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Top Romney donors gather for exclusive NYC retreat


BOSTON -- Top contributors and advisers to Mitt Romney's campaign huddled Monday for their second major retreat since Romney secured the GOP nomination, a gathering intended to energize and engage donors and spur donations in the campaign's final stretch.

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Some of the Romney campaign's biggest benefactors from across the country will meet at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel for the two-day confab, the highlight of which is a gala reception and dinner with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan aboard the USS Intrepid on the Hudson River this evening. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and reality TV star/real estate mogul Donald Trump are also special guests.

Andrew Burton / Reuters

Former New York Mayor Rudolph "Rudy" Giuliani speaks at a protest organized against the presence of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 26, 2012.

The Romney campaign hopes this retreat will replicate the success of a larger one it organized in June, when hundreds of donors who had given at least $50,000 were invited to attend a set of briefings with the GOP high command in Utah.

To attend this week's affair, according to one top donor who plans to attend, invitees had to raise $250,000 -- a higher, and thus, more exclusive threshold.

A copy of the event's schedule, posted on the website of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan group which advocates for greater government transparency, shows Tuesday's calendar is filled with meetings with campaign strategists and business leaders.

In the morning, a panel of Romney's top campaign advisers and strategists -- including political director Rich Beeson and pollster Neil Newhouse -- will brief donors on the campaign's strategy and the state of the race.

Later, a second morning session focusing on jobs will feature speakers whose names will sound familiar to anyone who's listened to Romney's stump speech: Jimmy John's sandwich chain founder Jimmy John Liautaud will join energy mogul Harold Hamm on a panel with other business leaders to discuss issues surrounding job creation - still the primary focus of the Romney campaign.

In the only overt fundraising effort to take place at the retreat, donors will join campaign finance chairman Spencer Zwick after those sessions for an event the schedule calls "Make the Difference," and which the Wall Street Journal reports will focus on making calls to reach out for more donations.

The final event on the calendar for most donors will be a debate watch party at the historic Roseland Ballroom on Tuesday night, which will include an appearance by comedian Dennis Miller. Earlier this week, Miller tweeted in anticipation: "I hope Obama comes out just like Biden did. Please."