WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney jumped into the debate over the GOP's future Tuesday night, warning congressional Republicans against forcing a government shutdown in their quest to stop President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Romney addressed more than 200 donors on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party, staged just four miles from the vacation home where he has spent much of the summer with his family. The event was closed to the media, but his office released his prepared remarks.

Romney, 66, warned congressional Republicans against letting emotions drive their decisions.

"I badly want Obamacare to go away, and stripping it of funds has appeal. But we need to exercise great care about any talk of shutting down government," Romney said in the first speech of its kind since his November election loss to Obama. "What would come next when soldiers aren't paid, when seniors fear for their Medicare and Social Security, and when the FBI is off duty?"

He continued: "I'm afraid that in the final analysis, Obamacare would get its funding, our party would suffer in the next elections, and the people of the nation would not be happy. I think there are better ways to remove Obamacare."

Romney did not criticize anyone by name, but he dismissed the very strategy employed by some of his party's biggest names – potential 2016 presidential candidates among them. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are urging Republicans to swear off voting for any year-end spending bill that includes money for the president's health care law. Parts of the federal government would shut down on Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't approve a short-term funding bill before then.

Several Republicans on Capitol Hill have attacked the plan to strip health care funding from the spending bill in unusually harsh language, although Romney has been silent on this – and virtually every other public debate – for much of the last nine months.

It's unclear what role the former Massachusetts governor hopes to play for the GOP. He has hinted at a desire to remain an active voice on major policy debates, and he maintains ties to a powerful national fundraising operation.

His presence at the New Hampshire GOP fundraiser Tuesday night helped raise tens of thousands of dollars, according to organizers, which is considered a large haul for a state party so long before the next election. Donors paid between $100 and $1,500 and traveled from as far as California to attend the event, which was held at a lakeside mansion used in 2007 as a vacation home for French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In his speech, Romney acknowledged that some Republicans may not care for his perspective given his recent loss.

"I'm probably not the first person you'd ask for advice," he said. "But because we all learn from our mistakes, I may have a thought or two of value."

He called on Republicans to "stay smart," in part, by backing candidates who can win. And as the pool of potential candidates for the 2016 presidential contest begins to grow, Romney suggested that most are not electable.

"My guess is that every one of the contenders would be better than whoever the Democrats put up," he said. "But there will only be one or perhaps two who actually could win the election in November."

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  • At A Basketball Game

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney are seen in attendance for the game of of the Boston Celtics against the Atlanta Hawks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

  • At A Bookstore

  • At A Wendy's

  • At The Beach

    Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks on the beach prior to the start of a touch football game on the beach with members of the Romney campaign staff versus some members of the traveling press corps on October 21, 2012 in Delray Beach, Florida. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • At A Gas Station

    U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney greets an employee as he visits a WaWa gas station in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, June 16, 2012. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)

  • At A Pizza Shop

    US Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney talks with Marci Miller (L) as he visits a Little Caesars pizza restaurant during a stop between campaign events in Cambridge, Ohio, August 14, 2012. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • At A Baseball Game

    BOSTON - APRIL 11, 2003: Gov. Mitt Romney tries to get a bite in the rain at his seat near the third base line, on what was going to be opening day - until the Red Sox were rained out. (Photo by Michele McDonald/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

  • At A Toy Store

  • At An Auto Racing Event

  • At A Bakery

  • On A Train

  • At A Boxing Match

    Former Republican presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney sit ringside before Manny Pacquiao takes on Juan Manuel Marquez in their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

  • In A Car

  • On A Tractor