Romney's London Fundraiser: Bad Optics, Good Cash

Romney also remains the frontrunner

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Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will hold a $2,500-per person fundraiser in London next month, the Boston Globe's Matt Viser reports. Romney's foreign fundraiser--at which he'll only accept money from American citizens or green card holders, as law requires and as the event invite makes sure to point out--is unprecedented this early in the campaign cycle. But he's not the first to raise cash abroad. The first guy to do that was Rudy Giuliani, who had a September 2007 fundraiser in London for his very unsuccessful campaign.

Romney's decision reflects "his current strategic focus of raising hordes of campaign cash rather than making the normally required appearances in VFW halls and small-town diners," Viser writes. Romney raised $10.25 million in a single day in May, and his supporters are creating a "super PAC" to raise money independent of his campaign. And this time around, Romney's skipping the Iowa Straw Poll, which he won in 2007, and giving the Iowa caucuses a light touch. For the past two years, the major story about the Republican Party has been the rise of its grassroots Tea Party activists, but both Romney and Jon Huntsman appear to feel free to ignore the phenomenon.

And so far, it's working. The New York Times' Nate Silver says Romney is the Republican frontrunner, with a 40 percent chance of winning the nomination.

Mr. Romney is perceived as having run a slow-and-steady campaign--but he's made the largest gains of any Republican candidate in the last two months, to an average of 26 percent of the vote in polls conducted in June from 18 percent in those conducted in April. Some of this is a result of other Republican candidates' dropping from the field. Yet while candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich have remained flat in polling, Mr. Romney has gained ground.

Silver would put Romney's chances even higher, at about 50-50, if it weren't for the health care overhaul Romney signed into law into Massachusetts, which was a model for President Obama's national health care law.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.