Romney reaches halfway point toward $800 million fundraising goal

Mitt Romney has reached the halfway mark in filling his $800 million campaign war chest, a leading fundraiser for the campaign said on Thursday.

Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets, said the campaign's joint committee had raised nearly $400 million, which was about half of its goal.

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"We’re about halfway through our fundraising, and so if you feel tired now, you gotta go take a couple vitamins because we’re gonna really have a strong push to the finish line," Johnson said at a fundraiser with Romney in Manhattan. "It’s a little bit like chopping wood. You look over at your pile and you can actually see how it looks.”

Romney supporter Emil Henry, a former official at the Treasury Department, also heralded the Romney fundraising machine.

"The governor is out raising a sitting president of the United States," Henry said to loud applause.

It would be a stunning blow to President Obama, who has a reputation for being a consummate fundraiser, if his GOP rival out-raises him.

The Romney campaign has brought in more cash than Obama for each of the last three months, including $25 million more than Team Obama in July. The president and Democrats still hold an overall advantage — having raised about $600 million since April 2011 — thanks to the Republican primary, which prevented Romney from accepting large-dollar donations early on and split donors among the GOP contenders.

The $800 million goal means that the Romney campaign believes it can beat the record-breaking $750 million haul by Obama during his 2008 run and that it's on track to continue the aggressive pace set since clinching the nomination.

Team Romney originally set the goal in April, according to a memo obtained at the time by The New York Times.

Some Democrats had predicted Romney's fundraising might dry up after an initial post-primary surge, but the presumptive GOP nominee has continued to bring in strong totals. Nor is the Obama campaign on pace to approach the $1 billion total some speculated he could raise prior to the election — though his campaign has consistently downplayed that figure.

Romney finance chairman Spencer Zwick told the crowd that the campaign had raised $5 million in the past couple of days, including $1.5 million at the Park Avenue breakfast event. More than 600 supporters were in attendance there at a cost of $2,500 per head — with a $10,000 donation earning guests a photo with the candidate.

“We’re not going to use the money on things that don’t matter, we’re going to use the money to win," Zwick said.

Romney also spoke at the fundraiser, criticizing Obama's stimulus program.

"The president is presiding over an America that is becoming weaker under his leadership," Romney said. "He does not know how to make this economy strong again."

Romney also spoke about his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his recent trip overseas. Romney said that he and the Israeli leader discussed economics and Netanyahu had found that the Israeli GDP was shrinking because of government interference.

"This is not time for another stimulus. This is a time to restore freedom: economic freedom, personal responsibility, to celebrate success, not to attack fellow Americans," Romney said.

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