On the same day Fox News analyst/hype man-for-hire Dick Morris released a DickMorris.com video and column in The Hill promoting the electability of Newt Gingrich, Gingrich's campaign rented Morris' email list to send out a fundraising appeal.
Gingrich is now the third GOP presidential candidate paying Morris during the primary, following Herman Cain, whose campaign has sponsored at least nine emails to Morris' list, and Michele Bachmann, whose campaign has sponsored at least three. Several of the Cain and Bachmann emails were promoting softball interviews Morris had conducted with the candidates, with the emails indicating that they were “paid for” by the campaigns.
Monday night on Fox, Morris may have set the new land-speed record for violating disclosure ethics.
Morris joined Sean Hannity to discuss the state of the GOP primary and what Morris described as the “incredible field we have.” Morris praised Cain (who is paying him) as “one of the most charismatic politicians” since Obama and declared that he is “now immune from the charges of sexual harassment.” He said that Gingrich (who is paying him) “knows it all” and is “the smartest person in the room.” After declaring that it was likely a three-way race between Cain, Gingrich and Romney at this point, Morris hastened to add that “I don't think you can count out Bachmann” (who is paying him).
Back in June, Morris conceded to radio host Mike Gallagher that though he had previously been hard on Mitt Romney -- going so far as to say “there is no way this guy is going to get nominated” -- he was going to pull his punches going forward, because he didn't “want to make my own task [of defeating Obama] harder.”
Morris had previously told the crew at Fox & Friends that he was going to withhold an endorsement during this election cycle because he wanted “to be impartial” in his commentary. As has become increasingly clear, Morris' motivation in not endorsing a specific candidate and withholding harsh criticism seems more geared towards trying to collect money from as many candidates as possible.
And it's working.
Yesterday morning, DickMorris.com sent out a “special message” from a new “paid sponsor,” the Gingrich campaign. The email is an appeal from Gingrich's campaign manager, Michael Krull, asking people on Morris' list to make a “generous financial contribution.”
In a separate email, Morris -- who, in his defense, has been praising candidate Newt's brilliance for months -- promotes a video where he discusses Gingrich's electability. The video starts with Morris saying, “Is Newt electable? You bet he is!” Later in the video, he labels Gingrich “one of the most brilliant people in the country” and says that his rise in the polls “couldn't happen to a better guy.”
Morris also wrote a November 15 column in The Hill headlined, “Is Newt electable? Hell, yes!” Morris began by writing, “As the debates accumulate, it becomes more and more evident that Newt Gingrich's intellect, experience, articulateness and depth of knowledge elevate him to the top of the GOP field. Anyone should be happy to pay admission to watch him duel with President Obama in debate! He's not as charismatic as Herman Cain or as smooth as Mitt Romney, but boy, does he have a brain!”
A screenshot of the Gingrich fundraising appeal: