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The down and dirty history of secret spending, PACs gone wild, and the epic four-decade fight over the only kind of political capital that matters.

Mother Jones  —By

There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.“—Mark Hanna, 19th-century mining tycoon and GOP fundraiser

I.NIXONLAND

Bill Liedtke was racing against time. His deadline was a little more than a day away. He’d prepared everything—suitcase stuffed with cash, jet fueled up, pilot standing by. Everything but the Mexican money.

The date was April 5, 1972. Warm afternoon light bathed the windows at Pennzoil Company headquarters in downtown Houston. Liedtke, a former Texas wildcatter who’d risen to be Pennzoil’s president, and Roy Winchester, the firm’s PR man, waited anxiously for $100,000 due to be hand-delivered by a Mexican businessman named José Díaz de León. When it arrived, Liedtke (pronounced LIT-key) would stuff it into the suitcase with the rest of the cash and checks, bringing the total to $700,000. The Nixon campaign wanted the money before Friday, when a new law kicked in requiring that federal campaigns disclose their donors. Maurice Stans, finance chair of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, or CREEP, had told fundraisers they needed to beat that deadline. Liedtke said he’d deliver.

Díaz de León finally arrived later that afternoon, emptying a large pouch containing $89,000 in checks and $11,000 in cash onto Liedtke’s desk. The donation was from Robert Allen, president of Gulf Resources and Chemical Company. Allen—fearing his shareholders would discover that he’d given six figures to Nixon—had funneled it through a Mexico City bank to Díaz de León, head of Gulf Resources’ Mexican subsidiary, who carried the loot over the border.

Winchester and another Pennzoil man rushed the suitcase to the Houston airport, where a company jet was waiting on the tarmac. The two men climbed aboard, bound for Washington. They touched down in DC hours later and sped directly to CREEP’s office at 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, across the street from the White House. They arrived at 10 p.m.

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Published on Jun 1, 2012 by

Learn more: https://my.barackobama.com/romneyeconomicsgopvid
Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts promising more jobs, decreased debt, and smaller government. By the time Romney left office, state debt had increased, the size of government had grown, and Massachusetts had fallen behind almost every other state in job creation.
Other Republicans agree: Romney economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.

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By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei

May 30, 2012 04:34 AM EDT

Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives – including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress, according to officials familiar with the groups’ internal operations.

That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states. POLITICO has learned that Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections – twice what they had been expected to commit.

Just the spending linked to the Koch network is more than the $370 million that John McCain raised for his entire presidential campaign four years ago. And the $1 billion total surpasses the $750 million that Barack Obama, one of the most prolific fundraisers ever, collected for his 2008 campaign.

(PHOTOS: Republican money men)

Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, proved its potency by spending nearly $50 million in the primaries. Now able to entice big donors with a neck-and-neck general election, the group is likely to meet its new goal of spending $100 million more.

And American Crossroads and the affiliated Crossroads GPS, the groups that Rove and Ed Gillespie helped conceive and raise cash for, are expected to ante up $300 million, giving the two-year-old organization one of the election’s loudest voices.

“The intensity on the right is white-hot,” said Steven Law, president of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. “We just can’t leave anything in the locker room. And there is a greater willingness to cooperate and share information among outside groups on the center-right.”

In targeted states, the groups’ activities will include TV, radio and digital advertising; voter-turnout work; mail and phone appeals; and absentee- and early-ballot drives.

The $1 billion in outside money is in addition to the traditional party apparatus – the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee – which together intend to raise at least $800 million.
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Market Watch, The Wall Street Journal

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch

May 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree.

As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.”

Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.

But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has.

Here are the facts, according to the official government statistics:

In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. Check the official numbers at the Office of Management and Budget.

In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.

In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.

In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.

Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.

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The New York Times
By Jr.
Published: May 11, 2012

WASHINGTON —Mitt Romney’s recent declaration that Russia is America’s top geopolitical adversary drew raised eyebrows and worse from many Democrats, some Republicans and the Russians themselves, all of whom suggested that Mr. Romney was misguidedly stuck in a cold war mind-set.

But his statement was not off the cuff — and it was not the first time Mr. Romney had stirred debate over his hawkish views on Russia. Interviews with Republican foreign policy experts close to his campaign and his writings on the subject show that his stance toward Russia reflects a broader foreign policy view that gives great weight to economic power and control of natural resources. It also exhibits Mr. Romney’s confidence that his private-sector experience would make him a better negotiator on national security issues than President Obama has been.

