Romney first appeared at a Houston hotel luncheon hosted by the CEO of Exxon Mobil and L.E. Simmons, who previously funneled money into West Texas energy and currently serves as the Texas finance chairman for the former governor of Massachusetts, NBC News reported. Then, Romney headed westward, attending an event at the Petroleum Club of Midland and dinner at a private residence. NBC’s Garrett Haake wrote that Romney raised almost $7 million Tuesday alone, bringing his Texas campaign takeaways to $13.9 million and making it the second most lucrative fundraising state behind California this election season for the GOP candidate.
While in Midland, the former hometown of president George W. Bush, Romney lauded former first lady and Texan Barbara Bush before the crowd.
“I’ve met Barbara Bush a number of times. Is there any mom who’s had more impact than that woman? On her husband? On her sons?” Romney pondered aloud, according to CNN’s Political Unit.
Romney’s favorable words about Barbara and the Bush family shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The Bushes officially rallied behind the candidate earlier this year, perhaps in part because of the “courtesy visit” he paid to the elder Bushes last December. Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife endorsed Romney in March, and so did former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Then in May, Dubya backed Romney in an anti-climatic and somewhat elusive fashion, simply saying, “I’m for Mitt Romney” to a reporter behind closing elevator doors.
But the real connection between the two families goes back to the GOP battles of the mid-’60s. George Romney and George Bush were two leaders of the centrist wing of the party during the Goldwater insurgency. They courageously backed civil-rights legislation when many conservatives opposed its passage. They represented the best of the greatest generation and weathered the Watergate era with George H.W. Bush serving as Republican National Committee chairman during the late Nixon administration, while George Romney served in the Nixon cabinet. As a tribute to George Romney, Brigham Young University encapsulated “a liberal in his treatment of fellow humans; a conservative in his treatment of other people’s money.” Both men provoked intense love and loyalty on the part of their sons, who would try to follow in their footsteps after stints at Harvard Business School.
“Number one, take advantage of our energy resources. Oil, coal, gas, nuclear, renewables –- it’s all of the above, and in a serious way. And inexpensive, abundant energy will not only create energy jobs like you have here, but also manufacturing and other sectors that use energy will come back to America,” Romney said in his Midland speech.
A Dallas Morning News writer maintained that Democrats will use Romney’s West Texas visit to “tie him to Big Oil and high gas prices.” Tuesday afternoon the Democratic National Committee posted a video railing Romney’s involvement with oil companies. The Morning News reported:
“It’s member’s only,” says the narrator in a web video the Democratic National Committee is releasing this afternoon, “but Romney won’t have any trouble getting in. After all, Mitt Romney’s in the tank for Big Oil, protecting billions in taxpayer subsidies for oil companies.” The video blames the GOP presidential nominee for high prices at the pump, alleging that Romney would repeal laws that curb speculation and “forcing you to pay more for gas.” “If Mitt Romney thinks corporations are people, big oil companies are some of his best friends,” the video says.
The same day Romney’s camp fired back at the video with its own statement:
President Obama promised an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, but has delivered what even he admits is a ‘hodgepodge’ of ineffectiveness. President Obama’s policies have hampered energy production and blocked job creation -– and energy prices, as he promised, have soared. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on boondoggles like Solyndra, Mitt Romney will promote a balanced energy policy that harnesses our domestic resources, promotes energy security, and helps create jobs across America.