Evan Vucci / AP
People line up for a fundraiser for Mitt Romney hosted by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, July 12, 2012 in Wilson, Wyo.
Updated 12:00 a.m. ET: WILSON, Wyo. -- Mitt Romney's campaign roped in more than $4 million in a single campaign stop here in Western Wyoming with a boost from one of the most controversial political figures of the last decade: former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cheney, who has not previously appeared with Romney on the campaign trail, was effusive in his praise for the presumptive GOP nominee, calling him the only man he would want at the helm in the event of another crisis like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“Sooner or later there is going to be a big surprise,” Cheney said. “Usually a very unpleasant one. Whether it’s 9-11 or the other kinds of difficulties or crises that arrive, they always do. That’s when you find out what kind of leader your president is.”
He continued: “When I think about the kind of individual I want in the Oval Office in that moment of crisis, who has to make those key decisions, some of them life and death decisions, some of them decisions as the commander-in-chief who has the responsibility of sending our young men and women into harm's way -- that man is Mitt Romney."
Romney returned Cheney's praise but did not mention Cheney's former boss, George W. Bush. However, Romney did praise the former president's "freedom agenda" at a private Q&A session afterward, which was overheard by reporters.
In his remarks, Romney also declined to engage in the ongoing battles over his tenure at Bain Capital, which claimed the political spotlight Thursday as Democrats highlighted reports that Romney remained in control of the company after he claimed to have left for the 2002 Olympics.
Romney did, however, pounce on comments made by President Obama today to CBS News.
Obama had said: "When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well, the mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."
"What was his answer as to his biggest mistake? Not telling stories to the American people about his vision. That was his biggest mistake. Oh really? Really?" Romney said incredulously. "Look, look he's out of touch, he's out of excuses, he's out of ideas and we've got to make sure in November we put him out of office."
Attendees, many dressed in their Western finest -- dark cowboy boots with suits -- dined on prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, potstickers and crostini, and sipped wine and Amstel Lights as they meandered about beneath a large white tent set up on the driving range. More than 500 donors were expected to attend Thursday night's event, with at least 250 planning to attend the night's $30,000 finale: a private dinner here at Cheney's residence on the golf course.