by Tony Medley

I have been less than enthusiastic about the people running for the Republican presidential nomination this year. However, at the request of my friend, Rob Bonner, I attended Tuesday's fundraiser for Mitt Romney at the Century Plaza Hotel.

An hour before the dinner, which was scheduled for 7 PM, there was a VIP reception to meet Gov. Romney and have a picture taken. I got there early which is my wont, so was approximately fifth in line. As I was walking to the hotel from where I parked, Gov. Romney's motorcade was arriving at the hotel, so I knew that he would be there shortly.

The reception was scheduled to start at 6 PM, and he got there about 5 minutes later. The line was forming behind me and after I met the governor and had my picture taken there was a cocktail reception and people milled around until the 7 PM dinnertime. The line to meet him was still extremely long fully 45 min. after I had met him. I was told that they had over 500 reservations, but obviously not all those were in the VIP reception for which you had to make an additional donation. Even so, there must have been at least 200 people, maybe more, who were at the VIP reception.

When we got in the dining room, it was packed. Every table was taken. While you hear how left wing and Democrat–oriented Hollywood is, there were two, at least two, people from the Hollywood establishment present supporting Gov. Romney. Scott Baio, who was a star in the '70s sitcom Happy Days, and the '80s sitcom, Charles in Charge, made a short welcoming speech. And when Gov. Romney spoke, he acknowledged the presence of A-list director Jerry Bruckheimer at the head table.

Gov. Romney's wife spoke before the governor, and she is a very impressive person especially when one considers the illness she's battling. I don't know where Gov. Romney gets the energy to do what he does (this was his third event of the day, beginning with the breakfast and a luncheon in Orange County, and he was fresh and lively as he must have been when the day started), but how she goes on is truly remarkable.

Gov. Romney really surprised me with his speech. It was off-the-cuff, no notes or teleprompter or anything else to help him remember what he was going to say. But what was surprising was the charisma that has been absent from the televised debates. He is a very good speaker with a winning persona.

Rob got me to contribute to Rudy Giuliani's campaign four years ago, and I did so for two reasons. First was because he asked me. Second was because there was a good chance that if Rudy had been elected President, Rob would have been appointed Attorney General. I don't have any idea if Rob is that close to Gov. Romney (I do know that Rob had a personal meeting with him in Las Vegas), or if that is even a possibility, but several people at our table were discussing the possibility.

One of the things I have liked about Romney during this campaign is the way he has stiffed the mainstream media. In 2008 the Democrats all refused to appear on Fox News because they didn't have the courage to face tough questioning and knew that there would be little backlash. I'm glad that Romney is giving it back to them. He can be elected without pandering to CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN.

I came away much encouraged by Romney's candidacy. He has a grasp of the issues, is articulate, is smart, charismatic even, and I think he would annihilate Obama in a debate.

March 29, 2012