Robert Mosbacher, a legendary GOP fundraiser who served as George HW Bush's commerce secretary, died of cancer today in Houston. The multimillionaire oilman was 82. Mosbacher, an influential NAFTA proponent, was "the shrewdest dealmaker I ever knew," Bush, a friend of half a century, said in a statement. "As good as he was at political fund raising—and he was certainly the very best at that—Bob meant so much more to us."
The New York native befriended fellow Texas transplant Bush in the 1960s, when Mosbacher was establishing a reputation for fundraising that led to a prominent role in five Republican presidential campaigns. "He really had an uncanny ability to persuade people to participate, to put their money where their mouth was," James Baker, secretary of state under Bush 41, tells the Houston Chronicle. "He made friends somewhat easily. But he was not someone you would like to cross."