NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is back in the Tri-state area Wednesday looking to raise some big bucks for his campaign.
The former Massachusetts governor appeared at a fundraising luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan Wednesday afternoon and will later attend a $2,500-a-ticket fundraiser at the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa in the evening.
In New York, several hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters greeted Romney harshly, walking around the Waldorf=Astoria behind a black urn they said represented "job cremation.''
They assert that the Republican presidential hopeful made a fortune as a consultant cutting jobs at struggling companies.
College professor Stewart Leonard held up a sign that read "Will Work for Caviar," poking fun at Romney's position that he would create more jobs. Protesters chanted that the wealthy candidate "is the 1 percent," and they say money being raised for him comes from privileged Americans -- not the other 99 percent.
An Occupy Wall Street banner spread out on a Park Avenue sidewalk read: "Romney: 100 percent Out of Touch.''
WCBS 880's Peter Haskell On The Story In Midtown Manhattan
Supporters at the Waldorf=Astoria on Wednesday, however, say Romney spoke about the size of government, tax policy, and energy. Speaking of which, they say he seemed energized.
Despite the third place finish as an Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, New York Jets and Romney supporter Woody Johnson feels the candidate is on his way.
"This is an accumulation of delegates and we're more than double what anybody else has," he told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell.
Fmr. New York U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato sees Romney as the obvious choice for Republicans.
"I believe he has the best chance of winning. I think his experience in the business community will equip him to deal with our economic crisis and we have an economic crisis," he said.
Donors paid $1,000 and up for lunch. With Rick Santorum and Newt Gingirch still fighting, money is critical.
But in Conn., Romney has the backing of a number of prominent Republicans, including GOP leaders in the state House and Senate. His last appearances in Fairfield County were in June at fundraisers in Greenwich and New Canaan.
WCBS 880's Peter Haskell: NJ Voters Weigh In In Poll
The Fairleigh Dickinson-PublicMind Poll released Wednesday shows Obama's lead is between 13 and 27 percentage points over leading GOP candidates.
More New Jersey voters also approve of Obama's job performance than in January. The latest measure shows 51 percent approve of his performance, compared with 42 percent who disapprove.
Some New Jersey voters say they support Romney because he's the "best of the bunch."
"Santorum is okay but I don't think he's strong enough," said one voter. "Gingrich is a bit of a joke to me, honestly."
But others say there are compelling reasons to go with Romney.
"I think that he has the best chance to win in a national election against President Obama," said one man.
The telephone poll of 800 registered voters was conducted from March 5-11. It has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
To date, Romney has won 52 percent of the primary and caucus delegates, while Santorum has won 28 percent and Gingrich has won 14 percent.
Primaries for New York and Conn. are on April 24 while New Jersey's primary is June 5.
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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