WASHINGTON - Restore Our Future, the political action committee backing Mitt Romney for president, spent $12.2 million last month as the former Massachusetts governor won the Michigan primary and prepared for Super Tuesday.
The super PAC backing Newt Gingrich, Winning Our Future, spent $5.8 million in support of the former House speaker last month, helped by $5 million from
Restore Our Future spent $10.1 million on television ads, $775,000 on Internet ads, and $523,000 on direct mail last month, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission. The spending helped Romney swamp his competitors on the airwaves.
After winning Michigan, Romney defeated former senator Rick Santorum in Ohio on March 6.
Restore Our Future took in $6.4 million in February, with $3 million coming from Houston home builder Bob Perry, who helped fund the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that attacked Democrat John Kerry’s military record during the 2004 presidential campaign. Perry gave $1 million to the super PAC last year.
The committee, which can take in unlimited donations, received $100,000 apiece from Harold Simmons, chairman of Dallas-based Contran Corp., and $100,000 from Kenneth Griffin, president of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel LLC. Both men had donated $100,000 to the PAC earlier. Simmons also gave $100,000 to Gingrich’s PAC.
Through Feb. 29, Restore Our Future raised $43.2 million.
Romney previously said his campaign had raised $11.5 million in February, more than any other Republican. — BLOOMBERG NEWS
More Afghan withdrawals unlikely until end of year
WASHINGTON - The top allied commander in Afghanistan told Congress Tuesday that he would not be recommending further US troop reductions until late this year, after the departure of the current “surge’’ forces and the end of the summer fighting season.
That timetable would defer one of the thorniest military decisions facing President Obama - the pace at which US forces are removed from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 - until after the November elections.
General John R. Allen, who commands the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan, said that he remained optimistic about eventual success, but it was too early to begin shifting forces from battles in the south to the country’s turbulent eastern provinces.
He also acknowledged the deep sensitivities, especially given the current diplomatic crisis with Afghanistan, involved in handing over complete security control to Afghan forces, including over the commando night raids that US commanders say are critical to the war effort.
Allen’s testimony focused on the schedule and the mechanics of the withdrawal, a subject that is being reviewed by NATO, whose member countries are assembling their leadership in May in Chicago, and in talks between Washington and the government of President Hamid Karzai.
And James N. Miller, the acting undersecretary of defense for policy, testified that attacks by the enemy continued to decline. They were down 22 percent in the first two months of this year compared with last year, he said, after falling 9 percent in 2011.
Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina, captured the war-weariness expressed by many members as he offered a heartfelt plea to Allen and Miller to answer a fundamental question.
Over the past 10 years, “I have been hearing from the administration and those who were in your position prior to you being in here today,’’ Jones said. “Everything is, ‘Our gains are sustainable, but there will be setbacks. We are making progress, but it’s - it’s fragile and reversible.’ ’’
He paused, and asked, “Why are we still there?’’ — NEW YORK TIMES