Charles Dharapak / Associated Press (marzuhpd20120922205358/600 )
Mitt Romney took in $6 million Saturday night at a Beverly Hills fundraiser, he said, as his backers tried to quell concern about the rocky road the Republican nominee has faced in his presidential bid in recent days.
Tom Tellefsen, a major bundler and chairman of the candidate’s California Finance Committee, tried to reassure donors as he introduced Romney to about 1,500 people who paid up to $50,000 to see the candidate speak at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
"At this moment I know you are probably feeling a bit worried, frustrated, even angry as you watch President Obama, the mainstream media and the pundits attack Mitt with distortions and inaccuracies," Tellefsen said. "So I wanted to share some thoughts with you tonight. They can provide you some comfort. Polls are not elections. The voters have not yet spoken."
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Tellefsen was referring to the travails Romney has faced in recent days, notably a secretly recorded video that shows him making controversial remarks about nearly half the nation’s population, and polls that show him losing ground in battleground states.
But financially, Romney has been doing well, as national finance chairman Spencer Zwick noted. The campaign has raised more than $500 million, he said, including nearly $25 million from the Los Angeles area. Romney also had big-dollar events in Del Mar and Hillsborough on this California fundraising swing.
Romney’s wife, Ann, was in attendance, and the candidate spoke of the concern he had for her when her plane had to make an emergency landing Friday en route to Santa Monica because of an electrical malfunction.
“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”
The crowd also heard from comedian Dennis Miller and musician and record producer David Foster, portions of the evening that were closed to reporters but acknowledged by the Romneys.
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“I want to thank Dennis Miller for not just the humor, but the truth in the humor,” Romney said. “Much of what he said tonight, much of what he said was very encouraging and uplifting.”
No visit to California by a Republican candidate could be complete without a nod to the state’s liberal bent.
“I know in some of the communities around this particular hotel it’s hard to let people know you’re conservative without them looking at you funny," Romney said, before noting that he had lunch with “a very famous actor — very famous. Very liberal. I won’t tell you his name or he’d shoot me… He pulled me aside, he said, ‘In this town, you really can’t get work unless you’re known as a liberal,’ and he said, ‘But no one knows how I really vote.’ And there are a lot of people that feel that way.”