LAS VEGAS – Mitt Romney raised $10.25 million from his National Call Day here today, far exceeding the haul he brought in from a similar fund-raising day in Boston four years ago.
With around 720 supporters placing calls around the country throughout the day, he sought to put on full display one of the most important attributes for his emerging campaign: raising money.
Supporters -- gathered in a conference room at the Las Vegas Convention Center that Romney aides happily noted was the size of two football fields -- began gathering to make calls at 5:30 a.m., asking contributors to give the maximum to his campaign.
Former Olympic speed-skaters Dan Jansen and Derek Parra were on hand, and model Cindy Crawford was featured in the demonstration video teaching volunteers how to use the fund-raising software, dubbed ComMitt.
“It’s only $2,500,” one fund-raiser was overheard saying on his cellphone. “I wish I could ask for more.”
The National Call Day was similar to a daylong fund-raising event Romney held in Boston during his last campaign, which his staff said drew about 400 people and brought in $6.5 million in actual contributions and signed pledges.
That event, held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, was meant to highlight his home state, with the Fenway Park anthem “Dirty Water” blaring from the loudspeakers after he spoke.
This time, the event was held 2,700 miles away, and designed to show how import Nevada will be to Romney’s campaign this time. The state is set to be third in line, behind Iowa and New Hampshire, and Romney has placed nearly as much early emphasis on Nevada as he has on New Hampshire.
“I think he’s incredibly well positioned,” said Meg Whitman, the former eBay chief executive who ran unsuccessfully for governor of California last year and has been a close adviser to Romney. “Nevada is a crucial state for ultimately Mitt Romney to win the nomination. He will be here a lot… it’s absolutely essential.”
Romney today also held a “town hall” meeting on Facebook, where he appeared live from the fund-raiser and selected five questions to answer. Not surprisingly, almost all of them had to do with economic concerns, the area Romney has focused on tightly.
“Our president, likable as he is, has done all the wrong things to turn the economy around,” Romney said. “Government has to be a partner with the economy, not a foe or a competitor with the entrepreneur and the businessperson.”
Romney also criticized the financial reform legislation passed by Congress last year and spearheaded by Representative Barney Frank, of Newton. He called it a “massive burden” and said “it make it harder” for businesses to prepare for future investments.
“Washington passed this big Dodd-Frank bill…that has literally thousands of pages of regulations,” Romney said. “Because the banking industry is so frightened, they’ve held back” on making investment.
He also said he would cut the deficit, largely by focusing on discretionary spending cuts and reforms to entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Romney has yet to outline in-depth what types of reforms that would entail.
But he also pledged not to cut the defense budget, saying any spending viewed as wasteful would be redirected to military programs.
He closed by thanking the 900,000 followers who had become his friend through Facebook, and then requested that they consider making a donation.
“You’ll even get airline miles for it,” he said.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.