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McCain Elevates Loeffler

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to name former Rep. Tom Loeffler (R-Texas) as his consigliere for the 2008 presidential race, bringing a longtime friend and backer into the inner circle of the Arizona Senator's national campaign.

Loeffler will play a similar role to that of Don Evans during then Texas Gov. George W. Bush's 2000 campaign, managing McCain's interests across a variety of intersecting universes -- donors, lobbyists Capitol Hill and the executive branch.

"No one understands the critical elements of a campaign from a major finance and geopolitical level better than Tom Loeffler who's played on this stage in many, many campaigns," said John Weaver, McCain's chief political strategist.

Sources close to McCain argue that no successful Republican presidential bid in the last several decades has been without a Loeffler-like figure who is extremely close to the candidate but also enjoys entree into a variety of key Republican spheres. Evans is the most recent example but McCain insiders also cite Bob Mosbacher in George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign.

Loeffler spent eight years in Congress -- from 1978 to 1986 -- representing the 21st district of Texas. During that time he served with McCain, who held a seat in the U.S. House from 1982 to 1986. The two men have known each other since the 1970s as both were mentored in politics by the late Texas Sen. John Tower. (Weaver also has long ties to Loeffler. He was the Congressman's deputy campaign manager in his unsuccessful 1986 gubernatorial campaign.)

After leaving Congress, Loeffler spent time in the Reagan Administration and then went on to found the Loeffler Group -- a lobbying shop. Loeffler has stayed actively involved in presidential politics, however, particularly on the fundraising end. In 2000 Loeffler served as then Texas Gov. George W. Bush's national finance co-chairman; four years later Loeffler was a "Super Ranger" for the Bush campaign -- meaning that he raised better than $500,000 for the president's re-election effort and the Republican National Committee.

While McCain is already benefiting from Loeffler's connections in the donor world, Loeffler's lobbying ties could be a source of some controversy for McCain. Loeffler has lobbied for Saudi Arabia for several years and has been richly rewarded. In the first six months of last year, The Loeffler Group collected more than $5 million in fees, according to a report in O'Dwyer's PR Services Report.

The elevation of Loeffler shows -- yet again -- that McCain is running as the establishment choice in the 2008 presidential race. Loeffler is an old guard establishment Republican who can (the McCain campaign hopes) vouch for him with contributors, lawmakers and other assorted wise men of the party.

Although recent national polls have shown McCain losing ground to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his campaign believes that in the end the sheer weight of McCain's support within the establishment of the Republican party will cripple the chances of people like Giuliani and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.). They should know -- that's exactly what happened to McCain's upstart bid against George W. Bush in 2000.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 7, 2007; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Parsing the Polls: Seeing a President
Next: Does Obama Have a Problem?


US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Barbour is the gov. of Miss., which has the worst unemployment rate in the nation. No thank you. I say that in 2008, the dream ticket for the Republicans is a McCain/Pawlenty ticket. That would be great! Not only for election day, but I think they would find real solutions to real problems America faces.

Posted by: reason | March 8, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

As the recent poll shows, more Americans are UNwilling to vote for a 72 year old man or a thrice married cross dresser then a morally strong Mormon, which is his only drawback. Romney is our country's only choice if we want to compete with Asia and maintain our title as the world's lone superpower. Mitt Romney will never embarrass the US while he is in office as Clinton did and Bush currently is. If Romney doesn't get the nomination, I am voting for a third party. I will never elect a man on his deathbed, a pro-choice republican, another Clinton, or a man who is already corrupt and has only been in the senate a mere couple years. Go Romney, you have all the Republicans back here in Massachusettes' support!

Posted by: Tyson | March 8, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

William: thanks for the background info on Brownback. Explains a lot although Romney isn't a Protestant either.

It isn't the issue of lesbianism or faux lesbianism on schools (which hurts no one) that dooms Coburn's candidacy. It's his very public position on it; makes him look like a nutbar.

Fiscal responsibility is a mantra of mine; I was a member of the Concord Coalition for a while but they seemed too laid back about the deficit. The larger stupidities of GWB frequently overshadow the need to comment on his gross fiscal irresponsibility. And politicians/political parties seem extremely willing to throw that under the bus in the name of holding onto power.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 8, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse


Re: Brownback, there isn't a lot of enthusiasm amongst conservatives for him.

