Monday, February 25, 2008

02/13 - COUNTDOWN 2008: McCain taps Bush donor base, fund-raiser

By Elisabeth Bumiller
New York Times
Published on: 02/13/08

Washington —- Sen. John McCain began tapping into President Bush's prized political donor base on Tuesday as his campaign announced that Mercer Reynolds, who helped Bush raise a record $273 million for the 2004 re-election campaign, would be the national finance co-chairman for McCain.

The development was a major sign that the Republican financial establishment was coalescing around the Arizona senator, who has often been at odds with his own party, particularly conservatives.

It also signaled that Bush's political apparatus was moving into action for McCain, a onetime insurgent and competitor to Bush in 2000 who has had a difficult relationship with the president.

Reynolds is a wealthy Cincinnati executive and a former ambassador to Switzerland who with his family developed the Reynolds Plantation on Georgia's Lake Oconee and whose development company, Linger Longer Communities, is currently involved in a controversial plan for development on Jekyll Island.

McCain's advisers said Reynolds would be of enormous help in reaching out to the president's most valued contributors —- the Bush campaign called them Rangers and Pioneers —- on behalf of McCain.

"He knows them all, and hopefully we'll get them on board," said Charles Black, a senior adviser to McCain.

Advisers to both men said on Tuesday that the once-strained relationship between the president and McCain had improved and that Bush, who vouched for McCain as a "true conservative" in a television interview last weekend, would do whatever he was asked by his party's nominee.

Reynolds declined to be interviewed for this article.

No comments: