Romney forgives own campaign loans, clears deck as possible McCain VP
Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who's increasingly visible on the campaign trail on behalf of the man who beat him for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. John McCain, is about to forgive the $45 million he loaned himself for the primary struggles.
The legal move of filing papers with the Federal Election Commission re-declaring Romney's loans as contributions is imminent, according to a report by Michael Kranish on the Boston Globe's website, Boston.com. It would clear the legal deck for Romney to become a candidate again as, oh, say, the vice presidential Republican running mate of McCain.
Romney, whose personal fortune is estimated north of $190 million, is already marshalling on McCain's behalf his vast national donor network, which supplied another $65 million to Romney's unsuccessful campaign.
Although there appeared to be some personal frictions between the two men during primary debates, especially over campaign finance reform, which the senator has championed, McCain has more recently been openly appreciative of Romney's vigorous campaign grunt work in the months since the Arizonan clinched the GOP nomination.
"I'm appreciative every time I see Mitt on television on my behalf," McCain said earlier this week. "He does a better job for me than he did for himself, as a matter of fact."
Romney's successful career in business and resuscitating the troubled Salt Lake City Olympics plus his economic expertise and non-Washington executive experience as Massachusetts governor could help a McCain ticket.
The 61-year-old father of five boys has been married to Ann for 38 years. He's also already well-known and heavily vetted, lessening the chance of any embarrassing revelations. And Romney's family connections to Michigan, where he won the GOP primary, and his Mormon links in the West could help in both places on Nov. 4.
The Boston.com article quoted legal experts who said it appears that if McCain, like the Democratic candidate Barack Obama, reversed his position and opted out of federal campaign financing, Romney as a running mate could donate or loan the campaign an unlimited amount of his own fortune.
The Obama campaign this morning announced that it had collected $52 million during the month of June.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press