Bob Perry Needs a Hug

The biggest campaign contributor in the country is a reclusive Houston homebuilder who doesn’t cooperate with the press (until now), never poses for photographs (until now), and keeps his personal life top secret (until now). Maybe it’s because so many people blame him for dragging American politics into the gutter.
Randal Ford

LIKE MANY ELECTION CAMPAIGNS LAST FALL, the race in Colorado’s Seventh Congressional District between Demo­crat Ed Perlmutter and Republican Rick O’Donnell was a bruising affair. Personal attacks and negative advertising were the order of the day. According to Perlmutter, O’Donnell was a right-winger with dangerous ideas who wanted to privatize Social Security, while pro-O’Donnell ads attacked Perlmutter for being soft on immigration. One such thirty-second spot was especially pointed, claiming that, as state senator, “Ed Perlmutter sponsored legislation giving taxpayer money to illegal immigrants.”

On its face, this ad seemed typical, one of thousands run last fall in an unusually hostile political season. Closer inspection, however, revealed that the ad was, on just about every level one can imagine, not

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