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Evan Bayh Turns 50

What better way to celebrate your 50th birthday than at a fundraiser with several hundred of your closest friends?

Sen. Evan Bayh is laying the groundwork for a White House run. Above, the Indiana senator speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner in late October. (AP Photo)

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) will do just that tomorrow night at a black tie event in his homestate slated to raise $600,000 for his campaign committee. Bayh's father -- former Sen. Birch Bayh -- is one of several guests scheduled to address the crowd.

Bayh's expected fundraising take from the event is among the largest single-night hauls in the history of Indiana politics. So why would a senator who just won reelection with 62 percent of the vote last November and has $7.2 million in the bank (as of the end of September) spend his 50th birthday raising money?

Two words -- presidential politics. Bayh has his eye on the 2008 Democratic nomination and has already spent considerable time this year on the rubber chicken circuit to prove he can belongs in the ring with financial titans like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).  Through his leadership political action committee -- All America PAC -- Bayh raised $1.2 million in the first six months of the year, more than the leadership PAC of any other potential 2008 contender other than Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Any money banked in his Senate account can be transferred to a presidential committee -- providing a considerable jumpstart to a national bid.

In the next week Bayh will be in Texas, Chicago, New Jersey and New York to raise money.  To date in 2005, he has traveled to 22 states.

While Bayh will never match the tens (and possibly hundreds) of millions Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly raise should she run in 2008, he is positioning himself to have plenty of cash on hand in hopes of emerging as the primary alternative to Hillary in the primaries. 

Bayh's birthday, by the way, is actually Dec. 26 -- a less convenient day to raise campaign cash.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 1, 2005; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Frist Heads to the Granite State


You should be ashamed for voting for Bush. Anyone with even half a brain would have known that he is a piece of crap who only does things which benefit the rich, elite and corporate wealthy of this nation. Bush's keepers and handlers include large corporate America and the Project for a New American Centery. If you bow down and worship them then Bush will be more then happy to be your daddy. Bush and the current genre of republican lawmakers are not conservative, not of the people and definitely not for the people. Plutocracy is what they stand for with them and rich constituents making up the rich small ruling class of the country.

Posted by: Richard White | August 3, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I am so ashamed that I wasted my vote on a low life oligarch like george warmonger bush. It is clear that 21st century republicanism is all about making the rich richer by screwing over the middle class and poor to get there. Even human lives mean nothing to this current generation of republicans and their daddy bush. There is a very special dark place in hell for bush and his supporters and the religious right wing of this nation should be very ashamed by the fact that they let the republican party take advantage of their ignorance and one dimensional voting behavior in order to seize power. I will never make the mistake of voting republican ever again. Thanks for all the memories GOP.

Posted by: Lycan | July 3, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I am so ashamed that I wasted my vote on a low life oligarch like george warmonger bush. It is clear that 21st century republicanism is all about making the rich richer by screwing over the middle class and poor to get there. Even human lives mean nothing to this current generation of republicans and their daddy bush. There is a very special dark place in hell for bush and his supporters and the religious right wing of this nation should be very ashamed by the fact that they let the republican party take advantage of their ignorance and one dimensional voting behavior in order to seize power. I will never make the mistake of voting republican ever again. Thanks for all the memories GOP.

Posted by: Lycan | July 3, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Evan Bayh has done so many thing for Indiana that he deserves my vote. He expanded education, healthcare, while balancing the budget and creating over 350,000 new jobs as Governor. He has worked for those who need it the most while Richard Lugar has worked for those who need it the least. I am a native of Indiana, and I support Evan Bayh because I would like to see how he ran Indiana translated to running the country.

Evan Bayh 2008!

Posted by: Josh | December 10, 2005 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Democrats as a whole remind one of an enemy more dangerous that Saddam and his generation of terrorists. They are from Dean through Murtha seditionists

