Romney rallies troops for $6bn battle
Mitt Romney spent the weekend with 700 of his closest political friends -- the men and women who are raising millions of dollars for his campaign.
The unprecedented scale of the gathering at a lavish retreat in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, underscored how money will dominate the coming US presidential election.
Nicknamed Romneypalooza, fundraisers from the worlds of business and finance came to mingle with party elders, campaign strategists and with the candidate himself.
The event triggered a new round of betting in the so-called "Veepstakes", since it showcased several of the politicians being vetted as potential vice-presidential candidates. The current front-runner, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, was there.
Invitations went out to donors who have given $50,000 (€40,000) or who are planning to bundle together contributions of $250,000 (€200,000) or more from their associates.
Many were thrilled at the chance to get close to members of Mr Romney's inner circle and to debate strategy with the likes of Karl Rove, President George W Bush's chief strategist. A rousing speech by Condoleezza Rice, in which she urged the US to reassert its leadership role on the world stage, won a rapturous reception.
For Mr Romney, who founded the private equity firm Bain Capital, the event was an assertion of perhaps his key qualification for the Republican nomination, which he won against grumbling from the right: namely, a career built on his fundraising prowess.
Mr Romney built Bain into a financial powerhouse in part by being able to raise money from a wide range of investors.
The 2012 election season, which includes votes for all the seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate, is forecast to cost upwards of $6bn (€4.75bn), at least 20pc more than four years ago, and it could be even higher thanks to the creation of "SuperPACs", political action committees that can spend without limit on adverts, provided their activities are not co-ordinated with the candidate's staff. (© Independent News Service)