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Old 21st September 2015, 21:19
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What Happens To All That SuperPAC Money When A Candidate Drops Out
Sept 21, 2015 NPR Peter Overby

Opportunity and Freedom PAC, and its two siblings, Opportunity and Freedom PAC numbers 1 and 2, were meant to be heavyweight sluggers for Republican Rick Perry, providing big-budget support for his second presidential bid.

But Perry himself turned out to be a welterweight at best. The former Texas governor entered the race late, raised a skimpy $1.1 million by June 30 and "suspended" his campaign barely two months later.

"We had a plan," political consultant Austin Barbour, senior advisor to the superPACs, told NPR.

The plan began with more than a month of TV ads in Iowa, starting when Perry announced. It took a new course when Perry's campaign coffers emptied out and the superPACs poured money into Iowa field operations. Finally, Perry's withdrawal in the early rounds of the primary season left the superPACs with the plan mostly unimplemented and $13 million unspent.

So what happened to that $13 million?

It's gone back to the donors – mainly Dallas businessmen Darwin Deason and Kelcy Warren.

"The wire transfers have already been processed," Barbour said Friday evening.

Deason, who lives part-time in Dallas, is reportedly worth $1.38 billion. He founded a company that handles processing for companies like E-ZPass. He sold it in 2010 to Xerox for $6.4 billion. He's gained attention for how he spends some of that money, including on his 205-foot yacht, Apogee.

"Apogee means pinnacle in Greek," Deason told ForbesLife magazine in 2012. "To me it also represents the peak of spending absolutely foolish money. It's not rational, but I love it."

What are the rules?

Congress long ago passed a law limiting what candidates can do with unused campaign cash — in particular, they can't take it home with them.

But that law doesn't apply to superPACs.

This is only the second presidential contest since superPACs were created, and there is no law regarding left over money for the groups given their relative infancy.

Is there any precedent for this?

Yes. In 2012, the presidential superPACs generally wound down at the same rate as the candidate's hopes, with one exception. When former House speaker Newt Gingrich dropped out of the GOP primaries, the superPAC Winning Our Future returned $5 million to Miriam Adelson.

She and her husband, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, had been the major underwriters of Winning Our Future. Their money had kept Gingrich in the race weeks longer than he could otherwise have managed.

But the superPAC alone wasn't enough, as Perry realized this month.What Happens To All That SuperPAC Money When A Candidate Drops Out : It's All Politics : NPR
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Old 23rd September 2015, 15:07
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Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump - The strange asymmetry of the presidential race Sep 22nd 2015 THE ECONOMIST

GEORGE H.W. BUSH was a terrible campaigner and a rather good president. One, possibly apocryphal, story about his awkwardness in front of a crowd involves a campaign stop in a New Hampshire town that had recently seen job losses. On the way in Mr Bush was, supposedly, handed a card by an aide which read, “Message: I care”. The candidate took to the stage and started saying, “Message: I care”, like some pre-programmed robo-Wasp. Hillary Clinton’s appearance on "Face the Nation" at the weekend had a certain H.W. quality. She has been told by aides that she needs to remind Americans that she is a real person. “I am a real person,” she told the host, John Dickerson.

That Mrs Clinton is not great at campaigning ought to come as no surprise to anyone who watched her previous attempt to win the Democratic nomination. As with Mr Bush, this does not necessarily mean she would be a bad president. But it does help to explain Democrats’ enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, which has reached Trump-like levels in some polls. Mr Sanders is a puzzle for people trying to decide which campaigns to give most attention to. The Economist put Donald Trump on the cover but currently has no plans to give Mr Sanders the same treatment. Why the inconsistency?

The answer is that their poll numbers bear only a superficial resemblance. Questions that ask about voting intentions don’t count for much so early in the cycle: money, endorsements and prediction markets are a more reliable guide. YouGov, which does polling for The Economist, asks the voting intention question anyway. But they also asks respondents who is going to get the nomination. The answers show that the way Democrats view Mr Sanders and Republicans view Mr Trump are very different (the fieldwork was done before Scott Walker pulled out of the race).



