Coming out of Iowa, former Speaker Newt Gingrich was hopping mad about Mitt Romney’s campaign and advertisements being run by a Super PAC supporting the “timid Massachusetts moderate.” In fact, so incensed was he that he unleashed his lawyer on the PAC this past week. In both interviews and debate comments, he has referred to the ads as “garbage” and said that Romney should be embarrassed to show them to his grandchildren.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Newt reacts to this news.
Billionaire Adelson gives millions to Gingrich Super PAC
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has given $5 million to an independent committee supporting GOP presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich, the first of what is expected to be many millions the Las Vegas billionaire plans to spend this election year.
The check from Adelson is the latest in an avalanche of campaign cash flooding the presidential season to independent groups known as Super PACs The check was cut on Friday to Winning Our Future, a group run by former Gingrich associates, according to two people close to the donor.
A person close to Adelson said that the billionaire planned to spend at least another $5 million during the campaign — either to the Gingrich-linked group or to the winner of the Republican nomination for president — and that the initial check was intended to keep Gingrich competitive in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
Some of Newt’s previous comments may come back to haunt him here. He has come out and, at a minimum, at least heavily implied that Romney was in some way involved in his Super PAC’s products, since it’s run by friends and former staffers. Romney, of course, insists that it would be illegal to do so and he “hasn’t even seen” some of the clips.
Now, if others follow Adelson’s lead, a Gingrich Super PAC is going to have to do something with all of that money, and it’s probably going to go into major media buys in South Carolina and Florida hammering Romney as hard as they possibly can. He’ll also realize – assuming he somehow doesn’t know it already – that he really can’t control what the PACs do. If some of the ads are really nasty, will he rush out to disavow his own PAC supporters and call for their ads to come down?
I see a lot of media types talking about Super PAC activities not being coordinated with the campaigns and doing so with a wink and a nod. As in, “Oh suuuure they’re not coordinating.” I find this annoying. I’ve only had one direct experience involving a Super PAC, and that one was Karl Rove’s outfit, American Crossroads. They jumped in to our congressional race in 2010 during the final two months and unleashed a major set of ad buys across the district. Care to guess when my candidate and I found out about it?
We read about it in the Wall Street Journal the same day everyone else found out. A reporter in our district knew about it before I did and I was the Director of Communications. Nobody from American Crossroads every contacted us and we never saw the ads until they showed up on TV. Why? I’m guessing because nobody wanted to go to jail.
Just something to ponder while we wait for the Gingrich supporters to unleash the hounds. And that should be happening in roughly 3… 2…