'Super PAC' leaders Norm Coleman and Brian Walsh are, respectively, chairman and president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super political-action committee focused on electing Republican House candidates. Super PACs can raise unlimited funds to influence elections. The two leaders were guest speakers at the Nov. 29 Monitor breakfast in Washington.
A newsletter's prediction that Democrats will gain only five to 10 of the 25 seats they would need to retake control of the House in 2012:
Mr. Walsh: "The Cook [Political Report] assessment right now, based on what we know on redistricting, is fairly accurate."
Fundraising by super PACs:
Mr. Coleman: "The amounts of money ... being raised are really, really incredible.... I don't know how you are going to change it.... Neither side is going to unilaterally disarm ... because ultimately if you don't win, you don't govern."
Whether the quality of candidates still matters in an era of big money:
Coleman: "In the end, money doesn't decide races all the time.... Money can make up for a lot of sins.... But ultimately, ultimately, it is the candidate."
The role of super PACs versus political parties:
Walsh: "Super PACs and outside groups can complement, they can supplement, but they cannot replicate the role of a traditional party.... Building a grass-roots infrastructure, building a formal field structure – that takes time."
The debate within the GOP over immigration policy:
Coleman: "Having debate about the issue doesn't hurt.... It is the tone of the debate.... Some of the voices that have been out there ... I don't think have been very helpful."
Why Democrats' congressional campaign committee has raised slightly more than its GOP counterpart:
Coleman: "The single greatest motivator is fear and frustration.... It gives the Ds a little edge on the House side because the folks in power are the Rs."