For all the thousands turning up to cheer Mr Sanders, Democrats are in a more pragmatic mood than Republicans. That may be because when a party controls the presidency it tends to remain a bit more disciplined. It may also be because Republicans are in a strange place at the moment. When Bobby Jindal, a state governor, McKinsey alumnus and Rhodes scholar feels he has to tell the audience at a debate that he is “angrier at the Republicans in DC than I am at the president”, you know that something deeply odd is happening. Despite his slight dip following the second televised Republican debate, Mr Trump still captures that mood on the right better than any other candidate, for now at least. Politics is not always symmetrical. On the left, there really is no equivalent. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump: The strange asymmetry of the presidential race | The Economist
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Old 3rd October 2015, 16:32
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Trumponomics - Donald Trump's tax plan is a fantasy
Sep 28th 2015 THE ECONOMIST

IT takes a certain chutzpah to propose bigger tax cuts than your rival, claim your plan is cheaper and then suggest your sums add up due to “common sense”. This is what Donald Trump, the iconoclastic frontrunner for the Republican nomination, did on the morning of September 28th, when he became the second leading Republican candidate to publish a tax plan, following Jeb Bush’s effort earlier this month. Critics of Mr Bush’s plan said it was a giveaway for high-earners, funded by optimistic assumptions about its effect on growth. On both counts, Mr Trump, who has never suffered from a lack of gall, makes Mr Bush look positively *****footed.

The plan burnishes Mr Trump’s Republican credentials by giving high earners whacking tax cuts. Individuals earning more than $150,000 will see their marginal tax rate fall from close to 40% now to 25%, three percentage points lower than under Mr Bush’s plan. Whereas the former Governor of Florida wants merely to double the standard deduction, the amount that can be earned before paying tax, to $11,300, Mr Trump would quadruple it, to $25,000 (or $50,000 for a married couple). This would remove more than half of households from the income tax rolls altogether, he says.

The outdoing does not end there. Mr Trump is more aggressive on corporation tax, too, promising to lower the levy on company profits to 15% rather than 20% under Bush. Furthermore, 15% would be the most any business would pay on their income—including self-employed freelancers. Even with big cuts to income tax, letting freelancers pay only 15% tax on their earnings would create a sharp and unwelcome incentive to masquerade as self-employed.

What would this largesse cost? Mr Bush’s number crunchers reckoned his plan, which is modest in comparison, would reduce annual receipts by $376 billion, or about 7.5%, by 2025, before accounting for its effect on the economy. Allow—optimistically—for a boost to growth of half a percentage point per year, and the cost falls by two thirds. Mr Trump provides no such detailed estimates but claims, incredibly, that his plan pays for itself. In his press conference, Mr Trump suggested that under his stewardship, the economy might achieve annual growth of five or six percent. That would certainly pay for huge tax cuts, but is a fantasy.

Mr Trump does suggest some new sources of revenue. He would eliminate many tax deductions, most of which remain unspecified. In particular, the controversial “carried interest” deduction, beloved of partners in private equity firms and hedge funds, would go. This raises, perhaps, $1 billion-2 billion. But Mr Bush promised this too, so it was included in his costings. Mr Trump would cap the tax-deductibility of debt interest. But Mr Bush would abolish it altogether, saving more. The only part of Mr Trump’s plan which is clearly cheaper than Mr Bush’s pertains to the overseas profits of American corporations. Unlike Mr Bush, Mr Trump would keep taxing these earnings (though companies will no longer be able to defer paying until the money is brought back, ending the incentive to stash cash overseas).

Mr Trump is supposed to be a new kind of politician; a straight-talker who, freed from the usual constraints of politics by his billions, tells it like it is. But promising to fund tax cuts by closing unspecified loopholes is an old political wheeze. Mr Trump says the country’s “top” economists helped to develop his plan; alas, for now they remain anonymous. Any contributor would be wise to stay in the background. Mr Trump’s plan is twaddle. Trumponomics: Donald Trump's tax plan is a fantasy | The Economist






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Old 3rd October 2015, 20:57
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Sep 29, 2015 REUTERS
Trump backs Russia, Iran efforts to fight Islamic State

Leading Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday said he supported Russian efforts to fight Islamic State militants in the Middle East, including Syria.

