No doubt Mitt Romney hopes that former Vice President Dick Cheney can do for him what former President Bill Clinton is doing for his opponent - lend his political celebrity to the cause of attracting high-dollar donations for his presidential campaign.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that Cheney and his wife, Lynne, will host a fundraiser for Romney on July 12 at the couple's home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where top contributors will dine with Romney and Cheney. "Jackson Hole is a beautiful summer destination, and this will be a memorable event," a Romney finance team member wrote in an e-mail, according to the Journal. "We hope that you and your friends will be able to join us."
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The budding Cheney-Romney bromance allows Romney to tap the fundraising network Cheney built during his eight years in the Bush administration. But the strategy comes with some risk. By tying himself to Cheney, he ties himself at least tangentially to the unpopular former President George W. Bush. And Romney has made it abundantly clear he considers Bush damaged political goods.
Romney never mentions that last Republican president on the campaign trail, except to refer to him obliquely as President Obama's "predecessor." When Bush made an off-the-cuff endorsement of Romney at an event in Washington last week -- saying simply, "I'm for Mitt Romney" in response to a reporter's question -- the Romney campaign had no reply. Romney's reaction stood in stark contrast to the effusive appreciation he heaped on Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, and his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, when the two endorsed Romney. As Democratic strategist Mark Mellman told my colleague Alex Roarty, Bush "still casts a stark shadow over the Republican Party."
Democratic efforts to tie Romney to the Bush administration just got a lot easier with the news of the Cheney fundraising effort, but Romney is making a calculated bet that it's better than turning his back on all that Bush money.
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