Category Archives:News

Q&A with May WCA@Lunch Speaker: Mica Mosbacher

Mica_Mosbacher-768x512Mica Mosbacher, Honorary Consul General of Iceland, philanthropist, journalist, author, and news commentator, will join WCA on May 18 to share stories about her life, steering us to understand that “God Can’t Steer a Parked Car: My self-made career as a journalist, achieved while juggling life as a single mother.” Mica will tell us about turning surviving into thriving as she continues to build a successful career as a media contributor and surrogate speaker. We sat down with Mica this week to get a sneak peek for next Wednesday’s WCA@Lunch:

WCA: Tell us about the phrase: “God can’t steer a parked car.”

I first heard the expression at a University of Texas Campus Crusade for Christ Bible Study. The premise is that you need to pray and have faith but you also need to keep your wheels in motion while listening to your inner voice that comes from God. God, or the Universe (regardless of your religion), can guide your steps but you cannot remain paralyzed if you are to find your place in the world.  I believe in serendipity and that there are no coincidences in life.

WCA: Would please share about how your career in communications started/evolved?

I began my career in communications early on as I wrote short stories and plays at an early age. As a 10-year-old girl in Memphis, Tenn., I started a neighborhood newsletter using the old fashioned mimeograph’s purple ink. No one under the age of 50 will know what that is. I also helped the local precinct chair put out yard signs and handed out flyers for Howard Baker, who was running for the Senate.

Later, I went to Hollins University and spent a semester interning at the NBC-TV affiliate in Houston under legendary news director, Ray Miller. I said in an interview that I would sweep floors.  I ended up doing on camera reporting and radio broadcasts. I transferred to UT Austin and ended up working at The Daily Texan and later at the state capital. I ultimately ended up in corporate communications working for two energy companies, Houston Natural Gas (Enron) and Mitchell Energy for their in-house publications. They provided a generous travel budget and freedom to write on a variety of subjects.

Later, I would work for Southern Political Consulting as a press secretary. After I married and had a child, I went to work as a volunteer for George H. W.  Bush (then VP) and later as a press secretary when he ran for President in 1987. I suppose politics and writing are two ongoing themes in my life. Following my divorce, I worked in retail while continuing to launch a freelance writing career after hours.

For the last 20-plus years, I have helped fundraise for many statewide and national candidates including roles in five presidential campaigns.

WCA: What is the biggest lessons you have learned?

We all endure many losses in life that involve change. Change is our only constant.  Personally, I have gone through kidnapping, parents’ divorce, my divorce, loss of a spouse, layoff of a job and losing of parents. I know that you have to play the hand you are dealt and stay in motion. Through loss of a job at Oppenheimer and Co., I met my late husband Robert, Sr.  He was a wildcatter, world champion sailor, US Secretary of Commerce and an amazing husband.

God never closes a door without opening a window. The key is to persevere and soldier on.  Believe!

WCA: How did racing cars inspire you to move forward?

While my husband was in hospice care at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2010, my brother John McCutcheon was scheduled to race at the Rolex 24 Endurance Motorsports race in Daytona.  He knew I needed a reason to go on. I went after Bob died. I was sad and depressed but while in the pits, I heard those engines start and my heart skipped a beat.  And that led to a new passion.  One must always have a purpose to go on and so we put together Godstone Ranch MS race for charity.

WCA: Who/what inspires you?

Those whom I admire most stretch their heads out of their comfort zone and make a difference by speaking up for those without a voice.  Susan B. Anthony, who started the Temperance Movement also started the anti-slavery society and circulated a petition that got 400,000 signatures to abolish slavery.  She also got the women’s vote.

Any woman can light a candle in a dark room and I challenge all of you to bring light into your corner of the world.

Noemi Ortiz is a copywriter and editor with more than five years of experience in various industries, including fashion.

Women Communicators of Austin

Mica Mosbacher on Fox Business News

NYT: Rival Factions of Top Donors Get Behind Rubio, Cruz

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Sunday showed that wealthy donors who according to The New York Times have built a powerful shadow Republican Party of outside groups, are splitting into two mutually hostile and deep-pocketed factions in support of Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
The report shows that many of the Wall Street financiers who have been the backbones of Republican super PACs in the last six years believe that Sen. Marco Rubio is the best GOP candidate to win a general election battle against front-runner Hillary Clinton. In the last six months, a super PAC for Rubio has raised $14.3 million, including $2.5 million each from the hedge fund founders Paul Singer and Ken Griffin.

