CHART: The 19 Super PAC Donors Who Have Poured $47 Million Into The GOP Race

Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich’s political backer,  is on record as saying that the rich shouldn’t sway elections.

Am I missing something in that quote?

Think Progress

Once again this week, independent-expenditure-only “Super PACs” disclosed their donors for the month of January 2012. A ThinkProgress analysis of these new filings and previously available data reveals that 19 wealthy donors have already given a million dollars or more each, combining to funnel $46.75 million to Republican-allied Super PACs so far this cycle.

It comes as little surprise that this list is dominated by financial sector investors (8), energy and chemical producers (4), and real estate developers (3). All are white. Only one, the wife of casino tycoon Sheldon Edelson, is female. The Obama administration has backed financial sector consumer protections and environmental regulations unpopular with big Wall Street and big energy.

The 19 donors’ contributions accounted for about 53 percent of the $88.2 million combined receipts for those committees. Here are the 19:

Donor Donations Sector
Harold Simmons/Contran Corp. $14.1M Chemicals
Sheldon Adelson $5M Casinos and hotels
Miriam Adelson $5M Casinos and hotels
Bob Perry $3.5M Real Estate/Construction
Peter Thiel $2.6M Finance/Investment
Jon Huntsman Sr. $2.2M Chemicals
Jerry Perenchio Living Trust $2M Media
Julian Robertson $1.25M Finance/Investment
Robert B. Rowling $1.1M Energy
Edward Conard $1M Finance/Investment
Robert Mercer $1M Finance/Investment
John Paulson $1M Finance/Investment
Paul Singer $1M Finance/Investment
Foster Friess $1M Finance/Investment
Rooney Holdings Inc. $1M Real Estate/Construction
William Dore $1M Energy
Whiteco Industries $1M Real Estate/Construction
F8 LLC (Jeremy Blickenstaff) $1M Finance/Investment
Eli Publishing (Steve Lund) $1M Cosmetics

These donations went to Super PACs backing GOP hopefuls Newt Gingrich (Winning Our Future), Ron Paul (Endorse Liberty), Mitt Romney (Restore Our Future), Rick Santorum (Red, White & Blue), backing former candidates Jon Huntsman Jr. (Our Destiny), Rick Perry (Make Us Great Again), and Republican candidates in general (American Crossroads).

To equal just their Super PAC contributions, political campaigns would need to collect more than 18,000 checks for $5,000 — the individual limit. Republican strategist Christopher LaCivita told the New York Times that these super donors are “serious business tycoons.” And these serious business tycoons are seriously overwhelming the political system with their contributions.

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No Ticket to Ride: Jon Huntsman’s Out

Jon Huntsman - Caricature
Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

I see Jon Huntsman as a major GOP player for the GOP in 2016…

The Root

Jon Huntsman is out of the GOP presidential race, dwindling the options for moderate Republican-primary voters.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman has decided to end his presidential candidacy and will formally exit the race on Monday, according to two sources briefed on his thinking. He is expected to endorse former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

“This was his decision alone,” said one former adviser. “Alone.”

Huntsman had pledged to soldier on after a disappointing third place finish last week in New Hampshire’s primary. He insisted his showing amounted to a “ticket to ride” to South Carolina.

But, political reality seems to have hit Huntsman and his team over the last few days as polling in the Palmetto State, which will hold its primary on Jan. 21, showed him in single digits.

Source: the Washington Post. 

With few choices left for moderate Republicans besides voting for Mitt Romney or not at all, will this all but guarantee the former Massachusetts governor’s nomination — and boost President Obama’s chances in the general election? The truth is, it’s still early, and anything could happen to change the dynamic in this race.

Stephen Colbert’s ‘not-so-funny’ presidential announcement – The Week

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Week

The video: Stephen Colbert isn’t on the ballot in South Carolina. But a PPP surveythis week put his support in the Palmetto State’s Jan. 21 presidential primary at 5 percent — better than actual candidate Jon Huntsman. So on Thursday night’s show, Colbert asked his lawyer, Trevor Potter, if he could run for president and continue leading his successful super PAC, Citizens for Better Tomorrow Tomorrow. No, Potter said: Campaign law prohibits candidates from coordinating with super PACs. That inspired Colbert to hand over his super PAC to close friend and business partner Jon Stewart. Perfectly legal, Potter pronounced. Assured of a sympathetic super PAC, Colbert then announced that he was “forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for [his] possible candidacy for the president of the United States of South Carolina.” Cue celebratory balloon drop!

