Romney motorcade passes protest in Minnetonka Beach
MINNETONKA BEACH, Minn. -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney collected roughly $1 million dollars from Twin Cities donors Thursday at two private events near Lake Minnetonka in the Twin Cities.
The Romney campaign reported selling 350 tickets to a fundraiser at the Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach, where minimum admission was $2,500.
Television and still cameras were not allowed inside the event, but according to a report from a designated media pool reporter Romney told donors, "This is a campaign about the soul of America."
Couples that donated $10,000 were able to get a photo with the former Massachusetts governor. Those who pledged $50,000 had dinner with Romney at the Shorewood home of Marty Davis, the owner of the counter top company known as Cambria.
"I want to keep this country the shining city on a hill, the strong and vibrant nation that has inspired the nation and people all over the globe," Romney said. "I need your help to have that happen."
Protests and Endorsements
A variety of protesters greeted the Romney motorcade as it turned into the private drive leading to the Lafayette Club. They ranged from teachers union members, to welfare rights advocates to employees of companies that had been purchased by Bain Capital, Romney's former company.
"I wanted to be here because I really feel strongly about education," proteseter Michelle Shaw, a 5th grade teacher in the Edina Public Schools, told KARE.
"I want a president who is going to be passionate about education too."
Shaw said she was also concerned about tax laws that encourage companies to move production overseas. She held a sign that read, "Stop rewarding companies for outsourcing American jobs!"
John Bradley, a U.S. Bank employee wearing a Ronald Reagan tee-shirt, rode past the protesters on his bicycle and shook his head. He stopped to offer KARE an alternative take on the protest.
"These protesters want those of us who have been successful in life to pay more taxes, but they don't pay any taxes," Bradley asserted.
"So it's kind of unfair representation in government, when they get as much representation as we do, when they don't pay taxes."
Earlier in the day, State Rep. Kurt Bills, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, announced he was throwing his support to Romney. He said conservatives of all stripes are rediscovering their conservative roots, which should work in Romney's favor.
Rep. Bills originally endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul in the presidential sweepstakes, and Bills won the endorsement at a state GOP convention that was controlled in large part by Ron Paul backers.
Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak held a pre-emptive news conference, accusing Romney insolating himself by appearing only before sympathethic audiences.
"Mitt Romney has been a candidate, and would be a president, who'd lock himself in rooms with the ultra rich, give them big tax breaks, and not listen to the voices of all of America," Mayor Rybak told reporters.
"And I think the good news is people get that about Mitt Romney."
State Fair Visit?
Romney spent Thursday night in the Twin Cities, leaving open the possibility that he could stop by the Minnesota State Fair on Friday. His campaign would only say there were no scheduled public events on his schedule.
In the past presidential candidates have not given any advanced public notice of their intentions to visit the fair, primarily for security reasons.
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