And while the super PAC successfully attracted significant support from donors who previously backed Jeb Bush — Chris Cline, a coal executive, and Brian Ballard, a prominent Florida lobbyist — they weren’t successful in avoiding the release of a new counter-establishment of conservative donors whose favorite candidate is Sen. Ted Cruz.
The New York Times reports the counter-establishment includes some donors who are outside “the universe of traditional Republican giving” and include “wealthy evangelicals, libertarian businessmen, Israel hawks and others disenchanted by the party’s past nominees, and are drawn to Mr. Cruz’s uncompromising social conservatism and his promise to disrupt the party’s traditional power brokers in Washington.”

New Cruz backers include:

Wilks family of Texas, noticeable donors to anti-abortion groups;

Edward Czuker, a Los Angeles real estate developer and board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition;

Richard Uihlein, Illinois businessman who gave $1 million to a pro-Cruz super PAC in January.

“I think we’re rewriting history,” said Mica Mosbacher, a longtime Republican fundraiser who decided to back Cruz because she was tired of the party nominating “moderates and career politicians,” The New York Times reports
“We’ve got a civil war within the party,” Mosbacher added. “And people want someone who is strong.”

Ted Cruz and the GOP establishment: The New York Times’ take

Yesterday, I linked to and discussed an article in the Washington Post that found Ted Cruz struggling to win over the Republican establishment. But the New York Times, in an article by Nicholas Confessore and Matt Flegenheimer, contends that GOP donors are “learning to love Ted Cruz.”

The two articles aren’t as inconsistent as one might suppose. The Post focused to a considerable extent on establishment politicians; the Times looks at big donors. In addition, the body of the Times article suggests that big donors are a mixed bag when it comes to Cruz, with few actually learning to love the Texas Senator.

According to the Times, many previously anti-Cruz donors now are taking Cruz’s calls. They are well-advised to do so, since the odds that Cruz will be the Republican nominee have improved considerably.

But taking the Senator’s calls and making large contributions are two different things. The Times makes it clear that, as to the latter act, Cruz still is not having an easy ride.

For one thing, and to state the obvious, there is a serious ideological disconnect between Cruz and many big Republican donors. As the Times puts it, “a wider embrace by donors has. . .been hampered in some quarters by genuine political disagreement between more middle-of-the-road potential donors and Mr. Cruz, a professed conservative purist on economic and social issues.” (Emphasis added)

The Times saw fit to call Cruz a “professed” purist. But its reporting suggests that Cruz is the real thing. For example, one donor was poised to make a big contribution if only Cruz would accept that the earth has warmed. Cruz didn’t bite.

As one would expect, Cruz is faring better with donors whose focus is on Israel, according to the Times. Fred Zeidman — a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition who previously backed Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush — is now supporting Cruz. He explained, “there is no more staunch and vocal supporter of the state of Israel than Ted Cruz has been, and it is the primary reason I felt I had to support him.”

The Times says that some big donors are put off by Cruz’s personality. They complain that even in private, he comes of as sanctimonious and unable to present a persona that’s appreciably warmer than what one sees on television.

I’ve heard the latter point raised by in Washington who are no less conservative than Cruz. It may be a valid insight. But at this juncture, it’s not a good reason to withhold support from the man who stands between the abominable Donald Trump and the Republican nomination.

As Mica Mosbacher, a Cruz fund-raiser and wife of the late Robert Mosbacher, Secretary of Commerce under George H.W. Bush, puts it, “[Cruz] might not be the most fun to have a drink at the bar with, but America needs a designated driver.”


Mica Mosbacher on Fox News Business

California, here he comes: Texas Gov. Rick Perry returns for fundraising swing..again

Texas Gov. Rick Perry just barnstormed California this month, hitting six fundraisers in two days — and more than a few “meet and greets” with supporters from north to south in the Golden State.

But now he’s heading back again — with a fancy fundraising lunch at a celebrated star-studded bistro in Beverly Hills.

We’ve got a copy of the invite to see Perry and Texas First Lady Anita Perry at an Oct. 5 fundraising lunch at Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s famed flagship.

Cost to get you in the door for one of Wolfgang’s famed lunches is $500 to $1000, with $5,000 for a VIP couple’s ticket that includes photo opportunity with the First Couple.