Asked whether he backed those like Russia who supported Syrian President Bashar al Assad or those who see him as the source of Syria's current crisis, Trump told NBC's "Today" program: "I side with the group that says 'if Russia wants to go and fight ISIS, you should let them', as opposed to saying 'we're jealous, we don't want you to do that'."

Trump, who is leading public opinion polls among those seeking the Republican Party's bid to win the White House in the 2016 election, said the United States should support those who want to destroy the militant group that has taken over swaths of Syria as well as neighboring Iraq.

Republicans have criticized Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for four years and has seen an influx of Islamic State militants.

Asked about whether Assad was the source of the country's ills, Trump said it was not clear and questioned who would replace him if he were ousted.

"The people that want to come in and replace Assad, nobody knows who they are and they could end up being worse," he said. "We're constantly going out and siding with people and they turn out to be worse than the people who were there before."

(This version of the story was refiled to fix punctuation in quote in paragraph two)

Trump backs Russia, Iran efforts to fight Islamic State | Reuters
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Old 5th October 2015, 14:04
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Hillary Clinton in the South - Not quite fireproof - The Democratic front-runner has a commanding, but not insuperable, advantage
Oct 3rd 2015 | CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA THE ECONOMIST

LIKE most residents of Eastside in Charleston, a poor, mostly black, quarter of the South Carolinian port-city, Joe Watson, a grocer with strong political views, backed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary contest. At least, he did until the news from Iowa and New Hampshire suggested Barack Obama could actually win the thing, at which point he, and millions of other black voters across the South, abruptly ditched Mrs Clinton. But now, he says, raising his eyes from the Bible he keeps open on the counter of Mary’s Sweet Shop, he is for her again.

“Women got that focus, got that desire to help people, got that greater fellowship than us men,” he muses, pointing the interviewer to the polished stool he reserves for political talk. He likes her chances, too. After Mr Obama secured the Democratic nomination, Mr Watson rounded up 300 new voters for him; “They were so joyous in their cause, and it can be that way for Hillary, too.”

In this section

There is, in fact, little levity around Mrs Clinton’s campaign. Her lead over the Democratic field has shrivelled in recent weeks, as she has failed to quash a scandal over the private e-mail server she used while secretary of state and the left-wing excitement being generated by Bernie Sanders. But if this suggests she might stumble again in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the socialist senator from Vermont is relatively strong, she looks much likelier to hold firm in South Carolina, which will hold the fourth Democratic ballot on February 27th, ahead of a raft of southern states three days later.

The Spanish-moss strategy

Mr Sanders is hardly known in the state, where over half of Democrats are black and generally well-disposed towards Mrs Clinton. Mr Watson says he has encountered some Sanders fans among the white university students, drawn to Eastside by its low rents, who sometimes take a turn on his stool; but most people are for Mrs Clinton. A recent poll in South Carolina gave her 66% of the Democratic vote and Mr Sanders 12%. Even if Joe Biden, the grief-stricken vice-president, were to enter the race, she would get over half the vote.

That lead, which is replicated in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and other southern states with many black voters, looks to be a formidable insurance—or some say “firewall”—against Mrs Clinton’s travails further north. Her campaign machinery in South Carolina, which will be extended across the South, also looks stronger than it did in 2008.

Led by veterans of Mr Obama’s winning campaigns—including Marlon Marshall, a Clinton old-timer who is in overall charge of the states—the Clinton campaign has 14 staffers in South Carolina who have been hard at it for six months, using the same organising methods as Mr Obama. Mr Sanders has held two rallies in South Carolina; Mrs Clinton, who has held three, has in addition built networks of over 2,600 semi-autonomous volunteers, in black churches, schools and neighbourhoods, and through them made contact with over 100,000 voters. “It’s people talking to people that wins elections,” said Mr Marshall, while briefing 25 neighbourhood leaders in Charleston this week. “That old-school organising.”

In the next room, another dozen volunteers were working the phones, recruiting helpers for the 50 phone banks they aimed to have running at the weekend. They were overseen by a formidable 61-year-old, Miss Brenda, who, having been forced into early retirement by the federal government, said she had found in Mrs Clinton’s struggles an inspiration for her own. “I’m one of those people who’s been knocked down but not knocked out,” she said. “Hillary’s like that. She’s a fighter.”

