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Romney fortune near $250 million

WASHINGTON -- A new financial report from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shows that his personal fortune remains near $250 million, about the same as last year even after a mass sell-off of stocks from his vast investment portfolio.

Romney's campaign said Friday that his assets ranged between $190 million and $250 million, and a tally by the Associated Press put the figure at the high end of that range.

The new financial report from Romney describes sales over the past year of a large amount of stocks that had been managed through his blind trust. The stocks sold included such familiar corporate entities as Boeing, Volkswagen and Pepsico.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul stressed Friday that the investment decisions for Romney and his wife, Ann, were made under a blind trust administered by a Boston-based lawyer who has long worked with Romney.

"Governor and Mrs. Romney's assets are managed on a blind basis," Saul said. "They do not control the investment of these assets, which are under the control and overall management of a trustee."

The new financial disclosure shows that even after his stock sales, Romney still made millions of dollars over the past year in lucrative bank notes and investment funds, including nearly 40 different funds associated with his former company, Bain Capital.

Romney defended his record Friday at Bain, the private equity firm he co-founded.

Romney said 80 percent of the businesses Bain invested in grew during the company's ownership, while 5 percent went bankrupt.

"I understand the president and his team will focus all their energy on the 5 percent. I'd like to focus on my energy on the 80 percent," Romney said. "I think Bain Capital has a good and solid record. I was happy to see President Clinton made a similar statement today and called my record superb."

Former President Bill Clinton said Thursday that Romney, also a former governor of Massachusetts, had "a good business career" at Bain.

"The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold," Clinton said on CNN.

Romney also reported owning as much as $500,000 in gold -- a holding similar to what he owned last year. He also reported $260,000 in stock retainer distributions from the Marriott Corp., where he served on the board of directors until early 2011. Romney's father, George Romney, was close to the Marriott family, and the firm's current chairman, J.W. "Bill" Marriott is a prominent fund-raiser and has donated $500,000 to a pro-Romney political committee.

Romney made $190,000 in speaker's fees for speeches at Emory University, Barclay's Bank, the International Franchise Assn. and the Intercontinental Real Estate Fund.

He also received as much as $100,000 from proceeds from his book, "No Apology."

Among the stocks that Romney sold, according to Friday's disclosure, included Walmart's Mexican operations, and British Sky Broadcasting.

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