Or for $25,000, you can be a chair with head table seating, 10 seats and a bunch of photo ops for your guests.
Event chairs include Steve Papermaster, Larry Paul, Shawn and Michelle Steele, Mica Mosbacher, and Peter Foy, among others.
All this California excitement coincides with a new campaign ad with a split personality. It starts out with a kind of apocalyptic Blade Runner feel when it talks about “President Zero” (ouch). Then it turns into a sunny “Morning in America” when it talks about the campaign of Perry for president.
Take a look, Californians, you’ll be seeing a lot more of these in the coming months:

California, here he comes: Texas Gov. Rick Perry returns for fundraising swing..again

GOP Partyers, Talking McCain and Thinking Rain


NNEAPOLIS — Normally, you have to pace yourself at pre-convention parties for a grueling week of free food, drinks and swag. Most insiders juggle invites for four or more receptions and dinners each night — on top of swinging by, oh yeah, the actual convention. But with Gustav threatening to stop everything, Saturday’s official media party was the only sure bet of convention week.

The city was at its most appealing: balmy temperatures, sunset on the Mississippi, tons of volunteers exuding Midwestern good cheer, with the Guthrie Theater’s modern chic as backdrop. But Topic A (and B-Z) was the impending hurricane, which put a damper on even the cheeriest GOP stalwarts.

“We just evacuated my horse,” said Houston’s Mica Mosbacher, national co-chair of Women for McCain and wife of former commerce secretary Bob Mosbacher. Instead of celebrating, she was fretting about her dogs boarded with a Texas vet: “We had to sign a waiver saying they couldn’t be responsible” in case of emergency.


Partisan sniping was in short supply; even protesters lacked bite. Code Pink’s Nancy Mancias grabbed what might be her only chance to tweak Sarah Palin, parading around in a navy suit, lapel pin, glasses and the governor’s retro updo. “It’s the only thing that keeps me up,” she mocked. But Mancias may be onto something: Even GOP insiders ecstatic about the veep pick started buzzing about an extreme makeover of Palin’s hair — ASAP.

The Arctic Fox

Notice anything about Sarah Palin? Mmmm-hmmm, you know what we mean. Don’t worry, apparently it’s okay to talk about; commentators were taking note long before she got the veep nod.

· “Let the rest of the country drool while we honeymoon with a hottie.” (Anchorage Daily News, Dec. 10, 2006)

· “New quarter design blah blah blah Alaska blah blah blah OMG Sarah Palin continues to be the hottest governor ever.” (, April 25, 2007)

· “Is it just me or do you get a kind of naughty librarian vibe from the governor? . . . I think she was kind of coming on to me a little bit, because she said ‘succulent.’ North to Alaska! Thank you, Governor, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful about your sexiness.” ( Craig Ferguson, June 27, 2007, after Palin offered him honorary citizenship and “rich, succulent wild Alaskan salmon.”)

Mica Mosbacher quotes

I have a lot of respect for Rick Perry, but his time has passed.

Mica Mosbacher

Found on CNN
7 months ago


It’s not that they dislike Jeb — they feel like he doesn’t quite have the passion.

Mica Mosbacher

Found on CNN
7 months ago


Full story

Anita Perry’s Political Baggage

As her husband’s presidential campaign stumbles, Anita Perry has become his most vocal cheerleader. But she’s got baggage of her own, Jacob Bernstein reports.

It’s rare that you find anything controversial to say about a woman who goes to work for a nonpartisan organization that fights sexual violence against women. But Anita Perry is not most women.

With her husband, Rick, fighting an increasingly nasty and uphill battle for the Republican presidential nomination, Mrs. Perry has become a formidable presence in his campaign: helping open campaign offices, doing town halls with potential voters, and defending her husband after several lackluster performances in the debates. “It’s been a rough month,” the Texas first lady said in a speech at North Greenville University in South Carolina, a Baptist Christian school. “We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press. We are being brutalized by our opponents and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith.” (The Perrys are evangelical Christians.)

Mrs. Perry is also fending off claims from people who say that her own career amounts to a series of conflicts of interests, in which she and the folks she works with benefit from her association with the governor.

Since 2003, Mrs. Perry has worked for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), where she’s raised roughly $1.5 million as a $60,000-a-year contract employee during her eight-year association with the organization, Deputy Director Torie Camp tells The Daily Beast.

This summer, a report in the Austin American-Statesman noted that a significant portion of Mrs. Perry’s salary at TAASA comes indirectly from the governor’s “political donors, state contractors, and companies that do business with the state or have issues before the legislature.” Indeed, of 37 major donors to the organization, the paper reported, only three have “no ties to the governor or state business.”

As TAASA sees it, the article in the Statesman was much ado about nothing. “We hired Anita Perry to be a development specialist and fundraiser and she has done exactly that,” Camp tells The Daily Beast. “In my opinion, there would be more of a story if she hadn’t raised $1.5 million and we’d continued to contract her for work. That would be a story.”

