-By Arlette Saenz and Shushannah Walshe
June 24, 2012- Mitt Romney’s donors attended a golf outing today at the Red Ledges Gold Club in Heber, Utah, but the excitement was really what went on Friday and Saturday at the events and panels. Romney’s top donors were treated to panels on specialized policy topics, such as healthcare or the financial services industry, heard speeches from stars of the Republican Party, such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and were granted access to the presidential candidate’s senior advisors for information about the inner workings of the campaign. All events were closed to reporters, but ABC News has the rundown of some of what these donors were privileged to hear.
One of the first discussions Friday was a lecture from former Secretary of State James Baker III. Rodger Young, a donor from Michigan and New York, described the speech as “positive” in tone and although he said Baker did say the country was in “significant trouble” because of the nation’s “debt burden,” the state of the world “internationally … isn’t as bad as you think,” specifically pointing out that America has “still by far the strongest military.”
Baker scolded the Obama administration for “ignoring any type of bi-partisanship,” according to Young.
Mitt and Ann Romney Greet Attendees
Friday evening, donors were treated to a lavish reception at Park City’s Olympic Park. Attendees watched Olympic hopefuls perform on the ski jump, which was used in the 2002 Olympics, but they also heard from the Romney couple.
Two donors from New Jersey who attended the reception said their highlight was Ann Romney’s speech, when she introduced her family and roasted her sons, four of whom attended. Saturday, Sen. John Thune said Ann Romney’s speech was “funny” and called Mitt Romney’s address “inspirational” in tone that went beyond just thanking the fundraisers, adding that the presumptive GOP nominee described how he wants to lead the country.
Larry Conti, a plus-one attendee from Los Angeles, said Romney mentioned the Brookings Institution study, often cited by Rick Santorum during the primaries. Romney spoke about this study in his speech to the annual Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The study found that marriage, education, and employment all play important roles in keeping people out of poverty.
McCain’s Morning Address
To kick off Saturday morning, Sen. John McCain addressed the donors. Young told ABC News that McCain spoke about Iran, saying that “Iran is so much closer to nuclear weaponry than they were at the commencement of the Barack Obama term.” McCain, who ran against President Obama in 2008, also discussed the “perceived weakness of the United States” in the world.