This is for several reasons.

Firstly, although he may seem like a scary reactionary to liberals, he is quite moderate on key issues.

Immigration: Brownback favors amnesty (just like the Catholic Church), and voted for the Senate amnesty bill. He also voted to give govt benefits to illegals, and he voted against the border wall.

Brownback has always been kind of flakey on immigration. Interestingly, he has adopted a child from Guatemala (presumably legally.)

Death penalty/law and order - A lot of conservatives were like "WTF?" when Brownback insisted on spending a night in a maximum security prison a couple of months ago.

Seriously, what was the point of that? Doesn't he know that felons can't vote?

Apparently Brownback buys into that "restorative justice" garbage (just like the Catholic Church). He believes in rehabilitating dangerous criminals.

What a moron.

Brownback also thinks the death penalty should be used very rarely and opposes its use (just like the Catholic Church- are we noticing a pattern here?)

The only issues Brownback is really conservative on are gay marriage and abortion, and on those, he is too extreme to win the general.

On guns, Brownback claims to be pro-gun, but if we extrapolate his habit of parroting the RC Church view to guns, then he will want to ban those as well.

And him being Catholic is another reason why he doesn't really appeal to the base.

It isn't that big a deal, and conservatives would support Santorum if he ran, but in the back of their minds when evangelical conservatives think of Brownback, they think "It would be better if he were Protestant."

Brownback also lacks charisma.

Hagel is a RINO who is liberal on a LOT of issues. McCain is probably more conservative than he is.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Aussie: I believe you are referring to Barbour's lobbyist days?

Every politician is friendly to "Big" something. For most Dems, especially from the Rust Belt, that is Big Labor. Many Dems are close to the Hollywood elites, and to rich guys like Soros.

Barbour's extraordinary handling of Katrina is evidence of his excellent governing abilities.

He would do a great job, and is a solid conservative.

Judge: I'm surprised that you like Mark Sanford.

Tom Coburn may sound kind of extreme but I think the point he is trying to make is that the moral standards of our society are declining.

As a college student, I can personally testify that there is rampant lesbian behavior on campus, even amongst non-lesbians. For some reason, they enjoy acting lesbian. Possibly this is to show affection for their friends, or to get boys' attention.

In any case, Coburn doesn't want to throw lesbians in jail. He merely sees the need to address immoral behavior and encourage kids not to do it.

Coburn (like Sanford) is staunchly anti pork, and would make a good president. At the very least, he would keep spending in check and reduce the size of govt.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Is Chris Cillizza a pedophile?

There is no evidence for this whatsover, but since I'm suggestively asking the question in the title of my comment -- and since a couple more people will surely repeat the question or note that somebody has asked it -- a public perception may develop that Chris Cillizza is a pedophile.

Since he is a journalist and in the public eye, Cilliza will be "judged by higher standards", and "perception is reality".

Will such a perception that Cillizza is a pedophile lead to him being fired by the Post and become unhireable in the profession?

Posted by: mz | March 7, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

How do you feel about Barbour's friendliness to big tobacco William?

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

William: I'm partial to Mark Sanford myself. Coburn is Mr. Lesbian Sex Epidemic in Oklahoma School Bathrooms so I cannot take him seriously (and neither should you) even though I admire his concerns re spending and the fact that he teamed with Obama to sponsor legislation.

You didn't mention Brownback or Hagel; what about them?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The truth of the matter is that McCain is having a great deal of trouble raising the kind of money it takes these days to carry on a credible campaign. Apparently, a whole gaggle of big wallet Republicans simply feel McCain is too old and are looking for someone younger and with more vitality and with less health issues.

Posted by: George | March 7, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Judge - The "invisible primary" has more influence than one might realize.

It is disturbing and saddening, but the actual grassroots of either party don't have that much say.

For the People to actually decide, what needs to happen is that all caucuses are gotten rid of, and all primaries are scheduled for one day, to prevent candidates from trying to rig the process.

McCain is despised by conservatives, but he hopes that we will choose him over the two other frontrunners, Romney and Guiliani.

