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    Surprises among the speakers for Romney retreat

    Mitt Romney
    Spencer Platt/Pool/EPA
    Mitt Romney’s four-day event, which was first revealed last month, is called “Experts and Enthusiasts.”

    WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney announced on Tuesday a series of high-profile speakers who will address a retreat that the former Republican presidential nominee is putting together in June.

    The list of speakers includes some surprising names, including David Axelrod, one the masterminds behind President Obama’s campaign to defeat Romney last year. At various points during the campaign, Axelrod accused Romney of being secretive, dishonest, and “living on a different planet.”

    In the announcement, which was included in an e-mail to supporters that was obtained by the Globe, Romney says speakers will also include his former running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, as well as Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who chaired a bipartisan debt-reduction commission.


    The list also includes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was derided by some Romney supporters after he effusively praised Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy in the final stretch of the presidential campaign.

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    Another name on the list is Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was an aggressive campaigner for Obama and was chairman of the Democratic National Convention. Villaraigosa recently raised eyebrows when he had kind words for Romney and said they had been speaking on the phone.

    Romney also lists Axelrod’s wife, Susan. The pair are the founding chairs of CURE, an organization helping search for a cure to epilepsy.

    Romney’s four-day event, which was first revealed last month, is called “Experts and Enthusiasts.” It will be held in Park City, Utah, the same place Romney held a major donor retreat last summer. Romney emphasized the bipartisan lineup. “As I indicated in your invitation, I have drawn speakers from government and business to identify key opportunities ahead,” Romney writes. “And I have made sure to invite presenters from both sides of the aisle.”

    The other speakers listed are Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute; Meg Whitman, chief executive of Hewlett-Packard; Scott McNealy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems; and Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen.


    Romney enclosed a registration form, and noted that the fee covers a portion of the cost of the program and is not a political contribution. The attendance fee was previously reported to be $5,000. Asked how widely the e-mail was distributed, a source close to Romney would only say it went to “an intimate group.”

    “Ann and I highly value your support and friendship,” Romney writes in closing. “We sure look forward to seeing you in Park City.”

    “Best wishes, Mitt.”

    Matt Viser

    Army warns of steeper reductions in troop numbers

    WASHINGTON — Senior Army officials warned Tuesday that they may have to cut more than 100,000 additional soldiers over the next decade unless automatic spending reductions forcing the military services to slash their budgets are stopped.

    Testifying before a Senate committee, Army Secretary John McHugh said the losses would undermine the service’s ability to be prepared for wartime missions. ‘‘Today we find our Army at a dangerous crossroads,’’ McHugh said.


    The Army has already planned to trim its ranks from a wartime footing of 570,000 soldiers to 490,000 due to previously planned budget reductions approved by Congress in 2011, according to McHugh.

    But if the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, are extended into future years, tens of thousands more soldiers, including members of the Army National Guard and Reserve, will have to be let go due to a lack of money, he said.

    General Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 100,000 is the minimum number and the additional reductions could be even greater.

    Sequestration went into effect March 1. Overall, the Defense Department is required to cut nearly $42 billion by the end of September. If no action is taken to reverse sequestration, the cuts will continue into future years. The Army’s share of the automatic cuts over the next six months is $7.6 billion.

    In addition to sequestration, the military also has to absorb a $487 billion reduction in defense spending over the next 10 years mandated by the Budget Control Act passed in 2011.

    Fewer soldiers won’t translate into cost savings because the departing troops will have to be paid separation benefits, Odierno said.

    ‘‘If we cut another 100,000 out, we put into question our ability to respond to large scale contingencies,’’ Odierno said.

    Associated Press