POLITICS

Jeb! Comeback Watch: Former AIG Failure To The Rescue

Hank Greenberg is doubling down on his Jeb bets. What could go wrong?

For a few months now, Jeb Bush's campaign has been insisting that the Jeb! Comeback is on, and that the media should get in on the ground floor of this amazing narrative. Tonight we'll find out if he's got anywhere to go after the Iowa Caucuses. Here's how the comeback is going.

Former AIG chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg donated $10 million to Jeb Bush's super PAC this quarter, for some reason
Former AIG chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg donated $10 million to Jeb Bush's super PAC this quarter, for some reason

Tonight, Jeb Bush finds out what fate the voters of Iowa have in store for him. And if his New Hampshire travel itinerary is any indication, it looks like he reckons he'd better write off the Iowa caucuses and build his beachhead in the Granite State. These are pretty dismal times for the candidate who thought winning the nomination simply required him to build an army of big-dollar donors -- the theory being that he could "shock and awe" the rest of the field into surrendering as soon as those old Bush Pioneers were mobilized.

Why Bush thought this was possible in this age of goofy billionaires bankrolling pet candidates is anybody's guess. What seems a lot more certain is that the largesse of his high-rolling connections has all but dried up. According to the most recent round of financial disclosures, the cash flowing into the coffers of Jeb's super PAC has slowed considerably -- the last quarter saw them raising just a shade over $15 million.

And that total is only as high as it is because one donor in particular doesn't have the Bush candidacy properly marked-to-market. Per Mother Jones:

In July, when the super-PAC's first-half numbers were released, we counted at least 23 donors who gave $1 million or more to Right to Rise. This time, there was just one donor who gave more than $500,000—former AIG chairman and CEO, Hank Greenberg, who donated a whopping $10 million.

Greenberg is widely credited with greenlighting AIG's conversion from a major insurance company to a credit-default swap engine that made trillions of dollars in one-directional, wrong-way bets on the housing market.

Although Greenberg had been ousted from power by the time the company got its federal bailout, he literally sued the government claiming that it was treated unfairly by the rescue process. Now, he's giving Jeb Bush's super PAC $10 million to set on fire. 

Hank Greenberg: smart with money.

This has been the Jeb! Comeback Watch for Feb. 1. Jeb Bush is currently in fifth place in Iowa (3.9 percent), fifth place in New Hampshire (8.6 percent) and fifth place nationally (5.6 percent).