Opinion: Barry Manilow’s new buddy

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We noted in an item Tuesday that the latest campaign contribution filings at the Federal Election Commission showed Republican Ron Paul getting a check from crooner Barry Manilow. We’re relieved to discover we weren’t the only ones struck by that; consider this exchange Tuesday night between MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson and the presidential candidate himself.

Carlson: ‘We saw these FEC reports, including those from your campaign, and were amazed to learn that Barry Manilow has given to your campaign. ... It looks like we have. Do you know Barry Manilow?’

Paul: ‘No, I do not. I was very pleased to find that out.’

Asked if he was a fan of Manilow’s music, Paul responded, ‘I really like it now, I will tell you that.’

We checked, by the way, and if Paul would like to connect personally with his high-profile benefactor (Manilow gave the max allowed: $2,300), the entertainer will be performing most of the rest of July at the Las Vegas Hilton (his regular gig since early 2005).

What could be more serendipitous for Paul than having Mr. ‘I Write the Songs’ anchored in Vegas? Paul could combine a stop at the Hilton with a little politicking in Nevada, now the site of an early caucus. Still, the GOP congressman from Texas needs to know he’s not alone in Manilow’s affections.


The Times’ Dan Morain dug into the FEC records and found that the singer, who lists his home as Woodland Hills, Calif., in February gave $2,300 checks to Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Then, in April, he kicked in another $2,300 to another Democrat, Joe Biden. His donation to Paul was the most recent, sent in late June.

Paul and Manilow, should they break bread someday, could chat about their affinity for third parties. In 1988, Paul ran as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. In 2000, Manilow gave $1,000 to the Natural Law Party of America. That group, which despite Manilow’s help disbanded its national office a few years ago, preached transcendential meditation as a means of lowering social stress --- and thus curing the nation’s ills.

-- Don Frederick