* Seeks input from Texas energy executives
* Raises more than $6 million
* Romney tweaks Obama over campaign cash advantage
By Steve Holland
MIDLAND, Texas, Aug 21 Republican U.S.
presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped oil executives for
nearly $7 million on Tuesday and told them he will lay out a
comprehensive energy proposal this week aimed at increasing U.S.
energy production and creating jobs.
On a day of fund-raising in Texas, Romney got whoops of
approval from contributors in the West Texas oil town of Midland
when he vowed to take advantage of "oil, gas, nuclear and
renewables" if elected president on Nov. 6.
Midland is where former President George W. Bush grew up,
and Romney's motorcade passed a road sign pointing toward the
"George W. Bush Childhood Home." Romney went to the Petroleum
Club to address his contributors and was introduced by former
Bush Commerce Secretary Don Evans.
If Romney is inaugurated president next January, said Evans,
other nations will look at the United States and say, "We can
once again trust America."
Romney's energy speech will seek to return his presidential
campaign to the more familiar ground of how to boost the
sluggish U.S. economy after the race was dominated for more than
a week by a Medicare proposal from his vice presidential running
mate, congressman Paul Ryan.
The former Massachusetts governor praised Ryan and could not
resist a jibe at Vice President Joe Biden, who last week drew
the ire of Romney by telling a crowd in former slave state
Virginia that the Republican would loosen bank regulations and
"put y'all back in chains."
On a day that an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll said Ryan gave
no significant overall bump to the Republican ticket, Romney
said of his running mate: "I can't wait to watch him debate Joe
Biden. Joe Biden has been the gift that keeps on giving."
Biden and Ryan will face off in a lone vice presidential
debate in October.
Romney raised more than $3 million at events in Houston and
Midland for a total of close to $7 million for the day.
He unveiled his plans for an energy speech at a Houston
hotel to a crowd that included energy executives such as Harold
Hamm, a billionaire Oklahoma oil baron, and Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex
Tillerson. He told them he wanted to seek their advice on his
energy proposals that he will lay out in New Mexico on Thursday.
"Your input is something I wanted to retain before we
actually cross the Ts and dot the Is on those policies," he
Romney has made increasing energy production a key part of
his plan to rebuild the U.S. economy and has been sharply
critical of what he calls Obama's over-reliance on renewable
energy like wind and solar.
Romney has said he would ease regulations to allow more
offshore oil drilling and increased production of natural gas,
and he would support coal mining as well, with the goal of
making the United States less dependent on foreign sources of
He said he would also allow construction of the Keystone XL
pipeline from Canada to Texas that has been delayed by the Obama
"We will be, I believe before the end of this week, in New
Mexico describing a comprehensive energy plan, particularly as
it relates to fossil-based fuels," Romney said.
In Midland, Romney adapted his stump speech to take account
of the Bush family, praising former first lady Barbara Bush,
wife of former President George H.W. Bush and mother of George
W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
"Is there any mom who's had more impact than that woman? On
her husband? On her sons? I mean she -- just the energy and the
commitment and the conviction and the strength of character she
has," he said.
Romney has struggled to attract the support of more women
voters, and on Tuesday called on U.S. Representative Todd Akin
to resign his nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri for
making controversial remarks about rape.
Akin, however, vowed to stay in the contest against
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, indicating he represents a
conservative movement that must be heard.