Paul Singer Backs Marco Rubio

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

CEO Daily: Saturday, October 31st.

Marco Rubio’s highly touted debate performance on Wednesday has already yielded a significant tangible benefit: The Republican presidential candidate has snagged the support of mega-donor Paul Singer, in a move that will be widely seen in the political world as a blow to struggling rival Jeb Bush. WASHINGTON: The Republican National Committee told NBC Friday it was suspending their broadcast partnership after the US network’s cable news subsidiary was accused of asking questions in “bad faith” during the party’s last presidential debate. “Pending further discussion between the RNC and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on Feb 26, 2016,” the committee’s chairman Reince Priebus wrote to NBC News chairman Andrew Lack. “The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith,” Priebus added, stressing that “we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.” Candidates and observers admonished them for being too aggressive, straying off the announced topic of economics and finance, and pitting candidates against one another. One of the party’s most prolific and hard-to-please donors, Singer gave more than $16 million to candidates and political committees in the last four years, according to records on file with the Federal Election Commission.

The move comes as several campaigns seek to change the format for the remaining debates due to concerns too many candidates are on stage and do not get enough time to speak. Fiscally conservative and socially moderate, the hedge-fund manager has donated to conservative candidates and causes, such as pro-Israel groups, former Ambassador John Bolton, and the Tea Party Patriots, but he has steered many of his contributions to his own super political action committee, American Unity, which supports Republicans who back gay rights.

So in keeping with the uncharacteristic if qualified hopefulness that’s run through the past couple Saturday dispatches, we give you the case for why things could really, actually, finally be different in the House under newly-minted Speaker Paul Ryan. They pushed outsider candidates like Ben Carson and Donald Trump to explain ambitious plans to cut taxes and remove unauthorized immigrants, and they questioned plans from more establishment candidates like Sen.

He gave $1 million to Restore Our Future, the super-PAC supporting Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and he supported former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 White House bid. Over the last two presidential cycles Singer, founder of Elliott Management, convened private meetings of his fellow wealthy New York Republicans, at which presidential candidates effectively audition for support. When moderator John Harwood interrupted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as he attempted to answer a question, Christie shot back: “Even in New Jersey, what you’re doing is called rude.” “And you look at the questions – ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?’… ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues people care about,” he said to a loud roar from the crowd. Republicans were angered by what they characterized as petty, nonsubstantive questions by debate moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood designed to embarrass the candidates.

Priebus told NBC in a letter that the committee wanted to ensure its candidates would be given a “full and fair” opportunity to lay out their political visions. Instead of voters being able to assess candidates’ positions and discern differences on policy, the format turns into a personality contest, which may explain why Donald Trump and Ben Carson are still leading in the polls.

As Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate, Ryan was half of a ticket that won nearly 61 million votes nationwide. “I don’t think there’s another time in American history when somebody becomes Speaker who millions of people have already voted for and know in a way that most legislative people are never known. He’s a national political figure outside of and in addition to the institution.” That gives Ryan political leverage with recalcitrant members of his own conference never enjoyed by John Boehner, the consummate insider he’s replacing. Carl Quintanilla’s opening question was, “What is your biggest weakness?” It was a ridiculous way to start the debate — and the questions didn’t get that much better as the evening progressed.

Despite his youth — at 45, Ryan is the youngest Speaker in nearly 150 years — he calls on a rare depth of experience in the chamber: He started there as a staffer right out of college and was elected to the first of his nine terms at 28. Christie wondered aloud why they were being asked about Fantasy Football competition when Islamic State militants are killing people in the Middle East. “This is a disappointing development. During a rally Thursday in Nevada, Trump suggested that Republican debate moderators be required to prove that they vote Republican. “Why should we have these people that hate everything we stand for?” he asked. However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party,” an NBC statement said.

Ostensibly, the debate will focus on economic issues (which the CNBC one was supposed to do, as well, but didn’t), with Fox hosts Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo along with WSJ Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker. That potential dynamic has been watched for closely since Wednesday’s debate, although Rubio’s advisers have cautioned not to expect an immediate wave of defections. In that, he’s unlike Boehner’s two previous would-be successors, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, both of whom vaulted into leadership in their second terms on the strength of their political fundraising.

