Is Adelson About To Jump Ship?

Newt Gingrich's most generous backer may be losing faith in the former Speaker's survivability in the race for the GOP presidential nomination and preparing to bet on another horse.

Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is thinking of switching to Mitt Romney, according to the New York Times, which reports he has sent word to the former Massachusetts governor that "he will provide even more generous support" if Romney gets the GOP nomination.

Look for Romney to respond by stepping up his pro-Israel rhetoric and attacks on Barack Obama even more charged than his old standby that the President has tossed Israel "under the bus."  He may not start calling the Palestinians an "invented people," as Newt has, but look for some new charges to suck up to his new benefactor. 

Will Mitt hold any grudges against Adelson and his wife for giving $10 million to fund the stridently anti-Romney campaign by Winning Our Future, the pro-Gingrich super PAC?  Not likely if Adelson's money starts flowing his way; besides, Romney's anti-Gingrich ads were far more effective than Newt's, judging by the outcome in the Florida primary.

Fred Zeidman, an Adelson friend and Romney backer, told the Times, "Sheldon is committed to keeping (Newt) in the race as long as he wants to stay in.  But any time that Newt decides to get out of the race, he would devote his energy and money to the overriding issue, which is beating Barack Obama."

Friends have been telling Adelson that the longer Newt stays in the race the more divided and damaged will be the ticket that comes out of Tampa in August, and the more that helps Obama.

Meanwhile, Adelson went off to Palm Springs, California, to parley with the Koch brothers and others in the Billionaires Who Hate Obama club.

I hope Newt stays in the race for the long term not just because  he helps Obama so much but also because he's the most interesting one in the entire field.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.