Friday, March 28, 2008

It remains to be seen whether John McCain will put ex-rival Mitt Romney's financial know-how to use by picking him as his running mate. But yesterday, McCain did the most to milk another of Romney's primary attributes -- his access to deep pockets in Rocky Mountain country.

Romney joined McCain at a fundraiser in Salt Lake City yesterday and is set to accompany him to another fundraiser in Denver this evening. It is familiar territory for Romney, whose family has roots in Utah and who lived there for several years. Romney raised $6.3 million in Utah, more than from his home state of Massachusetts and second only to his haul from California, during his bid for the GOP nomination.

McCain, by contrast, has raised only about $200,000 from the state. As a result, a vast population of Republican donors in the state is nowhere near to tapping out its allowed $4,600 maximum donation to McCain. The pair's spin through the Mountain West is notable given the palpable disdain that existed between them during the primary.

Now, Romney is hinting that he wouldn't mind joining a McCain ticket. And McCain is lagging so badly in the fundraising department -- raising $11 million last month to Barack Obama's $55 million -- that getting the Romney imprimatur in the mile-high elite is more important than nursing the grudges of recent history.

-- Alec MacGillis

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