Matthew Dowd, the former George W. Bush strategist, chided Republican presidential contenders for “kissing the ring” of super donor Sheldon Adelson at a Las Vegas confab the billionaire casino magnate hosted this weekend.
“I think it’s ridiculous that these candidates for president are trumping out to Las Vegas to kiss the ring of a billionaire casino owner, and they think that’s somehow going help them get elected president,” Dowd said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Well the money is going to help them, isn’t it?” host George Stephanopoulos cut in.
“I think money matters so much less than your own capacity as a candidate,” Dowd said. “What is your message, what is your vision for the country. They’d much better off spending time back where they live instead of flying to Las Vegas, and figuring out what’s their message and what’s their vision and how to convey that to the American public.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) were among the high-profile speakers Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gathering. Christie later apologized to Adelson after his use of the phrase “occupied territories” to refer to the West Bank rankled the crowd. He reportedly told Adelson he “misspoke” and emphasized that his remarks were not meant to be a policy statement.
The Washington Post also reported that Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and brother of the former president, was honored by Adelson on Thursday and met with the casino owner in private, although the two did not discuss a 2016 campaign.