A history of Hillary

Yet, even among her supporters, not many have such strong feelings for Mrs Clinton—which is why her position may be more fragile than it seems. In part, her wilting ratings represent the inevitable settling of a contest which she entered with stellar ratings and no serious challenger. They also reflect her leaden-footed failings as a campaigner. She should have admitted her error over the e-mail scandal; instead she obfuscated, dragging it out, before issuing a grudging apology. At the first hint of a challenge from Mr Sanders, she should have become more visible, voluble and open to interrogation, as he is. She has instead been distant and controlled, a risk-averse establishment candidate in an iconoclastic time.

This appears to have reminded some Democrats of what they dislike in Mrs Clinton—her elite status, sharp edges and history of getting into trouble. Even some of her most notable Carolinian supporters, whom your correspondent was encouraged to call by her campaign team, showed little enthusiasm for her. “I don’t feel the excitement we used to feel,” said Joyce Dickerson, a county councillor in Columbia, who said she had no plans to campaign for Mrs Clinton. “She didn’t make calls for me, so I ain’t going to make calls for her.”

The fact is, Mrs Clinton is still strong in the South; yet talk of a firewall there belies how dynamic politics is. An awful result in the early primaries would change voters’ perceptions of her everywhere. Southern voters will also by then know more about her rivals—especially if Mr Biden runs. Her decision to replicate Mr Obama’s campaign machine is wise; but unless she can get her volunteers fired up and ready to go, there is no guarantee it will work. Not quite fireproof | The Economist
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Old 5th October 2015, 19:41
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Lexington - Ben Carson, false idol - Republicans are deluded if they think the soft-spoken surgeon is their saviour
Oct 3rd 2015 THE ECONOMIST

MERICA is having a Ben Carson moment. In July half of all Republicans told pollsters they had no clear sense of Dr Carson, a 64-year-old retired brain surgeon. Now he has surged to the front of the field of Republican presidential hopefuls. A recent poll put him within a percentage point of Donald Trump, the raucous property magnate who dominated politics all summer.

Dr Carson is not raucous. Softly-spoken, even drowsy, he shares Mr Trump’s disdain for conventional politics and his impatience with the detail of policy. Like his rival he presents himself as a providential outsider, entering the arena to save a great nation in peril. But whereas Mr Trump specialises in finger-jabbing, red-faced theatrics, Dr Carson offers a surgeon’s lofty calm.

Both men’s campaigns are built around striking life stories. Mr Trump, born into wealth and obsessed with success, promises to turn ordinary folk into “winners”. Dr Carson was brought up by a black single mother in Detroit. Hot-headed as well as poor, he nearly killed a teenage rival before finding God and his medical calling. He has long been hailed in schools and inner-city churches as a role model for black youth. His memoirs, entitled “Gifted Hands” and recording such triumphs as the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head, are a staple of Christian homeschool curriculums.

Asked about his success in an interview aboard his campaign bus this week, Dr Carson talked of an “awakening”, as Americans start to “think for themselves”. His bus is decorated with the slogan “Heal, Inspire, Revive”, as well as the names of thousands of children in tiny letters, each representing a $50 donation (children’s names paid for the whole bus in three days). If such language carries echoes of earlier, religious Great Awakenings, that is no accident. Recalling his decision to run for the presidency, Dr Carson described a moment of prayer: “I said to God: ‘All the pundits say it is impossible’.” Nonetheless, if his Creator proved the pundits wrong and opened all doors in his path, then he would walk through them, he promised. Now, he said, those doors “appear to be flying open. So I am going to keep walking.”

Dr Carson has collected $20m in mostly small donations in the past three months. Aides boast of his 4m followers on Facebook—a group whose most impassioned members are devout white women over 40. As a black Republican he offers white conservatives something unique in the 2016 field: ferocious criticism of Barack Obama that cannot be called racist.

The doctor is not one for back-slapping bonhomie. Campaign staff arranged for his bus to stop at a well-loved barbecue restaurant in Lexington, North Carolina. Leaving his bus, Dr Carson was asked by a news agency reporter if he liked barbecue. “No,” replied the candidate, who as a Seventh-Day Adventist is a vegetarian. The mood was polite but not effusive as he greeted diners at their tables. It took the arrival of a family of openly ardent Christians to generate real warmth. Nelson Citta brought his wife and two young daughters to meet Dr Carson after driving past and seeing his parked campaign bus. “Excellent, excellent,” said Dr Carson, waggling his fists happily upon learning that the Citta girls are educated at home by their parents.

