Wall Street hearts Mitt: It’s no surprise, but the the latest round of campaign-finance disclosures show that Mitt Romney’s “biggest sources of cash in recent months have been top financial firms.” Employees of Goldman Sachs Group alone have given almost $1 million to Romney Victory, a joint fundraising committee, over the past three months. Hedge fund guru Paul Singer’s company gave $818,000 to the fund, while Romney’s former company Bain Capital gave $802,000, and its sister Bain & Company gave $175,000. All together, Romney Victory, a pool of money that will fund both Romney and House and Senate candidates, brought in $140 million over the past three months.
Public sides with Obama in tax fight: By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans favor President Obama’s plan to let the Bush tax cuts on income over $250,000 expire at the end of the year over Republicans’ plan to preserve the tax cuts for all income brackets. According to a new Pew Poll, 44 percent believe raising taxes on higher income will help the economy, while 22 percent believe it will hurt. Even 55 percent of Republicans believe raising taxes on higher incomes “would either make the system more fair or have no impact.” Republican lawmakers have said they will block Democrats’ attempt to extend the tax cuts on income below $250,000, demanding that the upper-income cuts be extended too.
$50 million man: Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson anted up another $10 million to the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, the latest round of campaign-finance disclosures show. While it’s unclear how much he has given to dark-money groups that don’t have to disclose their donors, his donations to more transparent super PACs alone have now topped $50 million, including his $5 million donation reported yesterday and the $36.5 million we knew about last month. Meanwhile, he may have given at least an additional $35 million to dark-money “social welfare” groups. It's likely he's already become the largest individual campaign donor in recent history.
And then there were three: Mitt Romney may have already made up his mind on who he’ll pick for the vice-presidential slot, and Reuters reports it’s probably one of three: Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. All have been believed to be top contenders for months, though Jindal is perhaps more unexpected.
Republicans call in big guns on defense cuts: Republican lawmakers are desperately trying to head off the defense cuts they agreed to when they signed up for last year’s debt-reduction deal, and they’ve called in former Vice President Dick Cheney to help twist arms on Capitol Hill to preserve their precious weapons programs. The scheduled defense cuts in the so-called sequester, the trigger mechanism that went into effect when the debt-reduction supercommittee failed to reach a deal, will go into effect at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t act.
Ironically, Roll Call notes, “When he served as Defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush, [Cheney] helped formulate massive cuts to the Pentagon budget.” In Bush’s 1992 State of the Union address, the president said that Cheney “recommended these cuts after consultation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And I make them with confidence ... The reductions I have approved will save us an additional $50 billion over the next five years. By 1997, we will have cut defense by 30 percent since I took office.”