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Candidates Thank Big Donors With ... Fancy Titles

Give Rick Perry $50K and you're officially a "Pilot"
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 18, 2011 3:47 PM CDT

(Newser) – Consider yourself a Patriot? Not until you’ve given Rick Perry $500,000. If you’re a little less flush, you can be an Entrepreneur for $250,000, an Explorer for $100,000, or a Pilot for $50,000. Perry’s not the only one handing his donors special titles in exchange for big bucks: Mitt Romney, who headed the Olympics in Salt Lake City, offers gold, silver, and bronze designations; John Kerry labeled top donors “vice chairs," Hillary Clinton used "HillRaisers," and Rudy Giuliani offered “Slugger” and “MVP” titles, the Washington Post reports.

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The practice dates back to George W. Bush, who named his donors after cowboy types: Pioneers, Mavericks, and Rangers. Indeed, President Obama seems to be about the only candidate not giving out such titles. What’s behind the donor-naming phenomenon? It was originated by charities as “motivation to move up the ladder,” says the head of a charity watchdog. “If these are very Type-A, competitive people, they want to be at the top level, so you give them the structure to aim for that.” (Read more presidential candidates stories.)

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