The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Major Bush Donors Giving to... Obama?


There’s been considerable discussion of where President Bush’s most prominent fundraisers would go in this coming election cycle. Would the majority back McCain? Giuliani? Romney? Some other candidate?

I don’t think many expected that some would end up backing Barack Obama.

John Canning has impeccable Republican credentials: He was a Pioneer, one of President Bush’s top fund-raisers. He’s the head of a leveraged-buyout firm. He’s the deputy board chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Now, he has given the maximum campaign contribution, $4,600, to a Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Obama.

Mr. Canning says he’s fed up with the Republican Party. “It’s become a party that’s taken Neanderthal positions on things like stem-cell research and global warming,” Mr. Canning, who was appointed to the Fed post in 2004, said in an interview. “I no longer find myself on the same page.”

Canning also gave $1,000 to Mitt Romney’s campaign, describing it to the New York Sun as “a favor to a friend.”

There are two other Bush “Pioneers” who have given to Obama. Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc. founder Thomas Stemberg, (who also gave to Romney) and Chicago publicist Jayne Carr Thompson, who told the Sun, “[Obama] is a great representative of Illinois.”

Matthew Dowd, one of the key strategists in Bush’s campaigns, has not given to Obama but said in his recent interview that Obama was one of the few candidates that interested him.

I wonder if some Democratic rival of Obama, out to score cheap points against the Illinois Senator, would slam him for “accepting donations from some of President Bush’s biggest financial backers”…

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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