2008 and counting: Thompson’s Calif. donors back his rivals in ’08 race

California donors to Fred Thompson’s Senate campaigns have not been holding their breath to see if the movie and television celebrity will jump into the presidential race, instead contributing to the war chests of both Democratic and Republican hopefuls.

In the 1990s, the Tennessee legislator was one of those rare Republicans who showed he can raise a lot of money in Hollywood, as many saw the actor as one of their own.
ADVERTISEMENT

But in those campaigns there wasn’t a Democrat on the other side named Clinton or Obama.

While a few of Thompson’s California donors have gone with Democrats, those Republicans who have stayed with the GOP have been backing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death MORE (Ariz.).

Eagles lead singer Don Henley and his family donated $2,000 to Thompson in 1996, but they have since contributed thousands of dollars to Democrats, including former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).

California Republican heavyweight David Horowitz, who has not endorsed a candidate, told The Hill that the West Coast Republicans he has talked to are supporting Giuliani or Romney, but more seem to be backing the former mayor.

Given that, Horowitz said, Thompson would likely try to run as the more conservative candidate; he will “run to the right of Giuliani, which will make him less attractive to the [Gov.] Arnold [Schwarzenegger] constituency.”

“Arnold has made the state very friendly to deviant Republicans,” Horowitz joked.

Frank Price, an entertainment executive who in the 1990s was with the Creative Artists Agency and a Thompson donor, has given generously to Giuliani this year.

Thompson’s spokesman, Mark Corallo, said the former senator-cum-actor has maintained a lot of his relationships in the Golden State, and should he decide to get in the race, he anticipates a lot of that support will still be there.

“Fred Thompson has many friends and supporters in California,” Corallo said in an e-mail. “He has known some of them for years.  Others are new friends. Should he decide to enter the race, he will find lots of support across California.”


Edwards’s senior adviser also Clinton donor

Cable executive Leo Hindery, who was named senior economic adviser to former Sen. John Edwards’s (D-N.C.) campaign this week, has a history of giving lots of campaign cash to both friends and Edwards rivals.

While Hindery has maxed out in donations to Edwards, he has also given the primary maximum of $2,300 to Edwards foe Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

“You do these things in part … out of loyalty and friendship,” Hindery said when asked about the contributions to Clinton.

Hindery was mentioned as a possible replacement for Terry McAuliffe when the latter stepped down as chairman of the Democratic National Committee following the 2004 presidential election.

But in 1994 and 1996, Hindery and his family, who were based in California at the time, also contributed thousands of dollars to former Sen. Fred Thompson’s (R-Tenn.) Senate campaigns.

Hindery said he has never met the probable Republican presidential candidate, and he contributed only as a favor to his friend, Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (R-Tenn.).

— Sam Youngman and Brittney Moraski


Richardson announces new and old backers

At first glance, Bill Richardson’s (D) campaign appeared to have issued a fairly significant news release yesterday as the New Mexico governor “announced” the support of four House members: Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas), Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 MORE (D-Texas), and Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas).

But half of the release’s information turns out to be old news. Richardson had already announced the Reyes and Green endorsements in a May 18 release. A spokeswoman for the campaign did not comment by press time yesterday.

Counting both his old and new backers, Richardson has seven endorsements from congressional members.

The Hill’s website has a constantly updated list of congressional endorsements at http://thehill.com/endorsements-2008.html .

— Bob Cusack


Obama, Romney spell out  foreign policy

Lawmakers often complain that complex policy issues cannot be boiled down to YouTube clips and 15-second sound bites.
But the top presidential contenders should not despair: Foreign Affairs magazine has invited all of them to submit essays on their foreign policy vision and tap into their inner wonk.

The first two up at bat are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump has 62 percent disapproval rating in new AP poll Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Obama explains decision to get into movie business: 'We all have a sacred story' MORE (D-Ill.). The two essays, which appear in the magazine’s July issue, make for a study in contrasts, especially on Iraq.

Romney’s essay makes only one direct reference to the Bush administration — and none to President Bush himself. But his prescriptions largely hew to current policy. On Iraq, he argues that withdrawal is not an option.

Without going into details, Romney offers an underlying reason as to why he thinks an Iraq pullout would spell such danger: the threat of radical Islam just as “irrational” and “real” as the threats posed by Stalin’s Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Iraq is only part of that much larger struggle, he concludes.

Obama repeats his call to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008, while the remaining troops would focus on training Iraqis and battling al Qaeda. “We cannot impose a military solution on a civil war between Sunni and Shiite factions,” he argues.

To stabilize the broader Middle East, Obama writes, the U.S. must engage more vigorously in the Arab-Israeli peace process, open talks with Iran and Syria, and reject the idea of permanent bases in Iraq. He also discusses at length how to combat the threat of unsecured nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands.

Managing editor Gideon Rose told The Hill that more essays are forthcoming, but the list of contributions has not been finalized. “It’s a long campaign, so we thought we’d get started early,” said Rose.

— Helen Fessenden