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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Romney Attends Two Fund-Raisers in the Hamptons


11:32 p.m. | Updated

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. - Mitt Romney refilled his campaign's coffers in the Hamptons, attending two fund-raisers on Friday evening.

After attending a finance reception at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, Mr. Romney appeared at the home of John A. Griffin, and his wife, Amy, in East Hampton.

Mr. Griffin, the founder of Blue Ridge Capital, a hedge fund, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr. Romney and his allies this election cycle.

But four years ago, Mr. Griffin was one of President Obama's earliest supporters. In March 2007, just a month after Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, announced his presidential candidacy, Mr. Griffin donated $2,300 to his campaign.

In June 2007, he also gave $2,300 to Mr. Romney, who was running for the Republican nomination.

After Mr. Romney dropped out of the contest, Mr. Griffin ga ve the maximum $30,800 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Now, like many Wall Street donors who gave to Mr. Obama four years ago, Mr. Griffin is back in the Romney fold.

Since June 2011, he has given $125,000 to Restore Our Future, the “super PAC” backing Mr. Romney, and a couple thousand dollars to the candidate himself.

Through a publicist, Mr. Griffin declined to comment. His co-host at Friday's dinner, Emil W. Henry, an assistant Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, is more vocal about his political views on Twitter.

Both men have close ties to Julian Robertson, the hedge fund pioneer who has given $1.25 million to Restore Our Future. Before starting Blue Ridge Capital, Mr. Griffin worked at Mr. Robertson's Tiger Management, and Mr. Henry co-founded Tiger Infrastructure Partners with Mr. Robertson.

This is Mr. Romney's second fund-raising tour of the Hamptons in just over a mont h; he held three events in the area on July 8, including a party at the home of David H. Koch that drew protesters.

The Obama campaign has sought to use the high-dollar Romney events to cast the Republicans as out of touch. But Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to raise money in Bridgehampton in late August, with James Taylor crooning gently in the background.

Mr. Romney's first event, apparently by chance, had a bit of a sports theme. It was held at the Sebonack Golf Club, whose owner gave introductory remarks, according to the pool report, and the owners of two professional football teams were on hand: Steve Ross of the Miami Dolphins and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets. (Mr. Johnson is a fixture at Mr. Romney's fund-raising receptions.)

Former Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato of New York was also among the 80 people there, according to the pool report, by Holly Bailey of Yahoo News.

Although both events were $25,000 a head, the menus were quite different. The pool report of the golf club event described upscale finger foods like duck samosas, pot stickers and deep-fried shrimp. On the other hand, dinner at the Griffins' consisted of barbecue, according to a contractor leaving the party.

In addition to his financial haul, Mr. Romney scored one of those most coveted Hamptons commodities: a friend's vacant house. The candidate will be spending the night at the Southampton home of Martin Gruss, a financier and campaign donor who is out of town, a campaign spokesman told the press pool.

Additional reporting contributed by Nicholas Confessore and Derek Willis.