I, for, one, will not vote for McCain or Guiliani and probably not Romney.

Personally, as a conservative Republican, I hope we lose the 2008 election, as long as there is a reasonable Dem (who won't destroy the country in 4 years).

If Obama or HRC are the nominee, I will most likely vote for the Republican no matter who it is, but if Edwards or Richardson or even Biden or Dodd is the Dem nominee, I will vote Constitution Party to punish the GOP for abandoning conservatives. The only way I will vote Republican in 2008 is if Hunter, Gilmore or Tancredo is the nominee.

There are a number of great conservatives who will be in position to run in 2012, and who probably will run in 2012.

I would rather have a Dem for 4 years, and then a real conservative, rather than a RINO for 4 years, followed by a Dem or a reelected RINO.

And every election we win, it makes it harder to win the next one, since voters tire of one party rule.

If we win in 2008, that means in 2012 we will either be getting a RINO again or a Dem, and if it's a RINO again, in 2016 there is no way a conservative Republican can win since voters are not going to give us control of the WH for 20 years in a row.

I'm tired of liberal Republicans who sell out, like Bush.

Either the GOP comes up with a real conservative in 2008, or I will vote CP or even Dem to punish them.

I am completely willing to stomach a Dem for 4 years and have a renewed, 1994 style conservative GOP come roaring back in 2012.

In 2012, Hayley Barbour (my favorite) will probably run, and Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter or Tom Coburn may run as well.

I will give the Dems 2008 to get one of them in 2012.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Who cares. Mccain's staff is quitting now that he is offically "off the resevation" announcing on letterman indicates he is crazy. Ask wonkette. he is circling the bowl.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see that McCain hasn't given up. Not sure if the "sheer weight of McCain's support within the establishment of the Republican party will cripple the chances of people like Giuliani and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)" or not but it's a route McCain knows well. Given the well-documented, drifting, collective unhappiness that is the conservative base of the GOP perhaps he's right. The rank-and-file establishment may have more to say this time around.

Both Romney and Guiliani have many, many strikes against them within the evangelical community. Part of McCain's strategy must be to just hunker down and hope/wait for Guiliani's bubble to burst. November '08 is a long way off. Guiliani's "President of 9/11" strategy can only take him so far.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"...looks like we're having a better week. We diverted attention from that 2002 yes vote for state funded abortions while at the CPAC rally last week. ...and you listened this time and took two direct shots at John McCain. good job."

Posted by: Romney's hair to Mitt | March 7, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

McCain has firm inroads to the Republican establishment, but, at the end of the day, many elements of the base who vote in primaries still find him a sketchier figure than Giuliani.

Of course, if the GOP wants a coronation, they can have won.

McCain can't pull the weight of states Giuliani can; while both men appear stronger than their potential rival in Hillary Clinton, Giuliani makes for a better contrast. (Executive versus senator, not as tied to the War, not as tied to Bush. McCain wasn't as tied to Bush either, but he sure remedied that fast.)

Oh but what about Romney? The Pompadour that dreampt he was a candidate and loved it, but now the dream is over, and the candidate is awake.

Rumor has it Romney's hair is sentient. How will this affect his discision process? -- food for thought.

Seriously, Romney is in Gingrich territory. Gingrich should be viewed seriously if Romney is -- and both trail the big two above by gaping margins.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | March 7, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

' Loeffler has lobbied for Saudi Arabia for several years and has been richly rewarded. '

Yes, the country that brought us 9/11. Good choice, MCain. But nothing really matter to these people but money, does it?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The McCain strategy should be summed up as "If you can't beat them, join them"

The only problem is that 'them' are neo-bourgeoisie who care only about hording more and more wealth into their little fifedoms.

Posted by: Andy R | March 7, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

After Ohio's recount rigging convictions in Cuyahoga, is Coshocton County next?

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Online Journal Guest Writers

After the recent convictions of two Cuyahoga County Board of Election (BOE) workers for felony recount tampering, Republican County Prosecutor Robert Batchelor is stonewalling efforts to investigate similar well-documented charges in Coshocton County, Ohio.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections' third-ranking employee and an assistant manager were each convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct and a misdemeanor count of failing to perform their duties during the 2004 recount. The convictions stemmed from the secret pre-counting of precincts prior to the lawfully required open recount. The convicted election workers only allowed the pre-counted precincts that matched the official results to be used in the recount. This caused the special prosecutor to tell the jury that the election recount was "rigged" in Cuyahoga.

