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Former Romney Supporters Have Ideas for America

In June, Mitt Romney—former presidential candidate and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which church is sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—gathered some 200 big-money donors to his 2012 campaign for a private retreat in Park City, Utah. But they weren’t there to plan another presidential bid for the former Massachusetts governor. Instead, they were there to talk about America. Josh Romney, one of two of Mitt Romney’s sons who live in Utah, said:

We didn’t really talk about the party or how the party’s going to improve. It’s really a focus on the country, what we need to do as a country to remain competitive and strong. [1]

Many of the participants were also investors in Solamere, a private equity firm founded by Romney’s son Tagg. Speakers at the event, which was titled “Experts and Enthusiasts,” included President Obama’s top campaign strategist David Axelrod and his wife, Susan, as well as potential 2016 Republican White House contenders New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was Romney’s running mate. [1]

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt—who was also on the campaign trail with Mitt Romney—said of the three potential GOP hopefuls:

They all did a good job. They were all very effective and interesting. . . . They were, I’m sure, interested to come and have a chance to meet people, and I think that was all accomplished. [2]

Issues Facing America

America Good Great ADParticipants, who paid $5,000 apiece to attend the conference at Deer Valley’s posh Stein Erikson Lodge,  were asked to rank a list of issues that should be national priorities, including family values, immigration, health care, global warming, and corporate competitiveness, Josh Romney said.  [1]

Speakers also addressed some of these issues. Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo. and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erksine Bowles pitched their budget reduction plan. [2]

On the topic of immigration, Josh Romney said his father, along with Meg Whitman (president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a former gubernatorial candidate in California), discussed the need for an increased number of visas for foreign workers with highly specialized technical skills. [1]

Leavitt also spoke at the event. He talked about the “Readiness Project,” which was the team he led that was ready to help Romney transition to the presidency if he won the election. He also discussed health care issues as current head of a health care consulting firm. Leavitt said:

It was a group of highly interested people and it gave them an opportunity to hear from a group of people who have unique experiences and/or points of view, [on the] problems our country wrestles with. [2]

 Not Just Politics

Not everything at the event focused on America or politics. David and Susan Axelrod spoke about the group they founded to help fight epilepsy. [2] Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, spoke about happiness and how it relates to free enterprise. And supermodel Cindy Crawford, one of the celebrity guests, led participants on an early-morning hike, taking advantage of the beautiful mountain setting. [1]

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