Wednesday, June 4, 2003

What's the Buzz?

Reynolds is Bush's new finance man


Mercer Reynolds didn't stay home long.

Only two months after returning from his stint as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, the Cincinnati investor is in Washington, D.C., as the finance chairman for George W. Bush's re-election campaign.

Reynolds, who first befriended Bush in the early 1980s in Texas, will start campaign events next week, trying to raise more than $150 million for the campaign's first phase. The top volunteer fund-raisers, at $200,000 each, will be called Rangers. Perhaps not coincidentally, Reynolds and Bush were partners in the Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

The first event here will be June 25, when first lady Laura Bush will headline a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser at Reynolds' Indian Hill home.

Reynolds and longtime business partner Bill DeWitt raised millions for the campaign four years ago. Reynolds said the campaign is getting started later this time, and he previewed themes that will capitalize on Bush's top selling points.

"We have a sitting president who has tremendous popularity," he said in a telephone interview. "He's obviously restored integrity to the White House, and he's such a terrific leader on so many fronts."

What's in a name?

Reds owner Carl Lindner and his wife, Edyth, are taking more of an interest in baseball these days.

The couple will be the local sponsors of the Baseball As America exhibit coming to the Cincinnati Museum Center in August.

While neither side would reveal how much the Lindners paid, it is less than the $1 million that Museum Center officials were seeking for naming rights for the entire exhibition center. The new hall in the Museum Center's lower level will house not only the exhibit from the National Baseball Hall of Fame - Cincinnati is its fourth stop after New York, Los Angeles and Chicago - but also the Saint Peter and the Vatican exhibit, starting in December.

Money talks

For all we know, Sandy Weill probably never even has been to the corner of Sixth and Walnut streets downtown. But indirectly, the Citigroup CEO is responsible for what's there.

It was Weill's company that bought F&W Publications in Evanston in 1999. Several months earlier, as that deal was being negotiated, F&W sellers Lois and Richard Rosenthal had donated $5 million to the new Center for Contemporary Art, which opened last weekend bearing their name at Sixth and Walnut.

"The motivation for doing what we did was that we saw an opportunity for Cincinnati to have right smack in the middle of town a defining architectural moment," Rosenthal said last week during a walk through the museum. "We can thank Sandy Weill for the cash that generated that."


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