Mitt Romney's weekend away with 700 close friends (who happen to be rich)

Running-mate hopefuls jostle for position at lavish event ahead of $6bn election

New York

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 – at a lavish retreat in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, underscoring how money will dominate the coming US presidential election like no other.

The unprecedented scale of the gathering earned it the nickname Romneypalooza, where 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. His appointment could help Mr Romney win that crucial swing state. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was also speaking. Invitations went out to donors who have given $50,000 or who are planning to bundle together contributions of $250,000 or more from their associates.

Many 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, and former Secretary of State James Baker. A rousing speech by Condoleezza Rice, in which she urged the US to reassert a muscular 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.

Democrats seized on sightings of a Bain Capital jet at a nearby airport, suggesting that members of Mr Romney's old firm were helping at the event. Mr Romney built Bain into a financial powerhouse in part by being able to raise money from a wide range of investors. There were other reminders of that prowess, notably the skiers in the mountains above the retreat, where the 2002 Winter Olympics were hosted after Mr Romney was brought in to rescue them.

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, at least 20 per cent 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.

The distinction looked moot in Utah over the weekend. Mr Rove, who took part in a panel discussion, runs a Romney-supporting SuperPAC, while Charlie Spies, founder of the most powerful SuperPAC, Restore Our Future, was spotted collaring donors in a hotel lobby.

Obama's men in london answer his call

Barack Obama is looking overseas for contributions to his re-election campaign, including tapping up wealthy Americans living in London. Josh Berger, the head of Warner Bros in the UK, who holds dual American and British citizenship and was appointed a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours, is among those who have promised to bundle together $500,000 in campaign contributions for the President. Another is Anthony Gardner, a Clinton-era official who is now a London-based executive at the private equity firm Palamon Capital Partners.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower