Martin Bashir | June 18, 2012
>>> so how much does it cost for one person to buy a presidential election ? $71 million and counting. that's how much the huffington post reports a key figure in the spectrum of super pacs sheldon adelson has spent or committed thus far to republican candidates and causes during this election cycle. and while that number may shock it's where mr. adelson gets his money from that may even be a bigger concern. joining us is william coen an author and columnist with "the bloomberg view." welcome back. romney has a line in his stump speech where he keeps talking about the president standing in line waiting for chinese money . but thanks to mr. adelson it's mitt romney who is standing in line for the chinese money isn't it?
>> well, obviously he's gotten a large portion of his wealth from his casino in mccow and his organization over there. but of course as you know, martin, money is fungible. it's hard to tell what comes from las vegas or mckow or whatever. the fact is the guy is worth $25 billion and is prepared to spend as much as a hundred million dollars he said to help fund romney's presidential election campaign and try to defeat the president. and maybe this is the new normal in the wake of citizens united but it's the kind of new normal that makes me very uncomfortable.
>> i'm sure. adelson 's company made about half its money in china last year. do you think he believes mitt romney when he says i'll stand up to china as mitt romney -- he offers this slogan in all these speeches. i won't be like the president. i'll stand up to china. is he really going to mean that if he is taking a hundred million -- i would think he is going to say, mitt, don't trouble the chinese?
>> i would think he wouldn't want to make political trouble for the chinese. in addition let's not forget who owns the vast majority of our treasury securities . i mean, it's the chinese government . and so, i mean, what role really can a u.s. president play in trying to affect the internal politics of china at the moment? we don't have a very strong hand. so whether it's owners of our treasury securities or the hundred million he is getting from a guy who gets half of his wealth from china i just don't see any of them going there at the moment frankly.
>> sure. john mccain has called out adelson and raised talk of his money possibly leading to some kind of scandal. this was senator mccain on pbs. take a listen.
>> much of mr. adelson 's casino profits that go to him come from this casino in mckou.
>> which says what?
>> obviously in maybe a round about way foreign money is coming into an american campaign.
>> what do you think of that?
>> i notice he is not saying that anymore. he has probably been silenced to some degree, senator mccain that is. does it -- i don't know. i'm not that bothered by the fact that it's foreign money or u.s. money. i'm bothered by the fact that in the post citizens united era as apparently it's developing somebody with a -- you know, $25 billion fortune can spend $100 million of his own money and to try to singularly defeat one candidate specifically. that seems to me beyond what democracy is all about. i just don't get that.
>> it's the buying of democracy isn't it?
>> well, it is certainly offensive to me. it feels like the buying of democracy. of course you know we had meg whitman who spent $125 million of her own fortune in california.
>> to try to win the governor's seat and lost.
>> and lost.
>> now she is back as the ceo of hewlett-packard trying to make a new fortune. it doesn't always work. frankly, i think the citizens united case is going to go down as one of the most fundamentally disturbing supreme court decisions that this country has made in the 20th -- 20th and 21st century . i think it is fundamentally disruptive to democracy.
>> right. mccain made a similar attack on sunday on "meet the press" but rather than directly attacking adelson he tried to change the topic. take a listen to this.
>> are you concerned he will have undue influence on this election and undue influence on mitt romney ?
>> i'm not only worried about him. i'm worried about many others. i've always been concerned about the labor unions .
>> sounds like the senator was taken to the wood shed over that pbs interview.
>> one can only assume that that's exactly what happened. to go from being worried about sheldon adelson and his foreign millions to worrying about the good old republican concerns like the labor unions , doesn't sound like -- sounds like he got a talking to in the wood shed, yes.
>> thanks ever so much for joining us.