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Mitt Romney celebrates clinching 1,144 delegates: 'It is a great honor'

May 29, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Supporters of Mitt Romney at a campaign rally Tuesday at Somers Furniture in Las Vegas.
Supporters of Mitt Romney at a campaign rally Tuesday at Somers Furniture… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

LAS VEGAS -- Mitt Romney celebrated clinching the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday night, telling donors that he was honored to cross the 1,144 delegate threshold, but he predicted a long battle through the fall.

“This was a big day, by the way -- 1,144, we finally got there,” Romney told donors who had raised as much as $250,000 to attend the fundraiser with Donald Trump at a hotel just off the Las Vegas strip. “It is a great honor.”

Romney acknowledged the drawn-out fight, which took much longer for him to secure than many expected.

“I know the road to 1,144 was long and hard, but I also know the road to 11/06, Nov. 6, is also going to be long, it’s going to be hard,” he said, in remarks that could be heard by reporters in the hotel lobby. “It’s going to be worth it because we’re going to take back the White House and get America working again.”

This fundraiser and a second one at an undisclosed location were expected to raise as much as $2 million, and had been the focal point of the political world on Tuesday, because of Trump. The real estate mogul and reality television host has for months continued to push disproven theories that President Obama was not born in the United States,  as recently as Tuesday afternoon in an interview with CNN. Pundits of both parties have argued that Romney was tarnishing himself by appearing alongside Trump.

Romney, who has consistently said he believes the president was born in Hawaii, thanked Trump for “twisting” arms to raise money for his campaign. “I appreciate your help,” he said.

Trump made no mention of his controversial beliefs when he introduced Romney, instead congratulating him for clinching the nomination and saying he endorsed the former Massachusetts governor because of shared beliefs on issues such as OPEC and China.

“They look at us. They think we’re stupid,” Trump said. “When he’s president, they will no longer think we’re stupid.”

seema.mehta@latimes.com

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