The world of Christian philanthropy is Dr Carson’s home turf. It is often an admirable place. He and his wife founded a scholarship programme for children from poor schools. He beamed as he toured a camp for sick and disabled children, built in North Carolina by a former NASCAR racing champion, Richard Petty. Dr Carson admired a theatre, bowling alley, car-racing museum and doughnut counter, each bearing a corporate sponsor’s logo. A proper role for government is to facilitate private-sector philanthropy, he enthused. Praising Mr Petty’s generosity, he added: “If we all took that attitude, we could take care of all our people.”

Back on his bus, Dr Carson extolled America’s traditions of voluntary assistance, praising pioneer settlements in which neighbours would bring in the crops of a farmer injured during harvest season, as “the expected thing to do”. He has a talent for using parables to tell conservatives that they can have something they already want—a radically smaller government—and that, with “smart people” in charge, there will be no trade-offs, and indeed benefits for the poor. Thus when he calls for a 15% flat tax on income—a proposal that would offer high-earners huge tax cuts—he presents it as a biblically inspired “tithe” that would not harm public finances, in part because he would impose a three- or four-year hiring ban across the federal government and across-the-board spending cuts. As his bus rumbled along, Dr Carson grumbled about the “myth” that he would abolish government safety nets. Not at all, he said. When private charity grows, public safety nets will simply become “considerably less relevant”.

Pious populism

Aides have dubbed Dr Carson’s bus the “Healer Hauler”. Alas, he brings little real healing to the country’s unending culture wars. His murmuring tone often delivers hard-edged claims: that America is living in a “Gestapo age” of government bullying and political correctness, that Mr Obama lies like a “psychopath”, or that abortion clinics cluster in black neighbourhoods to “control that population”. Dr Carson recently saw campaign donations surge after he said he would not advocate that a Muslim-American could be president, unless that Muslim declared loyalty to the constitution above Islamic law—a disavowal that he suggested would make such a Muslim a heretic. When criticism followed, he declared that “dangerous forces” threaten the country.

Dr Carson, an accomplished man, has spent years in a cocoon of adulation. Now he is having his moment on a larger, more harshly lit stage. His fans are rallying round: “Our family is praying for you constantly,” a young mother told him on a Carolina roadside. But his appeal is too narrow to win him the nomination. His moment will peak, then pass. Ben Carson, false idol | The Economist
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Old 8th October 2015, 16:29
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Unemployed Single Mother In Rubio Speech Told Candidate About Her Problems In Confidence
NEWS IN BRIEF - THE ONION
Oct 1, 2015 Vol 51 Issue 39 Politics Politicians Election 2016

CEDAR FALLS, IA—Describing her shock and embarrassment upon learning that her personal struggles were shared with an entire campaign rally audience, 37-year-old Allison Kilpatrick, an unemployed single mother that Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio mentioned in a recent stump speech, informed reporters Thursday that she told the candidate about her problems in confidence. “Jesus Christ, I thought this was going to stay between me and him, but then I turn on the evening news and hear him mentioning every little detail of my life,” said a deeply hurt and outraged Kilpatrick after the candidate cited her crippling mortgage debt during a speech on the economy, adding that she never would have told Rubio she’d been relying on food stamps if she knew he was going to turn right around and disclose it to thousands of political supporters. “Seriously, what the hell? My whole family is going to hear about this. I don’t want my 12-year-old son worrying about how I lie awake wondering if I’m going to be able to pay for his clothes, let alone his college education, just because this guy can’t keep his mouth shut. Unbelievable.” Kilpatrick added that she now knows to simply tell presidential candidates she is doing just fine and that she has no trouble providing nightly meals and necessary medications to her family members the next time one of them asks.
Unemployed Single Mother In Rubio Speech Told Candidate About Her Problems In Confidence - The Onion - America's Finest News Source
====================
I thought THE ONION article was appropriate for this subforum, while quashing Siefert's (Rossiski troll) post. He gets paid every time anyone answers his offensive posts.
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