Sarah Baxter, for the London Sunday Times reports: DISILLUSIONED supporters of President George W Bush are defecting to Barack Obama, the Democratic senator for Illinois, as the White House candidate with the best chance of uniting a divided nation.
Tom Bernstein went to Yale University with Bush and co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team with him. In 2004 he donated the maximum $2,000 to the president’s reelection campaign and gave $50,000 to the Republican National Committee. This year he is switching his support to Obama. He is one of many former Bush admirers who find the Democrat newcomer appealing.
Financiers have also been oiling Obama’s campaign. In Chicago, his home town, John Canning, a “Bush pioneer” and investment banker who pledged to raise $100,000 for the president in 2004, has given up on the Republicans. “I know lots of my friends in this business are disenchanted and are definitely looking for something different,” he said.
Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton has many Republican defectors of her own, including John Mack, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, who helped raise $200,000 for the president’s reelection, qualifying him as a “Bush ranger”. He said last week that he was impressed by Clinton’s expertise. “I know we’re associated mainly with the Republicans but we’ve always gone for the individual,” Mack said.
According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, Obama and Clinton have vacuumed up more than $750,000 (£375,000) in individual contributions from former Bush donors.
For his optimism about the future, Obama has been dubbed the “black Ronald Reagan”.