Still, if Perry’s campaign picks up steam again, his wife, 59, could find herself vulnerable. As she herself noted while campaigning in Iowa a few weeks back, “We know that every little nook and cranny is going to be examined.”

This last statement extends to questions about Mr. Perry’s sex life, which has been the source of unsubstantiated gossip over the years. In 2004, when some of these rumors reached a fever pitch, Mrs. Perry issued a statement saying, “It’s very sad that some people believe that spreading false, vicious and hurtful rumors is acceptable behavior. Rick and I are both outraged that people would drag our family into such ugly, politically motivated nonsense.”

As friends describe her, Mrs. Perry is a good ol’ Southern gal, a stand-by-your-man type, albeit one with a fairly substantial career of her own and a reputation for being a straight shooter.


Born in Haskell County in 1952, Anita Thigpen got her degree in nursing in 1974 from West Texas State University and married Perry in 1982 after a 15-year on-again, off-again courtship that began when the two were in high school. In the early years of her career, she worked in an emergency room and did a significant amount of work with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, according to Mica Mosbacher, a prominent Texan and friend of Mrs. Perry’s who’s done work with TAASA. “Sexual assault is an unglamorous kind of charity. It takes a lot to be able to comfort victims,” Mosbacher says. “She’s remarkable.”

After that, while her husband was serving as agriculture commissioner, Mrs. Perry worked for a PR firm called MEM Hubble Communications, where she did health-care consulting for pharmaceuticals like Merck and a local hospital that wound up in a debacle surrounding more than $1 million in allegedly mismanaged funds, according to The Austin Chronicle. When Perry became lieutenant governor, local Democrats wondered aloud whether she wasn’t doing lobbying “on the sly,” serving as a go-between for the firm’s clients and her ascendant husband. “Bullshit,” her old boss Bill Miller said at the time.

Still, Mrs. Perry’s work in the field of health care and women’s issues seems to have had at least some influence on her husband’s views. He supported Hillary Clinton’s 1994 health-care plan. He’s also made appearances at the Texas Conference for Women, an annual event his wife has helped spearhead for the last several years. And in 2007 he took a surprising stand in favor of administering the HPV vaccine to teenagers.

Last month, Michele Bachmann attacked Perry’s position on the HPV issue, saying that his support for the vaccine was nothing more than cronyism that occurred after its manufacturer, Merck, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to him and the Republican Governors Association, an organization in which Rick Perry has been heavily involved. But Merck wasn’t just a donor to Perry—it was also his wife’s former client from her days at MEM Hubble.

As for Mosbacher, she was approached several years back by Mrs. Perry about doing work with TAASA. The two women went out for a meal, where Mosbacher told Mrs. Perry that she was a sexual-abuse survivor herself and that she would be glad to do work for the organization and tell her story publicly to help raise awareness. Subsequently, she and her late husband, Bob (the secretary of commerce during the first Bush administration), became big supporters and fundraisers for Mr. Perry.

When the Statesman pounced on Mrs. Perry this summer, it also took a swipe at Mosbacher, noting that she and her husband donated $113,000 to Governor Perry’s 2006 reelection campaign. Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle reported that 155 people who’ve collectively given $6.1 million to Perry’s various gubernatorial campaigns have been rewarded with regentships within the state’s various universities. Among them Mica Mosbacher, who is now a regent at the University of Houston.

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Speaking with The Daily Beast, Mosbacher bristles at the notion there’s anything improper about her myriad connections to the Perrys. “I got a nonpaying job as a regent and opened myself and exposed what I thought was a very humiliating sexual assault when I was 20,” she says.

How did everything get so confusing, with friends doubling as political appointees, doubling as spokespeople for the charities of the wives of state officials? The answer is that Texas is one of a handful of states with virtually no campaign-finance laws. Says Andrew Wheat, the research director for Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that formed in 1997 to study political corruption: “Texas has long been the Wild, Wild West when it comes to money and politics. It’s a culture of pay-to-play and crony capitalism deals, and that covers both parties. What puts Rick Perry apart is that he’s been governor longer than anyone in history, so his people are everywhere. He’s built an unparalleled patronage machine. Is it possible somebody seeing this money machine might hire his wife for access to those contacts? Sure. That might be a shrewd strategic move.”

An effort to wrangle an interview from Mrs. Perry was met with radio silence from folks at the Perry campaign, though they have frequently shrugged off complaints of cronyism. In August, when The New York Times wrote a piece about Perry’s complicated ties to his donors, spokesman Mark Miner said, “These issues have been brought up in previous elections to no avail.”

