Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

On January 2nd, politico.com reported the following:

Charlie Black, the longtime Washington power broker and former top adviser to John McCain, has come off the sidelines of the 2012 campaign to back Mitt Romney for president.

Black was one of the operatives involved in planning a possible White House bid for Mitch Daniels, and said after Daniels opted out of the race that he intended to stay neutral.

That changed around Thanksgiving, Black told POLITICO, when he and his wife concluded that Romney was just about the only candidate in the field with the capacity to run a race all the way to November.

“It looked to us like he was the best guy to win and maybe the only guy in the field who could win,” said Black, who explained he’s “trying to help however I can.”

Black predicted that Romney would be able to wrap up the nomination relatively quickly once the early primary states winnow the GOP field.

“As it narrows down, Romney’s not going to have any trouble going from 25 percent to 35 to 45 to 55,” Black said. “When the choices narrow, Romney’s in an excellent position … His message and experience is exactly on point with what people care about now.”

Romney has made headway in recent months — the third quarter of 2011 especially — in winning over veteran GOP campaign hands like Black, and his supporters expect that movement to accelerate once he starts winning primaries.

Now, exactly one month after hiring Mr. Black, Mitt Romney and his Campaign Staff are to be congratulated for their overwhelming victory in Florida.

Who is Charlie Black?

Mr. Black grew up in Wilmington, N.C., the son of Southern Democrats who switched affiliation to vote for Barry Goldwater in 1964. He joined Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Florida, and moved to Washington to work for the group’s national staff, where he met one of its big supporters, Mr. Helms.

In 1975, Mr. Black and two other young conservatives, Roger Stone and Terry Dolan, founded the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which set a new standard for negative advertising with its campaigns against six liberal senators in 1980, portraying them as “baby killers” for their support of abortion rights, cozy with Castro and soft on national defense. His first hire at the 1980 Reagan campaign was Lee Atwater, who was just becoming famous for a slashing brand of politics.

Yet while his partners delighted in their reputations as princes of darkness, Mr. Black has avoided celebrity.

“I’ve always believed you’re in politics to help these candidates and not yourself, and you should stay out of the news if you can,” he said. “Roger and Lee are examples of guys who never did anything to discourage a little bit of a bad boy image.”

He started his lobbying firm in 1980, as he said, “thinking someday I’m going to need a real job in between campaigns.” Black, Manafort and Stone — it would later expand to include Mr. Atwater, who died in 1991 — became one of the most aggressive and well-connected Republican lobbying shops in Washington.

The firm was so entwined with the Reagan White House that administration officials gave it a heads-up so it could cancel its contract with a client, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, two hours before Reagan withdrew his support.

It became bipartisan in the mid-1980s, and its political consulting wing was so successful that its partners frequently worked for both sides in a race. Senior partners were granted Mercedes-Benzes and memberships to the country clubs of their choice. In 1990, they sold the firm to Burson-Marsteller, reportedly making them multimillionaires.

In recent years, Mr. Black’s clients have included AT&T, Johnson and Johnson, the worldwide lottery firm GTech, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, Yukos Oil, and the governments of Greece, Armenia and Cyprus. BKSH worked for Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress, as well as the Lincoln Group, hired by the Pentagon to generate positive stories about the Iraq war.

“The Republican Party’s quintessential company man,” as one friend calls him, Mr. Black has worked in every Republican presidential campaign since 1972, and sometimes a couple each season, being diplomat enough to get along with both sides in some of the fiercest rivalries.

Including the failed 2008 Presidential Campaign of John McCain.

During the Reagan Administration, African Dictators were negotiated with, including the infamous Angolan Warlord, Jonas Savimbi, whose rebellion left thousands dead or homeless.

The man oiling Washington’s political establishment on behalf of most of this rogues’ gallery is Charlie Black, according to the group Citizens for Ethics Black started his Washington career with segregationist Jesse Helms and worked on Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. He used those contacts to ease the path to the Oval Office for his clients. In 1985 the Black lobbying firm reportedly made at least $600,000 from Savimbi.

After all, as Mitt Romney said the other day while making fun of Newt: “Politics ain’t beanbag.”

Nope.  It’s far more ruthless than that.

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One Response to Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

  1. josephine says:

    THIS ALL SOUNDS GRAND BUT, he has most recently been adviser to several of the WAR LORDS in SOMOLIA AND FOR THE PAST YEAR 2011, HE HAS BEEN IN WASHINGTON DC LOBBYING, (BARTERING,YOU MIGHT SAY) AND THEN IN 2012 HE ROMNEY’S CAMPAIGN. (google him)
    THERE’S ALSO COLIN POWELL THE TURNCOAT, ON THE LIST OF ADVISERS.
    Is it the same Colin Powell that’s been fighting the conservatives for 10 years?
    Just google Romney’s Advisors.
    #withnewt.