Posted by: Billgls Amarillo, Texas | December 6, 2005 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Actually I learned about Evan Bayh while working in the Senate for 3 years and watching him. What kind of principles can he possibly have that he would vote FOR the huge 2003 tax cuts one week and AGAINST them the next?? Bayh does not stand for any values except the promotion of his own political career. He even voted for the constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning. John Edwards even had the decency to vote against that! I guess Bayh doesn't really believe in the freedom of speech. And don't even get me started on his outrageous "fatherhood" crap. Bayh is no more a Democrat than Joe Lieberman. And with Democrats like that, who needs Republicans?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 4, 2005 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Evan Bayh was a damn good governor and is a damn good senator. He stands for tradional Democrat values. He is for fiscal discipline, more funding for health care, and education, family values, strong national security, and progressive foreign policy. I would vote Bayh in a heart beat. I seen him speak many times, and he had charisma. Since, Bayh will run on his governor record more than his senate record he would not be just another senator. Like he said, I am not a senator, but a governor with foreign policy experience. A Bayh-Warner ticket would be powerful. If in 2008, the war in Iraq and National Security are just as important as they are now, it would be smart for Bayh to pick Wes Clark, a good old four star Southern General. Let's pray that Bayh wins the nomination because he would take back the White House.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | December 4, 2005 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Sandwich -- you don't know what you're talking about. Evan Bayh was a great Gov and he's been a solid Senator. I don't like his war support, but he's said that he realizes it was a bad vote now. You obviously know nothing about his record and can only recite Green Party talking points against him. Greens are about the only folks in Indiana who don't like Bayh. Bayh's soulless? You probably figured that out the same way Bushie determined that Putin was a "good man."

Bayh clearly cares for and fights for the working men and women of Indiana, which is the reason he's been elected 5 straight times even in the midst of this state's surge to the right.

Posted by: h_o_o_s_i_e_rTen | December 3, 2005 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Bayh-Obama in 2008 would be impressive and bold move. However, Obama needs more season experience.

Bayh-Warner could make inroads into the red states but may turn off some of the liberal crowd which is needed in close races places like Minnesota, Iowa Washington, Michigan, Ohio and PA.

Bayh-HRC would take some the edge off the anti-Clinton crap the right wingers will sling. She would be great for Bayh as she would be fundraisr in chief. This combination would be an absolute winner. I know the GOP will go after HRC, but guess what they are going to play dirty anyway. They'd run the liberal tag on Newt Gingrich if he registered as a Democrat.

Posted by: db | December 3, 2005 6:18 PM | Report abuse

How has Evan Bayh been great for Indiana? What integrity does he have--the fact that he licks his finger and sticks it to the wind on every vote rather than having a single principle to stand on? How does Bayh have "what it takes" to win the presidency in 2008? How would he even win any primaries? Indiana is the state of my birth, and I promise you he won't get my vote!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 3, 2005 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Sandwich Repairman bye, bye,and hello Senator Bayh! He's been great for the state of Indiana. We need more like Bayh in our arena. Bayh has what it takes to win the 08 election and the GOP and it's rank and file are VERY worried because they have no one close to Bayh's integrity!

Posted by: me | December 2, 2005 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd vote for Birch Bayh before his soulless, spineless, shamelessly unprincipled son Evan. You want a rehash of one of Kerry's worst gaffes last year? Bayh voted FOR the 2003 tax cuts before he switched his vote and voted AGAINST them. How do you change your mind on a huge tax cut package in a matter of days? What kind of Democrat is he? I have no use for him. Bye bye, Bayh!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 2, 2005 5:02 PM | Report abuse

hehehehehe...check this out

Posted by: h_o_o_s_i_e_rTen | December 2, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Primary-state Democrats decided in 2004 they'd like to date one candidate but marry another. In the 2008 cycle, there will be flirtations with HRC ending in a marriage with EB. It's only a matter of when--and how much money will be wasted in the interim. Let's unite behind Evan Bayh now!

Posted by: Bayh-partisan | December 2, 2005 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Jay, Anti-HRC = Anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton

Evan Bayh is (and will be in 2008) the Democrats best chance to take back the White House.

Let's be honest. A HRC led ticket would result in GOP ads reminding voters of Bill's past White House extra curricular activities and what he might do while once again residing at the White House.

Other top tier (potential) D candidates have already lost a national election to a guy they should have easily beat.

Let's nominate a candidate who can win in November.

EVAN BAYH IN 2008!!!

Posted by: CMP | December 2, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Everyone I talk to about Evan Bayh has said that he would be a great candidate if he had more "charisma." I am from Indiana and I never heard this comment before he was mentioned as a potential presidential candidate. Personally, I have never felt this way and I have seen him speak several times. Most Hoosiers rememeber him as a great governor and it would take a lot to ever unseat him as a Senator. I would say that people from Indiana are typically wary of politicians and pretty hard to impress so maybe there is something that others are choosing not to see in Evan. Happy Birthday to him!

