Rubio scores major endorsement from billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Billionaire Paul Singer’s support of Rubio shakes up funding in presidential race.

The Republican National Committee on Friday dumped NBC News from sponsoring a Feb. 26 debate of presidential candidates in the fallout over a debate conducted by media partner CNBC this week that was roundly criticized by the candidates. A longtime political advisor to Jeb Bush posted a pair of tweets seemingly warning 2016 rival Marco Rubio that there would be future attacks headed his way.Before the Republican candidates had even walked off the CNBC debate stage in Boulder, Colo., on Wednesday evening, their anger and frustration were pouring into public view, creating a crisis for the candidates, their party and the television networks hosting this year’s debates. 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. Mike Murphy, who runs the Right to Rise, a PAC that supports Bush, wrote that the Rubio campaign is “silly” if it thinks “the senator’s record will not be fully vetted in this primary.” The message comes as the Bush campaign tries to stymie a downward spiral it has fallen into.

The decision by the donor, Paul Singer, a billionaire New York investor, is a key victory for Rubio in his battle with Jeb Bush for the affections of major Republican patrons and the party’s business wing. On Friday, it was announced that his campaign’s Chief Operating Officer Christine Ciccone would depart and that Rubio had won the support of influential billionaire Paul Singer. It comes as a major blow to Bush, who is seeing his once vigorous campaign imperiled by doubts among supporters, and whose early dominance of the race was driven by his financial muscle. The action came after a flurry of calls in which the candidates’ representatives conveyed their fury to party leaders over what they described as the hostile tone of the anchors moderating the debates. “While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of ‘gotcha’ questions, petty and meanspirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates,” the party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, wrote in a letter to Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News. 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.

The action by the party leadership seemed designed in part to redirect Republican anger away from the national committee, which many believe has bungled the debate process. Murphy has made it clear to people he wants to zero in on Rubio, but would like to temporarily hold off at the moment because doing so might look desperate after this week, The New York Times reported. As a lure back to the bargaining table, perhaps NBC “News” can offer the GOP candidates transportation to the next debate in special GM trucks — you know, the ones that NBC’s “Dateline” rigged up to explode, in yet another faked network news story. 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. He also said not enough was done to ensure candidates received relatively equal time on the air; Bush campaign officials reportedly complained to CNBC while the debate was going on that their candidate was not getting enough time.

He praised Rubio’s message of optimism about America’s future, his work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his ability to make a persuasive case to voters as key reasons to support him. “He is accustomed to thinking about American foreign policy as a responsible policymaker,” Singer wrote. “He is ready to be an informed and assertive decision-maker.” Singer, who gave more money to Republican candidates and causes last year than any other donor, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is courted by Republicans for the depth of his pockets and for his wide network of other conservative givers. 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. Because I used to watch CNBC, until I got tired of their dreary corporate puffery interspersed with leftist spin (the only exceptions being Rick Santelli and occasionally Larry Kudlow). He is known for his caution and careful vetting of candidates and, while passionately pro-Israel and a supporter of same-sex marriage, he is generally viewed as a donor who does not believe in litmus tests.

On the agenda: forcing both the committee and the networks to address their concerns, including format (such as the debates’ length and whether candidates have opening statements) and airtime for each candidate. 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. 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. “Censoring the press couldn’t be further from our minds,” Watt said. “Dictating the questioners or the questions couldn’t be further from our minds. Representatives from several campaigns are to meet on Sunday to discuss how to repair what they feel is a broken debate format that is backed by the RNC and TV networks.

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’. Unlike Sheldon Adelson, a fellow Republican billionaire and Israel supporter, Singer is an assiduous and effective “bundler” for candidates: In the 2012 campaign, he raised more than $3 million in the primaries for Mitt Romney, the eventual Republican nominee. 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. That’s the only thing from our perspective and I believe the other campaigns’.” The campaigns have been fuming over the RNC’s handling of the debates, expressing frustrations that they’ve been excluded from participating in discussions over their terms.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said it was “extremely disappointed” by the RNC’s decision, given NBC’s partnership with Telemundo. His father was Richard Harwood, another extinguished scribe, for the Washington Post, a newspaper that had to give back a Pulitzer Prize for making stuff up.

Forty-plus years later, his son is equally committed to torpedoing the truth on behalf of the status quo, even though the most corrupt regime ever is now a pack of baying moonbat Democrats. While cutting NBC out of the process, the RNC said it still intended to have a debate that day with its other partner, the conservative National Review. Priebus raced to the spin room to criticize the network, but donors were already grumbling that one of the evening’s biggest losers was their party chairman. “Central planning never works,” said Gail Gitcho, senior adviser to Gov. 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. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. “Debates are a crucial part of the democratic process, and we should have leverage with the networks, which isn’t afforded to us by the central planning.” Of course, attacking the media, especially the so-called liberal media, is a popular and time-tested Republican trope.

As the party has moved toward the conservative base, the candidates, by criticizing the press and debate moderators, have been able to score points with their core supporters while inoculating themselves from tough questions or criticism after a poor debate performance. Though it had far lower viewership than the first two GOP debates, the first Democratic debate also set a record for the biggest TV audience ever for a Democratic campaign forum. Priebus blasted out his letter over social media, accusing CNBC of conducting the debate in “bad faith,” and suspending the network’s next debate at the University of Houston. “The R.N.C.’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future,” Mr. 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. But not everyone was supportive. “They were more concerned with acting like the big dog,” said a Republican strategist who had spoken with the R.N.C.

On Friday, Fox Business Network, which is hosting the next Republican debate in Wisconsin, released its rules for that event on Nov. 10; the candidates will not get an opening statement, but will have longer response time — 90 seconds for their initial answer, with a 60-second rebuttal.

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