Mr. Romney’s views on Russia have set off disagreements among some of his foreign policy advisers. They put him in sync with the more conservative members of his party in Congress, who have similarly criticized Mr. Obama as being too accommodating to Russia, and generally reflect the posture of some neoconservatives.

But they have frequently put him at odds with members of the Republican foreign policy establishment, like Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who was defeated in a primary this week, and the party’s shrinking band of foreign policy “realists” — those who advocate a less ideological and more pragmatic view of relations with rival powers.

The Romney campaign has been critical of Mr. Obama’s record and positions on a variety of national security issues, including containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and confronting China’s rise. But many of the positions taken by Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have either been vague or not fundamentally different from those of the administration.

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The American Prospect

Jamelle Bouie

May 2, 2012

The super wealthy apparently believe that they deserve constant deference.

Greg Sargent is rightfully stunned by the entitled petulance of Wall Street bankers who are shocked—shocked—that President Obama would do anything other than praise their indispensable brilliance:

Wall Streeters are so upset about Obama’s harsh populist rhetoric that they privately called on him to make amends with a big speech — like his oration on race — designed to heal the wounds of class warfare in this country. […]

Of course, their exaggerated weariness notwithstanding, the “wounds of class warfare” haven’t been borne by Wall Streeters, who remain fabulously wealthy even after causing the worst downturn since the Great Depression. If there’s anyone waging class warfare, it’s the radicalized representatives of the rich, who have successfully engineered government to enhance their wealth at the cost of our shared responsibilities. As such, the actual victims of class warfare are the ordinary Americans who face stagnant wages, rising costs, and a tattered safety net.

After going through the insanity of Wall Street complaints, Sargent ends his post on this note:

One wonders if there is anything Obama could say to make these people happy, short of declaring that rampant inequality is a good thing, in that it affirms the talent and industriousness of the deserving super rich. It certainly seems clear that they won’t be satisfied until he stops mentioning it at all. [Emphasis mine]

If you think the bolded section is an exaggeration, you should take some time to read Adam Davidson’s New York Times profile of Edward Conard, a former partner at Bain Capital—Mitt Romney’s investment fund—who now works as an apologist for the ultrawealthy. Conard believes three things. First, that millionaires and billionaires earned every penny of their wealth through merit and hard work:

God didn’t create the universe so that talented people would be happy,” he said. “It’s not beautiful. It’s hard work. It’s responsibility and deadlines, working till 11 o’clock at night when you want to watch your baby and be with your wife. It’s not serenity and beauty.”

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George W. Bush’s economy was terrible. (ANDY CROSS - AP)

TheWashingtonPost

Posted by

at 09:09 AM ET, 05/01/2012

There’s not much in politics that allows me to say, “I’m old enough to remember when.” But here’s one: I’m old enough to remember when George W. Bush was president.

It was, after all, only four short years ago. And it didn’t go so well. The Bush economy is one of the worst on record. Median wages dropped. Poverty worsened. Inequality increased. Surpluses turned into deficits. Monthly job growth was weaker than it had been in any expansion since 1954. Economic growth was sluggish. And that’s before you count the financial crisis that unfurled on his watch. Add the collapse to the equation, and Bush’s record goes from “not so good” to “I can’t bear to look.”

Was all that his fault? Of course not. No economy is entirely under the president’s control. He didn’t create the tech bubble or 9/11. His responsibility for the financial crisis is, at best, partial. But Bush’s economic policies — including massive, deficit-financed tax cuts, and his reappointing of Alan Greenspan to lead the Federal Reserve — mattered. And, rightly or wrongly, the American people blame him for the aftermath. He left office one of the most unpopular presidents in U.S. history. And the anger has stuck: A recent YouGov poll found that 56 percent blame Bush “a great deal” or “a lot” for economic problems. Only 41 percent said the same about President Obama.

Given all that, you’d think Republicans would be running from anything or anyone who even vaguely reminded Americans of our 43rd president. In fact, the GOP seems eager to get the old gang back together.

Last week, when CNN asked House Speaker John Boehner whom Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, should choose as his vice presidential running mate, he named Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Daniels and Portman served as budget directors in the Bush White House. Perhaps more surprising, a variety of big-name Republicans have openly yearned for Jeb Bush to get the nod — and before that, to run for the nomination itself.

Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign staff is thick with Bush administration veterans. Two of his economic advisers — N. Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard — served as chief economists for Bush. His policy director, Lanhee Chen, worked on health policy in the Bush White House.

Some of this is unavoidable: Presidential administrations tend to suck up a political party’s best talent. The Obama White House, for instance, is full of Clinton veterans. But in the Obama White House, the Clinton veterans haven’t really acted like Clinton veterans.

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