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Faux billionaires protest Romney fundraiser in Newport Beach

June 1, 2012 | 10:07 pm

Protesters outside a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Newport Beach

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped in Newport Beach on Friday as part of a fundraising tour through California. The private event at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, with an entrance fee starting at $1,000, was met by both supporters and detractors of the former Massachusetts governor.

In spite of Newport’s status as a conservative stronghold, the five or so Romney supporters were in the minority of the demonstrators present, according to the Daily Pilot. More than 40 others, including a group of faux billionaires -- women in evening attire and men in suits who dubbed themselves "Billionaires for Romney" -- poked fun at the Republican’s wealth and those attending his fundraiser.

"Tax our poor," chanted the group.

One of the candidate’s supporters, Bill Edwards, who said he’s a family friend of the Romneys, stood alongside his 12-year-old daughter, Lauren, with a sign that read, “2012 Romney respects the Constitution.”

The Newport Beach resident and business owner said Lauren made the sign.

"I think he'll be a very good president," Edwards said. "He loves America and we can trust him. We need someone who's not in training. There's no more time for an audition."

Farther up Coast Highway were Obama supporters with signs calling Romney a liar who’s bad for the 99% -- a term widely popularized by Occupy Wall Street movement to symbolize the country’s economic majority.

"Tea party" members were also among the demonstrators. They chanted, "No tea for Romney" and called on him to "represent the people."

-- Mona Shadia, Times Community News


Photo: Christian Larsen, center, and Charles Cha, far right, protest outside of Mitt Romney's fundraising event Friday evening in Newport Beach. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times