You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation


I can't believe there wasn't more gloating on the liberal blogs yesterday about this story (emphasis added):

The recent collapse on Wall Street appears to have found another victim: the independent political groups aiming to make an impact on the 2008 elections....

[F]undraising consultants say the economic collapse ultimately slammed the door. One of the groups expected to emerge as a major player, the conservative Freedom's Watch, hinted that it could spend as much as $200 million on congressional races around the country.

Freedom's Watch launched with a splash, announcing an advisory board that included figures such as billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. A year ago, the group launched the first round of what it said would become a steadily escalating barrage of ads with a $15 million campaign supporting President Bush's Iraq war strategy.

"We're forming a never-ending campaign," Bradley Blakeman, a former White House aide who was among the founders, said at the time. "We're taking on generational issues that are not decided at the ballot box."

An early infusion of donations fueled $30 million in expenditures, including ads seeking to influence several congressional special elections. But as November approached, several of the moguls who had been supporting the group became distracted by their own financial distress.

Perhaps most notable among them was Adelson. As his company, Las Vegas Sands, struggled through steep September declines, Adelson saw $4 billion of his personal fortune evaporate as a result of the slumping national economy, and that was before the slow-motion stock market crash. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that between Aug. 29 and Oct. 1, Adelson suffered the steepest drop among those who lost $1 billion or more during the credit crisis....


The slowdown in giving appears to have had a disproportionate impact on Republicans. Obama holds an enormous money advantage in the closing weeks of the campaign. His ads have been bolstered by mail and phone-bank efforts largely financed by labor unions. The AFL-CIO alone has directed more than $50 million to persuade its members to support Obama and other Democrats. 

--Michael Crowley