Testimony and eyewitness reports document similar activity in several Ohio counties regarding the illegal rigging of the 2004 recount.

The Green and Libertarian parties brought the Ohio 2004 recount after Democratic hopeful John Kerry conceded with nearly a quarter of million votes uncounted in the state. Under Ohio law, county boards of elections must set a "time and place fixed for making a recount" and "in the presence of all witnesses [who may] may be in attendance, shall open the sealed containers containing the ballots to be recounted and shall recount them." The sealed ballot containers are to be opened in front of BOE officials and recount candidates may "attend and witness the recount and may have any person whom the candidate designates attend and witness the recount," under ORC 3515.03.

It is illegal to secretly pre-count recount ballots. The BOE can't do a pre-count of ballots for whatever reason, secretly, after the certified vote goes to the state and after there has been a mandate for a statewide recount.

What happened in Coshocton County before the 2004 recount also appears to be a clear violation of Ohio law and could be damning for the Coshocton County BOE.

On December 8, 2004, Tim Kettler, the Coshocton County recount coordinator for Green presidential candidate David Cobb, was informed by a Coshocton County Board of Elections (BOE) employee that the county would officially recount on Tuesday, December 14.

For the rest please go to:

Posted by: che | March 7, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Washington jury convicts top Cheney aide of four felonies

By Patrick Martin
7 March 2007

The conviction of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis Libby is the first case in which a top Bush administration has been found criminally culpable for lies related to the war in Iraq, but it should not be the last. A Washington jury handed down the guilty verdicts on four counts Tuesday, after ten days of deliberation.

Libby, once one of the most powerful figures in the Bush White House and a leading instigator of the war in Iraq, was found guilty of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and one count of making false statements to a grand jury. He was acquitted of a single count of making false statements to the FBI.

The four convictions could bring combined sentences of as long as 20 years, but federal sentencing guidelines suggest that Libby could receive as little as one or two years in prison on each charge, to be served concurrently, since he will be treated as a first-time offender. Sentencing has been set for June 5, but Libby's attorneys said they would seek a retrial or appeal the verdict, a process that could delay any jail time until the end of 2008, when Bush presumably would issue a presidential pardon.

Far more important than Libby's individual fate is what the case reveals about the methods of the Bush administration. Libby was convicted of obstructing justice--i.e., he lied in order to block the investigation by a federal grand jury into the leaking of the name of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame. Her name was leaked to columnist Robert Novak, who made it public July 14, 2003, eight days after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly attacked the Bush administration in an op-ed column in the New York Times. Wilson revealed that Bush had lied in his 2003 State of the Union speech, which included the claim, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

After CIA officials pressed for an investigation into the leak, citing the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes deliberate exposure of a covert agent a felony crime, the Justice Department appointed Patrick Fitzgerald, the US Attorney in Chicago, as a special prosecutor. Fitzgerald was quickly informed by then deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage that he had told Novak that Plame worked at the CIA, and White House political adviser Karl Rove subsequently admitted being the second source for Novak's column.

It had long been thought that Fitzgerald's investigation was focused on making a case against Rove, and Wilson himself expressed the hope that he would one day see Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. What became clear in the course of the trial, however, is that the prosecutor's focus was not only Rove--who ultimately was not indicted--but Vice President Cheney.

The trial testimony portrayed Cheney as the moving force in the White House campaign to vilify Wilson and expose his wife's employment--both to cheapen Wilson's credibility with the suggestion that his trip to Niger was a case of nepotism, as well as to punish him by putting an end to his wife's career as a covert agent.

Libby's defense attorneys argued that he had not been lying when he denied leaking Plame's name to several reporters and claimed to have learned about her CIA status from NBC journalist Tim Russert. They insisted that he had merely forgotten the details of a relatively minor affair because he was preoccupied with much weightier matters of counterterrorism and the course of the war in Iraq.

For the rest please go to:

Posted by: che | March 7, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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