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Hail to the Editor in Chief

Some big swingers in the mag industry use their checkbooks to swing voter opinions

By Adam Weinstein

What does it take to win a presidential election? The audacity of hope? The faith of our fathers? A village? No! It takes cold, hard cash. Few and far between are the journalists with a lot of it on hand, but in 2008—the most competitive election year in recent memory—some people in the magazine industry loved giving away free money as much as they love defending free speech. Some even loved their chosen candidates enough to part with the maximum individual contribution: $2,300. Here are some writers and editors who have, either recently or in the past, dug deep to back one of this year’s political racehorses (based on the information available at press time, and including contributions to senatorial and presidential campaigns).

Thomas P.M. Barnett
, Esquire contributing editor
The military analyst and author of The Pentagon’s New Map threw his dollars at “The Senate’s Old Sailor.”
2007: John McCain (R)—$2,200

Tina Brown, former Vanity Fair and The New Yorker editor
Brown stands to make millions from her next book, the biographical Clinton Chronicles. It seems logical that she’d share the wealth with her subject.
1999: Hillary Clinton (D)—$1,000

William F. Buckley Jr., National Review founder
The late, great conservative icon happily donated to the GOP’s populist maverick.
2007: John McCain (R)—$750;
Republican National Committee—$500

Dominick Dunne, Vanity Fair writer
He wrote a novel entitled The Inconvenient Woman. Who did you think he’d donate to?
2000: Hillary Clinton (D)—$1,000

Larry Flynt, Hustler publisher
This pornographer has battled paralysis, drug addiction and Jerry Falwell. Just don’t expect him to spot a presidential winner.
2007: Dennis Kucinich (D)—$2,300

Earl Graves Sr., Black Enterprise founder
Earl knew Bobby Kennedy. Bobby Kennedy was a friend of his. And Obama, apparently, is Bobby Kennedy.
2007: Barack Obama (D)—$2,300

Earl Graves Jr., Black Enterprise publisher
He went to Harvard Business School. Obama went to Harvard Law School. They have so much in common!
2007: Barack Obama (D)—$2,300

Christie Hefner, Playboy chairwoman
Apparently, she has the audacity of hope. But with a dad named Hef, her Dreams From My Father probably come with centerfolds.
2007: Barack Obama (D)—$2,300

Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder
Turn-ons: Hedging your bets and covering all the bases. Pet peeve: Republicans.
2007: Hillary Clinton (D)—$2,300;
Barack Obama (D)—$2,300

Cindi Leive, Glamour editor in chief
Cindi’s come a long way in two years: she’s such a feminist now, she doesn’t have to prove it by donating just to Hillary anymore.
2008: Hillary Clinton (D)—$2,300
2007: Barack Obama (D)—$500

Marvin Shanken, Cigar Aficionado publisher
What’s that? You bet it all—and lost it all—on your “Florida primary” strategy? Give that mayor an exploding cigar!
2007: Rudy Giuliani (R)—$2,300

Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living founder
Did she pick Clinton because she’s a woman, or because she’ll restore voting rights to felons?
2007: Hillary Clinton (D)—$2,300

Laurel Touby, MediaBistro founder
Touby opens her purse wide for two causes: Clinton and feather boas.
2007: Hillary Clinton (D)—$2,300

Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone founder
Wenner, predictably, throws his money in with the Democratic Party’s rock stars. But does he rate a backstage pass to the convention?
2007: Barack Obama (D)—$2,300;
2008: Barack Obama (D)—$2,300;
John Edwards (D)—$1,000;
Al Franken (D)—$2,300;

Oprah Winfrey, O: The Oprah Magazine founder
The real question: If Obama wins, will Oprah buy everybody in the country a new car?
2007: Barack Obama (D)—$2,300

Kate White, Cosmopolitan editor
Word is that she took a Cosmo quiz to decide on her top candidate.
2005: Hillary Clinton (D)—$1,000

Anna Wintour, Vogue editor in chief
The devil wears Prada, and she supports Clinton. But she probably gives a lot more money to Prada.
2005: Hillary Clinton (D)—$1,000

Tom Wolfe, writer
Clearly, Obama passed The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and convinced Wolfe he had The Right Stuff.
2004: Barack Obama (D)—$250

Statistics: www.fec.gov and


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