Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has reportedly cut his latest big-dollar check to help keep Newt Gingrich's White House hopes afloat.
The Associated Press reports that the casino magnate has made another "substantial" contribution to Winning Our Future, the super PAC that has done much of the heavy lifting for the former House speaker's presidential campaign. No word on the exact size of the check, but it is reportedly in the same ballpark as the two $5-million donations that Adelson and his wife have already given to the super PAC.
Adelson has been Gingrich's biggest financial backer this campaign season, although he has suggested that he'd be willing to open his wallet to help Mitt Romney if he wins the GOP nomination. Given that, it comes as something of a surprise that Adelson's latest donation is earmarked to pay for advertisements that go after Romney and not rival Rick Santorum, who has stolen much of Gingrich's thunder in recent months.
The AP with the play-by-play of one such ad:
The ads seek to undercut Republican Mitt Romney’s argument that he would pose the most formidable challenge to President Barack Obama. It opens with an older man declaring Romney’s name and sighing. A woman says she doesn’t relate to Romney and another man says he doesn’t “know if I can trust him.” Another male voice says, “He doesn’t have the strength to stand up to Obama.”
The ad promotes Gingrich’s energy plan, which the former House speaker has touted as a way to bring down gasoline prices to $2.50 a gallon. A male voice says, “Newt Gingrich can beat Obama.”
Tuesday, Feb. 21: Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has more or less singlehandedly kept Newt Gingrich's campaign afloat in the past—and it looks like he wouldn't be afraid to do it again, possibly by a factor of ten.
In a cover story on the casino magnate (which is well worth a read), Forbes magazine reveals that the casino magnate—who is worth an estimated $25 billion— is suggesting that he's open to the idea of spending as much as $100 million to help his favored GOP candidate win in November.
Responding to critics who say that he's trying to personally buy the election for his friend, the 78-year-old Adelson had this to say (fwiw, at the time of the interview Adelson and his wife had already given roughly $11 million to a pro-Newt Super PAC, and are expected to soon donate another $10 million.):
"Those people are either jealous or professional critics. ... They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich. ...
"I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I’m not ashamed of it. I gave the money because there is no other legal way to do it. I don’t want to go through ten different corporations to hide my name. I’m proud of what I do and I’m not looking to escape recognition."
Friday, Feb. 17: Newt Gingrich's current cash crunch may soon be a thing of the past, at least for a few weeks.
CNN and CBS News are both reporting that billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson will soon fork over an additional $10 million to the Super PAC supporting the former House speaker's presidential campaign. Adelson and his wife have already given Winning the Future roughly $11 million, a donation that closed the gap—at least somewhat—between Gingrich and Mitt Romney earlier this year.
CNN's sources say that the eight-figure donation will come before the end of the month, while CBS's suggest that it could happen within days. Adelson had previously suggested that his further financial support of Gingrich was in doubt, and signaled that he'd be ready and willing to back Romney if the time came.
The Wall Street Journal, which reported earlier this week that Adelson was considering cutting another check, suggests that the billionaire's goal is to derail Rick Santorum's campaign as much as it is to help Gingrich's. Adelson is reportedly concerned about some of Santorum's deeply conservative social views, such as his strong anti-abortion stance, and is worried that he wouldn't be able to compete with President Obama in a general election showdown.
Friday, Feb. 10: Newt Gingrich may be Winning the Future, but his campaign appears mostly to be losing money these past few weeks.
The latest figures we have on his campaign checkbook come from before the Jan. 31 Florida primary, when he told reporters that his team had about $600,000 on hand. It's hard to believe that things are any better now.
After being handily defeated in Florida, Gingrich was set another major setback this past Tuesday when fellow social conservative Rick Santorum posted a surprise sweep of three GOP nominating contests. In the two day since, Santorum says he's brought in about $2.2 million.
Political fundraising may not be a zero-sum game for candidates, but it probably seems like it is to Santorum and Gingrich, who are competing for the same anybody-but-Romney support.
Bloomberg provides this look at where things stand for Gingrich now:
Gingrich and Winning Our Future, an outside political action committee supporting him, are almost silent on television airwaves, offering free water and coffee at events, and revamping a fundraising strategy based largely on the support of a single wealthy backer, Sheldon Adelson, and the Las Vegas casino owner’s family.
In the past seven days, Winning Our Future has spent $61,290 on broadcast television advertisements, compared with $636,920 spent by Mitt Romney and a super-PAC backing him, Restore Our Future, according to data compiled by New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, a company that tracks advertising.
The Hill points out potentially even worse news for Newt: Adelson, who along with his wife has given Gingrich and his super PAC more than $10 million, has suggested that he won't shell out any more.
Rick Tyler, a senior adviser at Winning the Future PAC, told Bloomberg that the new plan is to turn to grasroots fundraising and smaller donations to sustain the campaign. "We’re going to more aggressively go after those donors," Tyler said.
But the fact remains that it takes a lot of small donations to add up to the large checks that have been filling the coffers of super PACs, which can accept unlimited amounts from individuals, companies and unions.