For the Record

Back on May 17, The New York Times kicked off a feeding frenzy by the mainstream media with a front-page article that purported to describe my political activities. Now that the initial brouhaha has died down a bit, I thought this might be a good time to set the record straight.

Anybody who knows me will tell you that I’ve never made a secret of my deep conviction that this country desperately needs to change its fiscal course if we’re to preserve opportunity for future generations. This starts with making sure we’ve got a President in the White House who is truly committed to sound fiscal policy.

As an entrepreneur, I have always believed in the importance of “putting your money where your mouth is.” And in this spirit, I have always been open about my intention to exercise my right to free speech by putting my own money behind a campaign to elect political leaders this November – including a President – who are committed to getting our fiscal ship back on course.

The first step I took in this regard was to interview a number of political consultants who might help the group I founded, the Ending Spending Action Fund, mount such a campaign. One of these consultants was an advertising man named Fred Davis. I first met Mr. Davis in January at his office in Los Angeles, where he showed me some samples of his work from previous campaigns. I had a second meeting with him in New York several weeks later, at which time I asked him to put together a proposal for a campaign. Mr. Davis presented his proposal at a third meeting in Chicago on Thursday, May 10. I was not at this meeting and only received a copy of the proposal the following Saturday afternoon. I read it that Sunday afternoon and returned it to my son Peter, telling him that my response was negative.

The following Thursday, May 17, The New York Times published its article about Mr. Davis’s proposal. It’s entirely possible that The Times’s reporters actually saw the proposal before I did.

After reading The Times story, TV commentator Joe Scarborough called it “phony journalism” and said the paper was “shamelessly cheerleading for Democrats.” Certainly, the article left a very misleading impression that resulted in a lot of misinformation circulating in the press and on the Internet. But as the old saying goes, the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. My plans have not been affected by any of this. I still intend to do what I can this year to help elect political leaders who share my commitment to economic responsibility.

To me, this is not a matter of Republicans versus Democrats. It’s a matter of common sense and good policy. Indeed, if President Obama were to introduce a balanced budget and a credible plan to reduce the national debt, I would seriously consider supporting his re-election. I love America and its promise of opportunity. I want the same opportunities I enjoyed to be available to future generations of Americans. This is not going to happen unless we all take action to make it happen. And that’s just what I plan to do.