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Romney Gives Rousing Call to Arms at GOP Dinner

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, widely viewed as a top contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, likened Republicans to the revolutionaries of 1776 in a political call to arms issued to Senators and high-dollar Republican donors at Wednesday’s National Republican Senatorial Committee spring fundraising dinner.

In his keynote address to GOP Senators and some 400 donors at the Newseum just off Capitol Hill, Romney said Democratic leaders in Washington are using the nation’s financial crisis “to advance their philosophy of the supremacy of the government.” He pointed to the “card check” bill as a key example of Democrats’ desire to put power in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of the individual.

“We recognize that it is the power of the individual that has made America what it is,” Romney said of the Republican party, noting that the nation is at a key moment in history.

Romney, a frequent presence on the Republican fundraising circuit in recent months, has remained coy about his 2012 plans. But it’s no secret that he’s working hard to maintain the close ties that earned him more endorsements by GOP lawmakers than any other candidate by the time he dropped out of the 2008 presidential primary race.

In January, Romney was a keynote speaker at the GOP retreat at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., and Wednesday’s event was expected to bring in some $2 million for the NRSC.

While his purpose was clearly to rally the Republican base in the wake of another down election cycle for the party, Romney did take time to praise a few of President Barack Obama’s early policy moves.

He said he was glad Obama is taking a more aggressive stance against jihadists in Pakistan and that it’s a good thing Obama is now “speaking tough to the auto industry.” He also said he agreed with the president’s decision to protect America’s financial system.

Still, Romney’s message was clear Wednesday night.

“They are the party of government,” he said of the Democrats. “We are the party of the people. ... We are the party that will keep America the land of opportunity.”

NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said after the speech that Republicans were in need of Romney’s call to arms.

“I really feel sort of a shift in attitude,” Cornyn said. “One from pessimism … to one of hope for 2010.”

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