Claude Nolan
San Marco Properties
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Charles Parish
Nov 192012

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The race might be over, but it hasn’t all been paid for.

Presidential campaigns still owe millions of dollars to consultants, former staffers, phone companies, software vendors, database management firms, direct-mail firms, sign printers, event-productions companies and banks; in other words, nearly every kind of entity with which a campaign does business.

Some campaigns owe money back to the candidates themselves, and one owes money to a former rival.

The total won’t be known until campaigns file their next disclosures next month, but Obama and Romney owed nearly $8.5 million combined (all of Romney’s debt owed on a $3 million loan), according to their Oct. 17 pre-election disclosures.  Of course, with more than $146 million in the bank, they likely have enough cash to cover it.

The failed GOP primary candidates, however, still owe their share: more than $7 million, according to their latest Federal Election Commission filings in September and October.

Candidate debt is commonplace, and the most notable examples are Hillary Clinton, whose 2008 presidential campaign still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars earlier this year; and Rudy Giuliani, whose 2008 campaign still owes $2.6 million.  Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, is in a class by himself, still owing nearly $2.7 million more than 20 years after running for president in 1984.

Half of the failed GOP presidential primary candidates have clean balance sheets.  Jon Huntsman, Tim Aplenty, Ron Paul and Rick Perry have zero debt, according to their FEC disclosures.  For the other half, some of the debts are complicated.

Herman Cain’s campaign owed $450,000 as of Sept. 30, all of it to Herman Cain.  The candidate is owed $175,000 in “travel expenses” and $275,000 for a series of five loans, most of them $50,000 or less, which Cain made to his campaign between June and August of 2011.  His campaign has already paid him back for eight loans totaling $400,000.

Rick Santorum’s campaign owed more than $1.1 million, and Michele Bachmann’s owed more than $530,000, as of their FEC filings in September and October, respectively, which is far more than they had in the bank, casting doubt on whether their 33 creditors will ever get paid.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, meanwhile, reported more than $227,000 in debt, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein reported $44,000; again, more than they had.

But among the 2012 GOP candidates, Newt Gingrich owes the most, hands down.  He owed $4.9 million as of his last disclosure on Sept. 30, but after renting his list of supporters and reaching agreements with creditors, he’ll close the year owing $4.6 million, spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Nov 142012

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reflected on Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election Tuesday, and said he really worked hard for the GOP candidate.

Christie told The Record, “I worked really hard for Mitt for a year and we became good friends and so that’s really what disappointed me.”

Christie said he was pleased that the GOP didn’t lose any incumbent governors on Election Day, saying it was “the only bit of good news for the Republican Party” that night.

He told the newspaper he raised over $30 million during visits to more than 25 states on behalf of more than a dozen GOP candidates, but he didn’t think his endorsement had much impact. 

Christie told The Record, “I always say, I don’t think endorsements mean as much as the people who are receiving the endorsements think they mean.  You know they’re really psyched when I come and I endorse them and say it makes a huge difference and I kind of wonder whether it really does.”

Still, Christie admits he does do one thing well on the campaign trail. 

“I tend to attract a crowd and they’re willing to pay to hear me talk, so that helps them as well.  But I don’t think in a direct way I affect the races,” he said.

Christie continued, “The money I raise helps to affect the races.  The attention I bring them may help to raise their profile a little bit. But I don’t think in the end that I make a difference in the race nor do I think any endorser makes a difference in the race.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Nov 132012

Eric Hartsburg/Facebook(WASHINGTON) — Campaign season is over, and it seems as if the biting battle between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney has faded away.  But not for everyone.

Eric Hartsburg, who got the Romney ‘R’ logo tattooed on his face for an eBay bid of $15,000, will have a constant reminder of his losing candidate probably for the rest of his life.

But Hartsburg said that’s fine with him.

“I am college educated, and I am not an idiot,” Hartsburg, a professional wrestler, told ABC News.  “Getting the tattoo was a decision that I made, and I am cool with.”

When asked how he felt about having a losing candidate’s logo permanently stamped near his right temple, Hartsburg said, joking, “Wait, did the election already happen?  Did Romney lose?”

Hartsburg, 30, who got the tattoo after auctioning off the prime real estate on his face, said, “Of course I am disappointed about the election results.  I wanted Romney to win, obviously, but I am proud of the voters and the record turnout in certain places.  And most of all, I am proud of the effort that I made.”

