Their own private convention

GOP mega-donors get their own convention; Romney's energy giveaway; and other top Friday stories

Topics: Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney, 2012 Elections, Campaign Finance,

Their own private convention

Their own private convention: Forget the main hall in Tampa at the Republican National Convention next week, “The real action will be with the Republican mega-donors gathered in arena skyboxes, closed-door hotel ballrooms and pricey restaurants around town,” Politico reports. Big donors will have something like their own, private convention along the sidelines of the RNC. Party heavyweights like Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, Karl Rove, Haley Barbour and Condoleezza Rice will deliver personalized briefings, pep talks and fundraising appeals as the real business gets done away from the media and riff-raff of delegates and grass-roots activist. One unnamed Washington lobbyist even rented out an entire, massive 22,000-square-foot restaurant for the duration of the convention to hold private functions.

Don’t say abortion: A reporter in Colorado who interviewed Mitt Romney yesterday said the campaign told her she was not allowed to ask the presumed Republican presidential nominee about abortion or Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on the issue and rape. She obliged, she said, because she was afraid the campaign would cancel the interview otherwise. The Romney campaign denied that they put any restrictions on most interviews. “This is not how we operate,” a campaign official told TPM. “The matter is being addressed.”

Romney’s energy giveaway: Mitt Romney’s energy plan would return much control to the states, proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands. State regulators usually have a lighter touch than federal regulators, which could increase production, but also make for riskier operations. “Giving states control over the energy resources on millions of acres of federal lands would be a radical shift from decades of policies under both Democratic and Republican presidents, dating all the way to Theodore Roosevelt, who first set aside vast tracts of territory to preserve wildlife,” the New York Times notes. Someone close to the campaign’s energy advisers said the policy was drafted in close consultation with the oil , gas and coal industries.

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What I learned from my summer vacation, er, 14-year career: Romney penned an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal today called, “What I Learned at Bain Capital.” The Op-Ed highlights his experience at Bain running several companies, including one that has shown up in Obama campaign attack ads. “The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington,” Romney writes. Conservatives have been pushing Romney to tout his record at Bain more stridently, but yesterday’s release of a cache of documents on his records underscores the problem with focusing on Bain.

Breivik sentenced: Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced to maximum prison term today after judges declared him sane. Breivik killed 77 people last year in a self-styled fight against Islam and multiculturalism. Breivik was completely unrepentant as the sentence was read, and was pleased to be deemed sane as he thought it would give his hateful message more credence. The maximum sentence in Norway is only 21 years, but he can be held beyond that if deemed a threat to society, as he almost certainly will be.

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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