Protests greet Romney in Portland

Republican presidential candidate's private-sector record assailed



PORTLAND — Dozens of demonstrators greeted Mitt Romney in Portland on Monday, as the presumptive Republican nominee raised money for his presidential campaign.

Romney did not make a public appearance during his brief stay in Oregon, his third fundraising stop here in the past year.

A small crowd of Romney critics waved signs and chanted outside the Governor Hotel, and a handful briefly blocked traffic. In a morning news conference, Democrats criticized Romney’s record at a private equity firm and as Massachusetts governor.

Police were out in force and kept demonstrators far from the hotel entrances, but a spokesman said there were no arrests.

Demonstrations included activists from Planned Parenthood, Occupy Portland, unions and the Democratic Party. They echoed the message of President Barack Obama’s campaign, saying Romney was successful in the private sector by maximizing profits for investors at the expense of regular workers.

“He’s made his fortune putting working people out on the street,” said Ben Nelson, 35, a member of the Laborers’ International Union. “We’re going to stand up against that whenever we need to.”

Romney has argued that his work in the private sector makes him most qualified to improve the economy.

With a victory in the Texas primary last week, Romney all but clinched the Republican nomination. He easily won Oregon’s Republican primary May 15.

Obama won Oregon in 2008 by more than 15 points.

“I was kind of surprised that there weren’t more protesters

outside,” said Oregon Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley. “I thought that kind of lacked a little bit of energy and maybe shows some signs of an improving climate for Mitt Romney in Oregon.”

Romney was also raising funds Monday in the Seattle area and gave Spokane Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers a leadership role in his campaign.

State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur told The Seattle Times the fundraiser would be at a private home in the Bellevue area but the campaign was keeping details secret. An earlier “save the date” invitation described the event as a $2,500-per-person reception with a VIP reception and photo opportunity for $10,000.

Romney last visited Washington in March for a private fundraiser and a campaign rally in Bellevue.

Romney also announced Monday that McMorris Rodgers would lead his campaign team in the U.S. House. McMorris Rodgers, now in her fourth term in Congress, also co-chairs the Romney campaign in Washington.