Thursday, 4:30 PM
Romney: Patrick's inaugural speechwas 'fine and moving' on TV
By Scott Helman, Globe Staff, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Mitt Romney met with reporters outside his new presidential campaign headquarters in the North End today hours after his successor took office, and the former governor said he was impressed by Deval Patrick's inauguration speech.
"I thought the governor's address was fine and moving," said Romney, who watched the speech on television. "I'm delighted with his optimism and his hope to bring improvements to the Commonwealth. There's a lot that can be done to make our state even better, and I wish him the very best and hope he'll be highly successful in his years as governor."
The crowd outside the State House who watched Patrick take the oath included every former governor of the state who is still living except for Romney: Jane Swift, Paul Cellucci, William Weld, and Michael Dukakis.
Romney told the Associated Press: "My understanding is that the tradition in Massachusetts is that the outgoing governor does not attend the inauguration of the new governor. That's the way it was when I was sworn in, and my understanding is that's the case, and so I simply have followed tradition."
The one-term Republican governor filed papers with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday afternoon to establish a presidential exploratory committee, which allows him to raise and spend money for a potential run for the White House.
Romney's exploratory committee today announced the first group of national fundraising chairs to help him build his presidential campaign. The list includes Meg Whitman, President and CEO of eBay; Christopher Collins, a managing member of First Atlantic Capital; and Jon Huntsman Sr., chairman of the Huntsman Corporation in Utah.
"I am proud to have the support of these outstanding leaders," Romney said in a statement. "Together, they represent some of the best of America's entrepreneurial innovation and civic engagement. Their work will help provide the resources needed to continue our discussion with the American people about the solutions to a new generation of challenges."
The release noted that six of the chairs were major donors to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney who were dubbed "rangers" for raising $200,000 or "pioneers" for raising $100,000 for the 2004 re-election campaign.
The other chairs announced today were: Mark Guzzetta, president of Gemstone Development, in Florida; John Miller, a founding member of National Beef Packing Company in Kansas City, Mo.; John Rakolta, Jr., chairman and CEO of Walbridge Aldinger in Michigan; Mel Sembler, chairman of the board of The Sembler Company and former ambassador to Italy; Tom Tellefsen, president of Tellefsen Investments in California; and Ted Welch, owner of Ted Welch Investments in Tennessee.