The Campaign Spot

Why Is Newt’s Biggest Donor So Opposed to Santorum?

A fascinating detail in this Wall Street Journal article on billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The billionare has provided a large chunk of the financial fuel for Newt Gingrich’s campaign — particularly the pro-Newt super PAC — and is apparently motivated not merely by a desire to help Gingrich, but in particular to halt the rise of Rick Santorum:

Mr. Adelson doesn’t oppose Mr. Santorum, but he doesn’t share the former Pennsylvania senator’s socially conservative positions, including his strong antiabortion views, associates said. Mr. Santorum was one of only two Republicans who didn’t meet with Mr. Adelson in October around the time of a candidates’ debate in Las Vegas, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Though he isn’t yet switching allegiance, Mr. Adelson is thought to be comfortable with Mr. Romney as the ultimate nominee, friends said. The two men met before the Feb. 4 Nevada Republican caucuses, according to a person familiar with the matter. That person described the meeting as a “warm” one.

Obviously, Adelson’s views are not Newt’s views, and Newt’s not responsible for the perspective of Adelson, one of the ten richest people in America who’s funding his super PAC to the tune of $11 million or so. But . . . it certainly might make some pro-lifers wonder why a guy who is, apparently, not that much of a social conservative can be so comfortable with Gingrich or Mitt Romney, candidates who would probably insist that they are indeed social conservatives.

Perhaps Adelson sees Santorum as a potential threat to his businesses. In an interview with Jon Ralston in Nevada, Santorum seemed to suggest that he is very critical of legal gambling.

Asked about the legalization of online gambling, Santorum responds:

I’m someone who takes the opinion that gaming is not something that is beneficial, particularly having that access on the Internet. Just as we’ve seen from a lot of other things that are vices on the Internet, they end to grow exponentially as a result of that. It’s one thing to come to Las Vegas and do gaming and participate in the shows and that kind of thing as entertainment, it’s another thing to sit in your home and have access to that it. I think it would be dangerous to our country to have that type of access to gaming on the Internet.

Freedom’s not absolute. What rights in the Constitution are absolute? There is no right to absolute freedom. There are limitations. You might want to say the same thing about a whole variety of other things that are on the Internet — “let everybody have it, let everybody do it.” No. There are certain things that actually do cost people a lot of money, cost them their lives, cost them their fortunes that we shouldn’t have and make available, to make it that easy to do. That’s why we regulate gambling. You have a big commission here that regulates gambling, for a reason.

I opposed gaming in Pennsylvania . . . A lot of people obviously don’t responsibly gamble and lose a lot and end up in not so great economic straits as a result of that. I believe there should be limitations.

 

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