice presidential selection process.  They described the campaign’s “10 a.m. meeting,” according to Chaffetz, who attended.

“I think people were fascinated by that,” Chaffetz said.  “They spent a good half hour showing them how they would do that, and what they would talk about and how they review the numbers and talk about messaging and develop that into a cohesive message that’s not only earned media but also paid media and other types of things.  That was really different than I think that most people thought.”

Chaffetz added that they went through “the analysis of what’s going on in the media, looking at polling, looking at all the different facets.”

Condoleezza Rice’s Show-Stealing Lunch

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was very well received, with almost every donor saying her speech was the highlight of the weekend.  She spoke with no notes and received a sustained standing ovation when she was done, according to several attendees.

Charles Cobb, who served as ambassador to Iceland from 1989 to 1992, said Rice was “spectacular” and described her as a “very bright, sophisticated, articulate lady.”

Husband-and-wife donors from Los Angeles who did not want to be identified said Rice’s message was one of “America needing to take charge.”

“We can’t stand by and let things happen,” the wife said.  “If we do, someone else will take that leadership role.”

They both described her address as an “impassioned plea” for the country to “stand up and take charge.”

Donor Kent Lucken, an international banker in Boston who moved back to his home state of Iowa for six weeks before the caucuses to help Romney, said “she rocked it.”

Jeb Bush Rounds Out the Night

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke at the final reception on Saturday, and as donors were leaving to go to private dinners at restaurants and residences around town, one fundraiser from Greenwich, Conn., said Bush told the crowd “the country was only growing at 2 percent when we could be growing at 4 percent.  If the country was growing at 4 percent we could add on another country the size of Germany to the United States.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun212012

Romney Scores Biggest Fundraising Day of Campaign in Michigan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(TROY, Mich.) -- Mitt Romney landed his biggest fundraising day to date on Wednesday after holding two fundraisers in Michigan.

“It’s hard to write a check to a politician, it’s harder to get a friend to do it.  You guys have done that, thank you,” Romney told attendees at a fundraiser at a Marriott hotel in Troy, Mich., Wednesday evening.  “To each person who is here this evening, you have helped us break records, and that’s not just important from the standpoint of breaking records, its important because we recognize whats at stake.  I realize this is not about me.  You’re not giving a check to me, you’re not giving a check to the Republican party.  You’re concerned about America.  This is about our country.”

“Michigan has been great.  Tonight, and today we will exceed every single event that has been held for Governor Romney from the beginning of the campaign,” John Rakolta Jr., National Finance Co-Chair, said as he introduced Romney.  “We have set a new record tonight in terms of fundraising.  Only probably to be beat later this summer, so I’ll come back and see you again in the fall.”

Finance committee chairman Spencer Zwick predicted the day’s total would range between $6 million and $8 million for the two finance events.

Romney attended the fundraisers in Grand Rapids and Troy, just one day after completing his five-day, six-state bus tour.

A campaign spokesman said more than 500 tickets were sold at the Troy fundraiser and more than 300 people were in the ballroom for the main reception.  Tickets started at $2,500 for the main reception, $10,000 for a photo opportunity and $50,000 for dinner.

In the New York area last month, Romney raised $15 million over the span of three days.  Over the weekend, Romney will hold a retreat in Park City, Utah, with top donors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

Romney's Utah Fundraisers Could Bring in $1 Million Each

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s a big money bonanza this weekend with the largest donors from the Romney campaign traveling to Utah for a three day retreat with the presumptive GOP nominee.

In the Deer Valley resort area of Park City, donors attending the “First National Romney Victory Leadership Retreat” will be briefed on the status of the campaign, what the next four and a half months will look like from a fundraising point of view, as well as break out into separate policy discussions on the topics of foreign policy, the economy, health care, and tax policy, according to two donors who will attend the retreat this weekend.  The event will also bring the donors from all over the country together for “team building” activities and of course to spend time with the candidate.

Reports from earlier this month describe the retreat as 300 of the biggest donors to the Romney campaign, but attendees say it could be as small as 100 of the top fundraisers.

Donors from the Wall Street and private equity worlds are expected to attend as well as longtime donors to the party. Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and co-chair of the national finance committee for Romney, is expected to attend. He often has a high profile role at fundraisers introducing the candidate. The top 100 in the group have been able to donate or bundle at least $150,000 for the campaign, but many are hoping to raise a much larger amount: $1 million.

“If you look at that 100 people, if that 100 people can raise a million dollar a piece and then they can get the people that they are raising the money from to go down the line and raise like a pyramid 50 (thousand dollars), 25 (thousand dollars),10 (thousand dollars), five (thousand dollars) you can get Gov. Romney to that 6 (hundred) or 700 million dollars he needs to articulate his ideas in our current political environment,” a member of Romney’s national finance team who will attend the retreat this weekend told ABC News.

Veepstakes contenders like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as well former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are attending.

Last month the Romney campaign out-raised their opponents bringing in $16 million dollars more than the Obama campaign. The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $76.8 million while the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee brought in $60 million.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun152012

Obamas End NY Night of Fundraisers with Performances at Plaza Hotel

Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama and the first lady concluded their night of campaign fundraisers in New York on Thursday at the Plaza Hotel with a $10,000-a-plate gala that featured performances by Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey.

Michelle Obama spoke first on stage in the elegantly-appointed ballroom before a blue curtain backdrop and a row of American flags.  Approximately 250 guests sat around a mix of square and round tables with linen table cloths, vases of white flowers and crystal bowls with floating candles.

Mrs. Obama, who has recently stepped up her appearances on the campaign trail, gave a sobering assessment of the presidential race against Mitt Romney, which she said was “just the beginning.”

“It’s going to require us to work like we never worked before,” she told the crowd.  “I know each of you has somebody in your lives today who doesn’t know what’s at stake.  Those are the kind of uncomfortable conversations that we need to have… You have to multiply yourselves.  For everyone here, you have to find 10, 20, 30, 50 people to be responsible for shaking them up and getting them engaged, convincing them of what’s at stake”

“I’m going to be out there.  I’m going to be out there as much as possible, with as much passion and as much conviction as this little body can muster up.  Because I completely believe in the man whom I’m about to introduce,” she said.

President Obama picked up where his wife left off, telling the crowd that he’s as determined as ever to fight to keep his job, while offering a sobering assessment of the challenges he faces.

Rehashing his message from Cleveland earlier that day, Obama said the economy is the “crux of this campaign” and the differences of vision between him and Romney could not be more stark.

The president said of Republicans that the “essence of their prescription” for economic growth is to cut taxes and cut government.  “Their analysis is that government is the problem and that if we just prune it back to a few basics like national security… we’ll grow faster,” he said.

“I don’t question their sincerity, but I do question their conception of how we grow America,” Obama said, later adding, “I understand the argument the other side’s making.  The problem is we tried it just a few years ago.  And it was exactly that theory that led to sluggish economic growth…”

Before taking questions from the audience, Obama started to discuss the impending TV ad wars, but caught himself and qualified his remarks.

“Over the next five months, you won’t be seeing a lot of ads because frankly Manhattan’s not a battleground state,” he said drawing laughter and applause.  “But out in those battleground states they will be seeing not just millions of dollars, but potentially over a billion of negative ads and the message will be very simple -- the economy isn’t where it needs to be and it is Obama’s fault”

Obama said it will be a close election but he believes he will win because “we are right.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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