Bad blood: Tension between Cruz, Bushes

AUSTIN — Ted Cruz once proudly wore a belt buckle borrowed from George H.W. Bush that said: “President of the United States.”

He campaigned and worked for that former president’s son, Dubya, former President George W. Bush. And Cruz helped write a book lavishing praise on him.

Also, the endorsement of George P. Bush, the family’s latest rising political star and son of Jeb Bush, lent credibility to Cruz’s then little-known 2012 Senate campaign.

Now, though, things aren’t so simpatico between the Bushes and Cruz — and not only because one of the Texas senator’s GOP presidential primary competitors is Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida.

Rising tensions reflect Cruz potentially helping to dent the Bushes’ position as one of the nation’s pre-eminent political families, personifying a deeper internal Republican Party struggle between insurgent conservative outsiders and the old guard establishment.

“There is this question of, ‘When are the adults going to come in and change the race?’ I think the adults are at the table. I certainly consider myself one,” said Mica Mosbacher, a prominent Cruz fundraiser whose late husband, Robert, was secretary of commerce under George H.W. Bush. “Some people are still in denial.”

Cruz supporters point to October, when George W. Bush said of Cruz to a roomful of donors: “I just don’t like that guy.”

“I think it hurt him,” Mosbacher said of the former president. “He failed to have his finger on the pulse.”

Ray Sullivan, who was national spokesman for George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign, said the comment “underscores a highly competitive, multicandidate race and different segments of the Republican Party.”

But he also conceded that it was somewhat unusual for George W. Bush to openly criticize a fellow Republican.

“The Bushes are a competitive lot,” said Sullivan, who ran a PAC backing Rick Perry’s short-lived 2016 presidential bid before jumping to Jeb Bush’s campaign in September. “I viewed that as almost a game-day, rally-the-troops commentary.”

Cruz hasn’t retaliated, but being criticized by George W. Bush delighted his tea party base. Since then, Cruz’s candidacy has risen in the polls, while Jeb Bush’s bid has struggled.

Clay Johnson III, a friend of George W. Bush since high school and former top budget official in his administration, said he recently spent time with the former president and they discussed how many of the crowded field of GOP White House hopefuls “have no idea at all about what’s involved in being president.”

Still, that public display of bad blood in Bush’s comment to donors was a far cry from Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, when Cruz was a domestic policy adviser.

Cruz later held jobs in the Bush administration in the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission and, on the verge of the 2004 Republican National Convention, wrote a chapter in “Thank You, President Bush,” a book meant to answer “Bush-haters.” In it, Cruz likened George W. Bush to Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan and wrote that some fiscal conservatives decried Bush for increased government spending, but “those concerns are often overstated.”

In his own autobiography published last year, however, Cruz made it clear his views had changed, criticizing Bush for excessive federal spending.

Also in his book, Cruz recalled borrowing jeans, a shirt and that belt buckle from George H.W. Bush for a 2009 sailing outing, writing that “it was surreal to be wearing his clothes.”

Before his 2012 Senate bid, Cruz explored running for Texas attorney general. In the autobiography, he detailed how, after the sailing trip, George H.W. Bush agreed to endorse that campaign. But Cruz wrote that Karl Rove, a top strategist for George W. Bush, pressured him not to publicize that.

Rove disputed the book’s assertion last summer, prompting the Cruz campaign to release 2009 emails from Rove that it said backed up Cruz’s account.

Cruz wrote that George H.W. Bush had wanted to call him “the future of the Republican Party.” Three years later, Bush’s grandson, George P., used those same words to praise Cruz during his Senate run.

In a 2012 statement backing Cruz, who was then an underdog in Texas’ Republican primary, George P. Bush saluted him and another now presidential hopeful, Marco Rubio, saying both “will inspire a new generation of leaders to stand up and defend American Exceptionalism.”

George P. Bush, Jeb’s eldest son, was elected Texas land commissioner in 2014. Through his office, George P. Bush declined to comment for this story, but he has said he still considers Cruz a friend — even if he’s now campaigning for his dad.

Brendan Steinhauser, a GOP strategist who is uncommitted in the presidential race, called the falling out between Cruz and the Bushes “a good example of the battle for the heart and soul” of the Republican Party.

“There may be frustration on the Bush side that this isn’t the party from 2000 to 2008, and certainly not before that under Bush senior,” Steinhauser said. “The tea party, the rise of the grassroots … that started during the younger Bush’s presidency.”