Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Second Big Business Democrat Bails on Presidential Bid

Ex-Senator Tom Daschle joins Senator Evan Bayh in dropping out of contention for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. Tom’s exploration lasted a bit longer than Evan’s two week water testing. The South Dakota native suggested he enjoyed his current work and didn’t want to spend the next two years fundraising.

As a special policy adviser for Alston & Bird, the powerhouse D.C. legal/lobbying firm, Tom should bring home some serious dough. He works alongside Senator Bob Dole and ex. Medicare Chief Tom Scully. The junior of the three, Scully reportedly got high six figure income when he left public service in late 2003. An ex-Senate Majority Leader should do better than that salary wise.

But Tom doesn’t have to live off his Alston & Bird salary as he serves on several the board of Apollo Management, an investment house. Such positions come with substantial cash and stock compensation. Ask new Defense Department Chief Robert Gates about his take from the Fidelity Funds? Ten days a month work netted Bob over $350,000 a year for his service as Board Chair.

Tom has been busy as Apollo recently announced three new deals. The investment house will partner with Texas Pacific Group to buy Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest casino company. Instead of rolling the dice for the Presidential nomination, Mr. Daschle can literally roll them in one of his owned operations.

The day before Apollo announced its purchase of Realogy, the parent of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker real estate. Tom won’t be restricted to a Pennsylvania Avenue address with the resources of these two firms. In October they announced a buyout of Jacuzzi Brands, the famed maker of whirlpool baths. Will there be a new “Hot Tub Tom”, as in Daschle vs. DeLay?

Whether Tom has enough personal wealth to fund a Presidential run, only he can decide. I know someone who made $1.2 million in investment gains from the sale of stock options garnered as a WellPoint Board member. Tom Daschle could approach Susan Bayh for a donation…

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