We’re free of “Freedom’s Watch”

Good riddance:

A once-vaunted independent organization that was supposed to help Republicans make up severe fundraising shortfalls is closing after just one cycle in business.

Freedom’s Watch, the 501(c)(4) organization that ran advertisements slamming Democratic candidates, will effectively shut down by the end of the year, according to a source with knowledge of the plans.

The group, which ran television, radio, phone and mail campaigns against dozens of Democrats this year, received most of its funding from wealthy gaming mogul Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Adelson, who has worked very hard and spent tons to elect Republicans, has other things to worry about. His company is in big financial trouble thanks to the Bush economy:

Adelson’s company, which owns casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, among other properties, has been hard-hit by the economic slowdown. With tourism and gaming industries suffering, Las Vegas Sands stock tumbled from a high of nearly $123 per share to just $5.95 per share at the close of business Monday.

The situation grew so dire earlier this year that some analysts expected the company to miss a loan payment. In November, Adelson stepped in to rescue the company to the tune of more than $2 billion.

Adelson should be really pissed at all those Republicans who destroyed the economy and wreaked havoc on his business.

Don’t forget Ari Fleischer was another big player in Freedom’s Watch. When he signed on with the new group, the traditional media hyped Fleischer’s return to politics in a big way. Check out this syrupy Washington Post profile from last year:

But like Obi-Wan, Fleischer was drawn back into the fight. This return began last spring when Fleischer began speaking with Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and Mel Sembler, the former ambassador to Italy who currently serves as chairman of the (Lewis “Scooter”) Libby Legal Defense Trust. They’d seen support for the war and the president dwindle. It was then they decided to act.

Fleischer helped craft the group’s message while others began to raise money. To run the operation on a day-to-day basis, the group chose another veteran of the Bush administration, former deputy assistant to the president Bradley A. Blakeman. Freedom’s Watch is staffing up and will have an office in downtown Washington next month. And while a communications guy will be hired, Fleischer will remain important in the group’s push to increase public support for the surge.

“Ari’s the central manager of our message, which is supporting a strong national defense against terror and achieving prosperity through free enterprise,” Sembler says.

Ari wasn’t quite the Jed Knight the Washington Post predicted he’d be. Looks like Ari helped destroy a presidency and a major GOP organization. Quite the resume. He’s probably making millions with that track record.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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