The reaction: This could “be more fun, and pointed, than just another vanity run,” says James Poniewozik at TIME. Colbert is effectively and informatively satirizing the absurdity of campaign rules that allow super PACs to accept unlimited contributions, which they use to prop up candidates. But that’s actually “not so funny,” says Peter Grier at The Christian Science Monitorgiven that Mitt Romney and Co. are as cozy with their super PACS as Colbert is with Stewart.

Mitt Romney: It Pains Me To Fire You

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Sure Gov. Romney…sure.

The Huffington Post

Mitt Romney said Saturday night that it pains him to fire workers in order to make a company more profitable, responding to criticism from Newt Gingrich, who cited a  New York Times story on one of Romney’s ventures.

“It always pains you if you have to be in a position of downsizing a business in order to make it more successful,” Romney said. “I’m not surprised to have the New York Times try to put free enterprise on trial…It’s a little surprising from my colleagues on this stage.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said that the laid-off workers are victims of the free market. “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful,” he said.

But Gingrich, the former House Speaker, questioned whether Romney’s private equity ventures were aimed at creating jobs or quick profit for capitalists.

Gingrich said he’s all for the free market, but “I’m not nearly enamored of a Wall Street model where you can go in and flip companies, have leveraged buyouts, basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers.”

He cited 1,700 fired workers in a New York Times story on one of Romney’s corporate raids.

“If it’s factually accurate, it raises questions,” he said.

Politico’s The week in one-liners: Paul, Palin, Stewart

The top quotes in politics …

“I’m not going to kiss his ring, and I’m not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy.” — Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on what he won’t do to please Donald Trump.

“I think that they are joke candidates.” — Donald Trump dissing Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman on the “Today” show.

“Thank you, Jesus.” — Comedian Jon Stewart reacting to news that Donald Trump wants to host a debate.

“Quit nitpicking at one another.” — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Foxtelling the 2012 GOP field how to act.

“I like to think of myself as the flavor of the decade.” — White House hopeful Ron Paul’s description of himself.

“Me, a womanizer?” — Former presidential candidate Herman Cain defending himself after dropping out of the race.

“It’s good to be back in Texas.” — President Barack Obama addressing a crowd in Kansas.

“Well, in my time, girls didn’t ask boys to prom.” — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on high school etiquette.

11 countries will be watching the GOP debate

Actually I cringe at the thought of so many people around the world watching the “gang of eight idiots” discussing foreign policy.  The one exception might be John Huntsman former U.S. Ambassador in China.

I wonder what kind of world do we live in where Huntsman is at the very bottom of the polls and has remained there throughout the start of the 2012 GOP campaign?  Everyone else has at some point been in the lead, except Rick Santorum (deservedly so) and Huntsman.


Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate will, at least in theory, require the candidates to explain their view of America’s role in the world. With its focus on national security and foreign policy, the CBS/National Journal debate will force the field to talk about something they’ve, for the most part, spent the campaign avoiding — a coherent vision for American foreign policy.

But with the economy overshadowing all else and most of the GOP field — aside from former Ambassador Jon Huntsman — bereft of significant experience in foreign affairs, expect frequent pivots back to jobs and the unemployment rate.

Those pressures aren’t the only forces driving the presidential candidates to look inward, rather than beyond American shores: The GOP itself is struggling to reconcile the views of the party’s hawkish wing with the more isolationist-oriented tea party wing.

Even within those confines, there are some nations and foreign policy issues that are likely to receive extended treatment in Saturday’s s debate in South Carolina. Here is POLITICO’s list of 11 countries to watch:

Italy and Greece

The deeply-in-debt Mediterranean nations are the epicenter of Europe’s financial problems and are used as cautionary tales by Republican candidates warning about the dangers of unchecked federal government spending.

Look for candidates to mention those nations, currently in the headlines as fiscal basket cases, as worst-case scenarios in the event America fails to reduce the nation’s ballooning deficit and reform entitlement spending.

Continue reading here…

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Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Huntsman, Leno, Perry


The top quotes in politics …

“When’s the delivery food coming?” — Republican White House hopeful Jon Huntsman making a cringe-worthy joke about China.

“It’s fun to poke at him a little bit.” — GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on bringing up the Obama birther debate.

“Right now a lawn gnome can beat Obama.” — Former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell knocking the president’s re-election odds.

“This election will not be as sexy as the first one.” — President Obama talkingabout 2012.

“Can I get you a teleprompter?” — Comedian Jay Leno joking with Obama before his “Tonight Show” interview.

“Can I send you a fleece?” — The subject line of an e-mail from Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s campaign.

“I’m not the kind of plumber who uses duct tape.” — Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher announcing his congressional run.

“He was drunk or stoned.” — Democratic strategist James Carville hypothesizing that Herman Cain’s adviser was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while taping this ad.

