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From the San Francisco Chronicle

With Democrats portraying Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch millionaire and "vulture capitalist" from his years at Bain Capital, the GOP presidential candidate may be handing opponents some ammunition when he holds a fundraiser Wednesday at a 65,000-square-foot estate that's opulent, even for upscale Hillsborough.

The exclusive location of the 95-room Carolands Chateau, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and tickets running as high as $50,000 apiece aren't the only reasons Romney's political foes are stirred up.

The former Massachusetts governor's fundraiser is co-chaired by billionaire Meg Whitman, his former employee at Bain Capital and the 2010 Republican candidate for California governor who promised to produce 2 million new jobs if elected. Now Whitman is CEO of Hewlett-Packard, which said last week it plans to lay off 25,000 workers.

Well, if Meg learned only one thing under the guidance of Mitt the Mentor, it’s that if you’re going to promise something, promise big. Later on, it you fall short, you can always blame it on externalities. Nobody’s going to remember what you said in a campaign speech. Nobody except the millions of viewers on YouTube, anyway. And what can they do about it? Absolutely nothing!

Meg must surely be having some mixed feelings about laying off all those Hewlett-Packard folks. Mixed feelings like pride in having the stomach to tackle tough problems in cold-blooded Romneyesque style, and regret that, if only these workers could have been laid off sooner, she have brought them on to help with the catering at this swanky soiree.

That would have been so much more economical than hiring the regular crew, and what a fantastic opportunity for these newly unemployed to mingle with “job creators”! Not to get them jobs, of course, that would be laughable, but it would give all those little people something to aspire to! Talk about a lost opportunity. Well, maybe another time. We can always lay off more people if we have to.

Mitt, for his part, waxes nostalgic over his one-time employee and heaven help us, protégé:

"I wish Californians had elected Meg Whitman. She would have been more successful and explained to Californians the need to cut back on spending and eliminate unnecessary programs," Romney said in the interview. "There are other states that have very different records. I think it's interesting that the state with the highest - or among the highest - tax rates in the nation also has the worst or near the worst deficit."
Yes, that’s what we need, Mitt. Someone to gloss over the problems in economic terms, so we can quickly turn around the situation. No need delving into the root causes, or trying to understand the nuances of inter-state job poaching by people like Rick Perry.

When it comes to being the explainer-in-chief, who’s better than a businessman like you? Or someone like your new BFF, The Donald, who's only declared bankruptcy a handful of times as his bloated real estate schemes crashed and burned?

Talk about "what might have been". How awesome would it be if Meg had been elected, so you could call upon your little protégé to “deliver” California for you. Now all she can do is serve as the hostess for your deep-pocket donor event, where for the price of a ticket, the attendees could have each bought themselves a nice car elevator.

Wade Randlett, a leading Obama fundraiser, calls Romney's Hillsborough event a "Richie Rich"-style blowout. He said the choice of venue for Wednesday's fundraiser - and endorsers who include Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina - underscore the Republican candidate's biggest weaknesses as he hits California.

"What Romney's business was, and what he's promoting, is the Gordon Gekko capitalism of the 1980s," Randlett said, referring to the fictional villain in the 1987 film "Wall Street." "It's 'I make money. I'm here to dismember companies.' "

Oh, quit whining. You're just suffering from "wealth envy". You guys would all do this in a heartbeat if you could fund it like Mitt does: with Other People's Money.


Democrats are also raising eyebrows at a "ladies luncheon" that Ann Romney, the candidate's wife, is hosting Wednesday at the Palo Alto home of Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers and his wife, Elaine.

But Harmeet Dhillon, who heads the San Francisco Republican Party, said Ann Romney is a "great strength" for her husband's campaign, adding that the luncheon will be a well-deserved toast to Republican women who have been the "worker bees" of GOP grassroots campaigning in California.

I’ve got news for you. The women who get invited to this sort of “ladies luncheon” are not the “worker bees”. They’re the queen bees, the sort of ladies who have “people” that deal with the grassroots of political activism, while they attend fundraisers where the ticket costs more than your car... or your car elevator. The worker bees don't get invited to rub shoulders with Willard Mitt Romney; they get nice jewel-encrusted flag pins.
Republicans also say Democrats are applying a double standard to Whitman and her efforts to lead HP. Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution fellow, said that as political operatives attack Whitman, businesspeople "will tell you she is trying to move the company forward and make difficult decisions."
Yeah. Cut the little lady some slack here. It's not easy deciding how many tens of thousands of your people to throw under the bus.
Grassroots activists are making light of Romney's decision to hold his fundraiser at the Hillsborough estate - which once was dubbed the "haunted mansion on the hill" after a Carolands security guard was convicted of beating and stabbing two teenage girls there in 1985, one fatally.
No doubt that security guard was fired by their employer, and we won't have to worry about anything dreadful happening this time around.

At this elegant gala event, the only victim will be the truth, which will be quietly strangled and buried out back in the gardenia beds while the band plays on and the guests share their reminiscences about employees they've fired, companies they've pillaged, and millions they've amassed.

Originally posted to cassandracarolina's fossil record on Tue May 29, 2012 at 09:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.


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