Oh my: Romney raises $10.25 million -- in a day

America’s got a fee-vah and the only prescription is … Mitt Romney?

The all-but-declared Republican presidential contender, who has kept his head low for much of the year as he collected cash, raised $10.25 million in a single day Monday after bringing together his network of wealthy donors to dial for dollars in a city with no shortage of them. It’s a hefty one-day total that Romney’s team hopes will show his strength in the emerging GOP field…

During his 2008 run for the GOP nomination, Romney used more than $40 million of his own money to pay for campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire. Victories there never materialized, and Romney ended up losing the nomination to McCain.

Romney launched that bid with a phone bank fundraiser in Boston in which 400 supporters and Romney raised more than $6.5 million. But while that event was open to reporters, Romney’s camp was much more guarded this time in Las Vegas. Aides refused to allow reporters into the phone bank room, and they wouldn’t say how much his second White House bid would cost.

Says John Podhoretz, “I remember when Romney raised $6.5 million in one day in 2007. That really worked.” His team claimed this morning that they expected to raise only $2-3 million, but those expectations were as genuine as GOP spin doctors last fall declaring that any net gain in the House over, oh, say, 20 seats would be a big deal. The lower the bar is set, the more impressive the high-hurdling seems. The thing is, Romney doesn’t need to flex his muscles with this; everyone understands that fundraising is his big strength, thanks to a stable of wealthy donors. And doing it via the same sort of event he held four years ago only invites the sort of comparison made by J-Pod about his chances.

I guess he figured that after months of bad press on the right about RomneyCare and how his frontrunner status is paper thin, it was time to force the media to say something positive. Meanwhile, though, with Huckabee now out and Iowa suddenly in play, there’s pressure on him to get in the race there and prove that he can win even in social-con strongholds — and a big fundraising day like this only increases that pressure. If he’s lapping the field on money, there’s less of an excuse him for not to compete, which means ironically that by trying to set the bar low this morning for his fundraising haul, he’s inadvertently now set it higher for states like Iowa and South Carolina where he’ll have a tough time winning.