The rules will allow any candidate who polls above 2.5 percent to participate; that is a low bar that serves no one’s interest but the fringe candidates’. Among the currently unaffiliated mega-donors who could be influenced by Singer’s choice are industrialist David Koch; Philip Anschutz, a Denver-based oilman and entertainment entrepreneur; Charles Schwab, founder of the eponymous brokerage firm; and Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts. If your only experience is in leadership, “you’re mostly thinking about competition with Democrats, either electorally or legislatively,” the lawmaker said. “Most members don’t live in that world.

At least one campaign has suggested that instead of having 10 or 11 candidates on stage at the same time, that the group be split in two for two debates of 90 minutes each. If the bar were raised to 5 percent, we’d have a real chance of seeing an actual debate, though it might mean Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee would be absent unless their numbers were to improve over the next week. Moral authority. “He didn’t want the damn job in the first place and everybody knows it.” That doesn’t mean he can count on everyone in his ranks to help, “but they’ll at least feel bad about not helping for a change.” There are a thousand ways this could go sideways.

But it might force him to make a decision about whether to continue his race, which has sucked up a lot of money that might be better redirected to a candidate who can inspire voters; yes, I’m thinking Marco Rubio. According to a person familiar with his thinking, the billionaire investor had been leaning toward Rubio for some time, and the Bush campaign, knowing that, tried to head him off.

Rubio would continue to show his command of issues but have to face tough questions (if moderators are capable of asking them) on his economic policies. In a signal of how influential Singer can be, representatives for Bush in the finance community had pleaded that he hold off on making a decision—to give Bush more time.

As he battles to maintain his position atop the polls he’s lead for months, Donald Trump is showcasing a different and somewhat unfamiliar persona on the stump. Yet Carson called the question “propaganda.” Later, Quintanilla asked Rubio about his finances, from “a lack of bookkeeping skills” to concerns over his use of campaign and Florida Republican Party cash.

Rubio’s response? “You just listed a litany of discredited attacks from Democrats and my political opponents, and I’m not gonna waste 60 seconds detailing them all.” But this is nonsense. Senator Ted Cruz, or that the son and brother of two previous presidents could beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. Singer wants to consolidate support behind someone he believes can accomplish all of those tasks. “It’s my highest priority to support the candidate for president who can…navigate this complex primary process, and still be in a position to defeat Secretary Clinton in November 2016,” Singer wrote in the letter. But the effort to accommodate the pressures of a campaign evolving as it heads into the critical stretch speak to the billionaire developer’s seriousness about his bid. By increasing the number of debates and vastly expanding the numbers of participants, we’ve diminished the value of debates to those who matter: the voters.

Singer eventually will provide super-PAC money on Rubio’s behalf but for the short-term plans to focus on bundling—collecting money from his wide network of political donors—for Rubio’s official campaign committee between now and the start of the caucuses and primaries in early February. Frustration with the RNC itself has been mounting among Republican presidential campaigns, who believe it’s done an inadequate job setting the terms of the debates with networks.

Instead, he made a different point entirely—“In fact, the largest after-tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan.” And conservatives—taking Rubio’s side—accused Harwood of lying. When Cruz went on his anti-media rant, it was following a substantive question about his rhetoric and approach: “Congressional Republicans, Democrats, and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown, and calm financial markets that fear of—another Washington-created crisis is on the way.

On top of the financial muscle Singer will lend to Rubio’s campaign, the support will likely accelerate the candidate’s effort to close establishment ranks around his bid while denying his former mentor, Jeb Bush. The entire night, Republicans trafficked in half-truths and falsehoods, from Christie’s misleading claim that Social Security was bankrupt (which came directly after he promised to “be honest with the people watching at home”) to Carly Fiorina’s invented “fact” that “92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.” Which brings us back to Priebus’ letter.

Singer, the most generous Republican donor in the country last year, is also expected now to rally his broad and deep-pocketed network to Rubio’s cause. Trump can’t deport millions of immigrants; Carson can’t raise enough revenue to fund the federal government; and the “middle-class” tax plans of Bush, Rubio, and others shower most of their benefits on the rich. After a disastrous performance at the third Republican debate on Wednesday night, the one-time GOP frontrunner’s campaign is in something of a tailspin.

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