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Romney Raises $10.3 Million in Single Day

Romney Raises $10.3 Million in Single Day

By Erin McPike - May 17, 2011

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pulled in an eye-popping $10.3 million during a national fundraising effort Monday that he described as the kick-off to his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

The event was staged at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the site was no accident: Nevada is key to Romney's early primary state strategy. Nearly 800 participants dialed for dollars all day and hauled in nearly $4 million more than when his campaign staged a similar event four years earlier.

Romney has been scarce on the campaign trail in recent months as he's focused heavily on fundraising for his front-running bid. He recently took a 15-city tour of the country, touting his campaign strengths to potential donors, so he was expected to perform well Monday.

Leading the money-grabbing charge a second time is Spencer Zwick, a fundraising guru who headed Romney's finance efforts in 2008. Zwick, 32, recently went into business with Romney's eldest son, Tagg, as they launched Solamere Capital in Lexington, Mass., the site of Romney's PAC offices.

Zwick headlined a fundraising call to supporters at midday Monday, which Romney joined, but the moment was somewhat overshadowed by Donald Trump's announcement that he wouldn't seek the Republican nomination for president.

Later in the day, Romney addressed his backers in a video chat uploaded to Facebook, answering five friendly questions from supporters.

Ultimately, the event was designed to show Romney's strength as the favorite for the nomination by demonstrating his organizational prowess. He told supporters that they would be hearing a lot more from him starting now, and that this event would finally "get the ball rolling" for his campaign.

He urged supporters to make donations on Monday, joking, "You'll even get airline miles for it."

Romney also pushed his essential message: that he would make a better steward of the economy than President Obama.

He said during the video chat that people often ask him why he thinks he can beat Obama, given how personable and likable the president is, and he responded, "The answer is that the economy is not his strong suit."

Romney asserted that Obama instead chose to focus on his own agenda, including health care reform, Wall Street reform, card check, and cap and trade, even though the latter two issues never got very far.

Romney hewed closely to his economic message, and noted that despite the need to cut spending, he was not in favor of trimming defense, a message he's stuck to for the last four years.

 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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