Posted by: Hoosier in DC | December 2, 2005 10:33 AM | Report abuse

hey DB, what do you mean anti-HRC? are you refering the the human rights campaign, the gay/lesbian group?
if you are, then i can only assume that this is a ringing endorsement. i am a gay man, a hoosier, and a bayh fan in 2008.
the HRC is a joke. they are a bunch of rich-ish mostly white gay guys running 'round in tuxes having fundraisers all the time where they remind one another how much of a differece they are making. nonsense. the only thing substantive that the HRC has done in recent memory is rally (in their shrill way) behind the gay marrige thing. this of course, made us easy targets for the radical right.
if bayh is anti-HRC, then as you say, then he is okay with me.
jay lassiter

Posted by: jay lassiter | December 2, 2005 9:19 AM | Report abuse

They oughta ask Frist about how to dump stocks in a hurry and get away with it. How long did Martha Stewart have to serve in the can for doing the same thing? These Republicans and some Democrats are sooo corruptible. They ought to set limits on how much you can spend while running for office. Absolutely no corporate donations and a set limit on individuals. Set up a monitoring program to track all donations being spent on the National races. Ban the various lobbiests to 5 miles away from Congress. Break up these conglomerates and corporations and force them into smaller companies or corporations. I saw letter in a newspaper from Pittsburgh that said something like: That the elected officials salaries are as much as the median income of the nation. Nothing like this bunch of Republican felonious and moronic imbiciles, that obviously have their hands out to the highest bidder, to be in charge of our country. And on up to the Bush administration who mired us into another Vietnam just so his adminstration, friends, family?, and political donors and cronies are reaping windfall profits of blood money, in oil and wartime contracts, off the backs of 2110 dead American service men and women, even more Mercenaries(contractors), the dwindling number of the "Coalition of the Willing"(2 more pulling out of Iraq), and the countries of the "Coalition of the Willing". Investigate and then impeach the crooks starting at the top!

Posted by: Deuces | December 2, 2005 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Bayh is the anti-HRC candidate along with Warner in VA. As to the comments on electing a Senator, he was a two term governor in a red state.

I dont know about is charisma factor., He does have good hair which is important. Bayh can deliver Indiana and Warner can deliver Virginia. Add the blue states and red states and switch these two from red to blue and Dems win.

I am always amazed about how the perception is the Dems lose in terms of the Presidency. Yes they did, but they ran two flawed candidates. Gore lost due the Supreme court. However, it should have never come to that. Gore lost West Va a democratic state because of ads that said he would take away guns and stop strip mining. Gore never said this, but Rove ran the ads and they stuck. There were other places like WV the GOP targeted and were effective. Also, Gore lost because of one sentence that he was supposed to have said... I invented the internet.

Kerry lost because middle America could not identify with him. Aloof, Boston accent and wishy washy. "I voted for the war but I didn't vote for the war" was quite effective.

If Dems can avoid a repeat of these mistakes and put a charismatic face with experience they can win in some of the red states such as Missouri, West Va, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico, Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
What I would find as a great discussion is there a GOP candidate out there that can win in a blue state, if not the Dems simply need to protect their blue state base and pick-off 1 or 2 red states. Hence a Bayh-Warner ticket or Warner-Bayh ticket could accomplish this. Bayh has more experience but Warner may be the better campaigner.

Posted by: db | December 1, 2005 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I live in Indiana and, through Bayh's eight years as governor and now 5+ in the US Senate ... he has certainly established an admirable record.

Politicians will always have skeletons in their closets, but any Democrat that can get elected to two terms in the statehouse and twice to the Senate ... now that is something in GOP-heavy Indiana!!

He did next to nothing in terms of campaigning in the 2004 election and still cruised into 62% of the vote.

Bayh in 08? We can hope!!

Posted by: MS | December 1, 2005 6:13 PM | Report abuse

In response to WJ, I assume every Senator who runs for President believes they will be the one to break the jinx.

Posted by: SJ | December 1, 2005 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Has nobody in Washington considered political history? Judging from at least a century of Presidential elections, governors (and ex-governors) will beat Senators. Every time.

I can see why Senators might not want to look at that, but surely someone (in either party) might want to give it some thought.

Posted by: wj | December 1, 2005 4:09 PM | Report abuse

chris - i know there's a lot of them, but i wonder if you could do a roundup of the various '08 aspirants' money standings - name, total in the bank, raised in the last quarter (or however frequently they report), and whether they have a campaign in '06. it'd be nice to have some sense of scale, and an idea of where people stand when talking about these things. thanks for all the interesting reporting.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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