Jon Huntsman Slams Republican Candidates

Mario Piperni

Jon Huntsman was asked what he thought of the Republican debate in Vegas.

I was totally embarrassed- completely embarrassed by the lack of seriousness, the lack of focus on the issues that really matter to the American people- issues about reviving our economy and addressing joblessness were given short shrift. Our role in the world and securing our position of pre-eminence were given short-shrift. It was more game-show-like than anything else.

There are not a lot of positive things one can say about the GOP these days.  It’s 40 year descent into the slime pit of politics took an even more drastic turn to the extreme fringes with the election of Barack Obama.  But if there is hope that the party will one day emerge as a viable political force worthy of respect, that hope lies in the likes of people like Jon Huntsman.  It won’t be this year but should Republicans ever shake off the Tea Party nightmare, look for Huntsman to be a serious player in 2016.

Food For Thought

I’m sure many people have thought similarly about Herman Cain‘s stupidity and Jon Huntsman‘s experience as an envoy in China.  He speaks Chinese fluently and prior to being the US Ambassador in China, he was Governor of  Utah!

There are many reasons to choose this sensible candidate but we are not in a reasonable and rational world at this time.  Dana Milbank of the Washington Post spells it out nicely:

Dana Milbank:

The hottest candidate in the field is Herman Cain, a fast-food tycoon who never heard of neoconservatism, has never held office, has no foreign policy and a three-digit number for a domestic policy, and likes to joke about electrocuting illegal immigrants. By contrast, Jon Huntsman, governor, ambassador, the man who in a normal political environment would be the most qualified and formidable candidate in the race, wasn’t even on the stage.

A system that rejects a Jon Huntsman in favor of a Herman Cain isn’t a primary process. It is a primal scream.

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Politico: The GOP debate: 6 takeaways

For those who are interested in the results of last night’s debate…

Here are POLITICO’s six takeaways from Thursday’s slugfest in Orlando:

Rick Perry is not ready

For debating, anyway. Fortunately for him, there’s a brief lull where he can improve his game in time for the mid-October New Hampshire and Las Vegas face-offs.

But the concern for Perry after three weak debate performances – each one messier than the last – is that primary voters may soon start deciding he’s not ready for Barack Obama either.

Perry simply couldn’t get it done in his third outing on stage with the same rivals he’s faced before (and, for the first time, a giggly Gary Johnson).

Just like at the CNN/Tea Party Express debate – and before another Florida crowd that was prepared to welcome him – the Texas governor seemed ill-prepared, couldn’t land his punches, and he again sagged visibly toward the end, struggling even through a canned slap at Mitt Romney’s flip-flops.

His vague, tripping-across-Asia answer on a hypothetical question about getting the proverbial 3 A.M. call warning of a nuclear-armed Pakistani Taliban regime, won’t make anyone feel safer with him at the helm.

But his comments on immigration will be the ones that are most remembered. During a multi-candidate pile-on, Perry sounded a leftward tone when he suggested people who disagree with him on a particular pro-immigrant policy are lacking a “heart.”

He also stuck by his stand against a border fence, in an exchange in which former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got the better of him. And his one moment that came close to standing out in a good way – being “lobbied” on the HPV vaccine by a dying 31-year-old – turns out to have been inaccurate.

All of it will serve to harden questions about Perry’s durability. And it raises the stakes for how he performs at the Presidency Five straw poll in Florida on Saturday.

Mitt Romney found an answer to the flip-flopper questions

It’s called Rick Perry.

Romney sought to turn his opponent’s straight-talking strength into a weakness by questioning whether Perry himself was the true flip-flopper.

Romney’s simply better at the debate game and it showed in various exchanges with Perry.

“Nice try,” was Romney’s rebuttal to Perry at two different points, before he turned the question to his advantage.

He didn’t take the chunk he wanted out of Perry on the issue of Social Security—and he got a bit mealy-mouthed during an answer about whether he supports President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education initiative. (Suggesting Gary Johnson’s dogs as his running mate wasn’t exactly a home run either).

And there is some level of risk for Romney, who sometimes offers answers that are reminiscent of John Kerry’s “smart-kid-in-the-class” performances from the 2004 cycle. While his aggressiveness with Perry has generally served him well, when delivered with too much eagerness it can be grating.

Nonetheless, what Romney needs is to steadily advance and hope that Perry sinks, and each debate has been a step toward that goal.

Rick Santorum has eclipsed Michele Bachmann

Of the fighters on the undercard, Santorum was last night’s winner.

Armed with little by way of resources and a mere fourth-place Ames Straw Poll finish, Santorum has nonetheless been taking every opportunity to make himself more of a presence in the GOP race.

On Thursday, he dominated during the parts of the debate when Romney didn’t.

Read more…