Mitt Romney held a major fundraiser on Wednesday night at Chateau Carolands in Hillsborough, Calif., described by the event's pool report as "one of the largest private homes in the nation." It was at the event that the Republican presidential nominee formally received the endorsement of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who praised him for, among other things, his recent speech on education policy reform.

As interesting as Rice's presence at the affair, however, was the absence of another noted individual. Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate in California, was expected to attend. She is a national finance co-chair for the Romney campaign, and the San Francisco Chronicle listed her as a co-chair of the event itself. But according to the pool report, Whitman did not appear at Chateau Carolands. As the Los Angeles Times reported, her absence is likely due to the fact that Hewlett-Packard just announced it would lay off 27,000 employees.

The Romney campaign did not return an email request for comment regarding Whitman's absence. But it stands to reason that the benefits of having Whitman at the event -- a bit more money and a more high-profile guest list -- were outweighed by the problematic optics.

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