- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2014

Who’s in charge of the elite Republican powerhouse, where strategy, money and mettle drive a party to victory? There’s no master commander, but rather an ever-changing cast of political titans who bring their personal prowess to the table. Take Mitt Romney, for instance. He is still very much the player, marching through recent Sunday talk shows with authority; much of his recent commentary has been more succinct and aggressive than when he was on the presidential campaign trail. He still claims he’s not interested in a third try for the White House, telling CBS on Sunday, “I’m thinking about the people who I want to see running for president.”

That’s what everyone is trying to do, apparently.

The siren call of the campaign trail is still there, and Mr. Romney must relish it. Case in point: he is in serious fundraising and strategizing mode, and might be turning into the “Romenator.” He journeys to Coral Gables, Florida on Monday, bound for a private moneymaking event on behalf of the Republican Governor’s Association with Gov. Rick Scott. Tuesday, he’s in New York City for not one but two fundraisers for U.S. Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie, who is running in Virginia.

Busy Mr. Romney is welcomed everywhere, and no wonder. He raised $1.1 billion during his 2012 campaign, and lucky is the candidate who draws his favor. Multiple analysts have already speculated that Jeb Bush draws the coveted Romney nod, at least as far as the White House goes.


And there’s someone else.

**FILE** Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (Associated Press)
**FILE** Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (Associated Press) more >

Mr. Bush will be honored at a private dinner on Thursday organized by Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, an event that essentially begins the Republican Jewish Coalition’s four-day spring meeting — a very swell affair, and a glittering one.

“Join us for a terrific weekend of poker, politics, and policy at the fabulous Venetian Resort and Hotel,” the group notes.

And their partial line-up of speakers? Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, plus Dick Cheney, John Bolton and Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer himself will conduct a “communications workshop.”

And for the Republican heavyweights, that’s just for this week.

THEY’RE IN THE MONEY

Not too shabby: the Republican National Committee raised $7.1 million in February, and now has $10 million cash on hand. So far, the organization has raised $95.6 million for the 2014 election cycle, outraising their Democratic rivals for now. And it’s grassroots fare: 98 percent of the donations were $200 and under, with an average at $56.

“Every day the RNC is strengthening our national, permanent ground game and connecting with new voters, and the strong support of our donors and investors makes that possible,” says Chairman Reince Priebus. “As we head to November, Democrats are right to be nervous.”

PUTINOLOGY

“He goes to bed at night thinking of Peter the Great and he wakes up thinking of Stalin.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Russia President Vladimir Putin, to NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

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