-- Former Vice President Dick Cheney told a group of Republican donors Thursday that Mitt Romney is the "only man" qualified to lead the country through a potential crisis like the 9/11 attacks.
Speaking at the first of two fundraisers he hosted for Romney near Jackson Hole, Wyo., Cheney praised Romney as the only candidate in the race who can handle "the kind of challenges a president has to deal with."
"There is always, sooner or later, a crisis, totally unanticipated. You can't plan on it, you don't know what it's going to be, but if you go through the campaigns and study the history books and talk to all the experts, sooner or later there's going to be a big surprise, usually an unpleasant one," Cheney said, citing the memory of the 9/11 attacks. "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, decisions as the commander in chief, who has the responsibility for sending our young men and women in harm's way. That man's Mitt Romney."
Romney, who took the stage after Cheney, praised the former vice president as a "great American leader" who dedicated his life to public service.
"He went back to Washington and served year after year after year--and not always in ways that achieved a lot of visibility. And at times when he achieved visibility, (it was) sometimes not the visibility he wanted, but in each case, put his country foremost in his life," Romney said, according to a pool report. "And to do that and to bring up a family in that something is something which I respect and admire."
Romney made no mention of Cheney's ex-boss, former President George W. Bush—whom Romney has distanced himself from during the campaign. Romney and Cheney spoke to donors who paid between $1,000 and $10,000 to hear the men speak at a local country club. Individuals who contributed $30,000 were invited to a private dinner at Cheney's Wyoming home. The two events were expected to bring in at least $4 million for the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.