But Hartsburg has received some criticism for his tat post-election.

“Obama supporters have come up to me since the election and said, ’Told you so’ or ‘You look like an idiot,’ but if you take Romney’s losing out of the equation and someone with a face tattoo out of the equation and actually have a conversation with me, you might realize that it’s not just about what is on the surface,” he said.

“Besides,” Hartsburg continued, “It’s a decision that I made. … I can deal with the criticism.  I have thick skin.  I don’t regret the tattoo at all.  I would do it all over again if I had to.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Nov 072012

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — He won a second term by a narrower margin than he won his first, but President Obama believes his victory Tuesday night delivered a mandate that will reinvigorate his stalled legislative agenda and resolve a partisan impasse over taxes.

Obama will waste little time putting his perceived new influence to the test, aides say, making negotiations over expiring tax cuts, looming spending cuts and deficit reduction his immediate priority after the electoral smoke clears.

A double dose of deep reductions to defense and social spending, plus across-the-board tax hikes for all Americans, will automatically kick in 54 days from now unless Obama can broker a deal.

“First thing we’re going to have to do is to, once and for all, determine how we’re going to reduce our deficit and our debt coming out of this terrible crisis we’ve had now that the economy has begun to grow again, we’re adding jobs again,” Obama told a local Des Moines, Iowa, TV affiliate on Tuesday.

“If we can get that done early, then my sense is not only will the economy grow and see more jobs added, but I think it will take a lot of the rancor out of our politics,” he said.

But despite that sanguine view, there are signs that a compromise on taxes with Republicans — who retained majority control of the House of Representatives — won’t come easily.

Obama remains insistent that existing tax cuts on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 should expire on Jan. 1, 2013.  Republicans remain staunchly opposed to any increase in taxes.

“We’re not raising taxes on small-business people,” House Speaker John Boehner told Politico in an interview on the eve of the vote.

After it became clear Obama would win the election, Boehner released a statement pointing out that Republicans held onto the House of Representatives.

“If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt,” Boehner said early Wednesday morning.

Finding that common ground will be difficult since both men have made such specific declarations about taxes.  They tried — and failed — to achieve a “grand bargain” to reduce the deficit in 2011.  Through a complicated legal agreement, that failure is what led to the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes Boehner and Obama will now have to work quickly before the end of the year to avoid.

Wasting no time, Boehner has scheduled a press conference to discuss the fiscal cliff on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon.

However the fiscal debate is resolved will largely set the tone for a raft of domestic policy debates to follow.

Obama has said he plans a big push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill, a stimulus package for states to help hire public school teachers, and a massive infrastructure upgrade that he says will provide jobs to thousands of construction workers.

He has also signaled plans to consolidate progress on financial regulatory and health care reform by more aggressively implementing the outstanding provisions of the Wall Street reform law and Obamacare.

Obama is expected to navigate the new dynamic with a largely stable team of senior aides and cabinet secretaries, though he will have to recruit and nominate some new members.

He has already begun to take stock of who’s planning to leave the administration and who would like to stay, aides say.  In the next few weeks, he will begin examining resumes of possible replacements for top officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Nov 072012

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — After four years of trying and, by his own admission, failing to change the nature of politics in Washington, President Obama Tuesday night vowed in a second term to forge bipartisan compromise in a way a large majority of Americans desire.

The president, who took the stage shortly after receiving a personal concession from Republican nominee Mitt Romney, said he would demonstrate his commitment by “sitting down” with Romney in the weeks ahead.  It would be a significant — if only symbolic — step at bringing Democrats and Republicans together after a rancorous campaign.

“When we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.  That won’t change after tonight.  And it shouldn’t,” Obama said.  “But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.”

“By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward,” he continued.  “But that common bond is where we must begin.”

“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual,” Obama said.  “You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.”

Obama, who has not met with congressional Republican leaders since May, said he was also “looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties” in the “coming weeks and months.”

After the electoral smoke clears, both parties face the looming specter of steep, across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts that will automatically take effect in 54 days if a deficit reduction deal is not reached.

“The American people re-elected the president, and re-elected our majority in the House,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night.  “If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt.”

And in what is perhaps an ode to the new dynamic in the wake of a grueling campaign, Romney live-streamed the president’s acceptance speech and remarks about bipartisanship at


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio