Harry Browne's Campaign Journal September 2000
Friday, September 1, 2000 Nashville
Just one interview today. It is with reporter Paul Rasmussen at WOKV in Jacksonville, Florida. We tape some soundbites he can use during newscasts next week, calling attention to my appearance there next week.
Once again my laptop computer won't start. The computer is only about nine months old, but it has given me a world of trouble. I won't mention the brand because the company has tried to treat me well, and people I know have found computers from this company to be quite reliable. I talk again with the computer company, and we agree that it will make one final attempt to get the computer working properly and reliably.
Today we receive an email from Peter Meister of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. He wrote a letter to C-SPAN saying:
You are the most open-minded network on TV, and as a Libertarian, I greatly appreciate your coverage of Libertarian events and candidates. Last week I saw you broadcast campaign speeches by Ralph Nader and John Hagelin. I would like to make you aware of Harry Browne's campaign schedule and to ask you to cover some of his upcoming events. Additional scheduling can be found at his website. Thanks again. You are a great service to democracy, and we really need you.
He says, "This e-mail led to me getting a call from C-SPAN. Anita Siegfried called to ask me if I knew who to contact to get updated information on Harry's schedule, as she is assigned to follow his campaign. I called her and gave her [Press Secretary] Jim Babka's phone number from the web page. I also left Jim a voice mail message with Anita's phone number."
It is amazing what Libertarian volunteers acting on their own initiative can achieve.
Today Jack Dean provided the website statistics for August. We had 198,339 different visitors during the month, compared with 108,861 in July with 328,921 total visits, against 191,237 in July. These are very impressive figures, and undoubtedly in the same league with the Democratic and Republican candidates. Geoff Braun has done a wonderful job with our website.
Saturday, September 2, 2000 Nashville
Just one interview today. It is with Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, the organization that initiates court cases to try to keep the federal government in line. Larry has his own weekly radio show. Judicial Watch is sponsoring a presidential debate on October 20. Six candidates have been invited. Al Gore, Pat Buchanan, Howard Phillips, and I have already accepted. George Bush and Ralph Nader have not responded. C-SPAN plans to cover the debate, and other networks probably also will cover it if George Bush agrees to attend.
Larry starts the interview by referring to the debate. The ostensible topic will be rooting out corruption in government. I say that corruption is a natural byproduct of size and power. The problem isn't the abuse of power; it is the power to abuse. Our task isn't to bring about "clean government" or "good government," but to reduce government to the absolute minimum possible. So long as the politicians have the power to reward their friends and punish their enemies, corruption is inevitable. (P.J. O'Rourke once said that when the legislature makes the rules for buying and selling, the first things to be bought and sold will be the legislators.)
Tomorrow Pamela and I will head for Florida for a week of events there.
Sunday, September 3, 2000 Miami
Pamela and I fly to Miami for a personal appearance, arriving at the Fort Lauderdale airport to save money flying Southwest Airlines. Steve and Michael Cloud are at the airport when we arrive. A campaign supporter has provided a limousine to take us to the Miami hotel.
At the evening rally there are only about 75 people an unusually poor turnout, probably because of the Labor Day weekend. However, about 60% of those people identify themselves as attending their first Libertarian event. Because most of them are brand new, the fund-raising is skimpy. The audience is very enthusiastic, however.
After the event I learn that George Bush has proposed three debates all with Al Gore alone. Because of this news, a late-evening interview is scheduled with Steve Norman of the Voice of America radio network. (The VOA broadcasts to overseas Americans, but also is heard in the U.S. via the Internet.) The principal topic is the debates. I point out that voter turnout seems to increase whenever the public is aware of more alternatives than just the Republican and Democratic candidates.
And, of course, I use the opportunity to list the various proposals the public won't hear if the debate is limited to just Bush and Gore. The audience won't know there's a candidate who wants to free them from the income and Social Security taxes, end the insane War on Drugs, get government out of their lives, and set them free to live their lives as they see fit.
Today Milton Friedman, the famous economist, was interviewed on C-SPAN-2. He said, "I am not a conservative, I am a libertarian. I am not a member of the Libertarian Party. But I am a libertarian. I am a libertarian with a small l and a Republican with a capital R. I am a member of the Republican Party but I am not a conservative."
In answer to a question, he said, "I think very highly of Harry Browne. I think his program is not one that is feasible politically at the present moment but that would be desirable and could be adopted. I have never myself been active in the Libertarian Party not for any particular objective reason but only because I thought I could be more effective and influential by working within the Republican Party."
About three years ago I had the chance to spend a few minutes with Mr. and Mrs. Friedman. He was very gracious to me, complimenting me on articles of mine that he'd read. I asked him whether he would actively support the Libertarian Party if it became big enough to be a competitor, and he said it was a possibility.
Monday, September 4, 2000 West Palm Beach
Today WorldNetDaily, a large online publication, runs my article "The Supreme Court Scam."
Hannity & Colmes have taken today off from their Fox News Channel TV show. The network reruns the broadcast from last week that included my interview.
My day begins with an interview with Ian Bernard at WSPB in Sarasota, Florida. Ian is 20 years old, a Libertarian, and a marvelous interviewer. He tapes the interview for later broadcast and for listening on his own website. He tells me the station manager at WSPB is a Libertarian as well. In our 30-minute interview, Ian and I cover the whole gamut of issues along with the importance of voting Libertarian. I point out that anyone voting Republican or Democratic is giving up deciding that he'll never be free and thus trying to make the best of a bad situation.
After the interview the limousine drives us to West Palm Beach for tonight's event. Since my computer isn't working, I borrow a computer from Steve, who borrowed it from Perry Willis, and try to catch up on the Campaign Journal during the drive.
On the way, we stop in Boca Raton at the home of Frank Longo the vice-chair of the Florida Libertarian Party. He has arranged an afternoon coffee with 17 people in attendance. One of them is Bob Burg, author of "Winning without Intimidation" an excellent book that shows how you can achieve more with people by treating them with respect (a book I would love for all Libertarians to read). Although Bob and I have corresponded by email for the past three years, I'm glad to finally meet him in person. The coffee goes well and we raise as much money as we did at last night's much-larger event.
We continue driving to West Palm Beach for tonight's event. Jamie Holmes of WPTV, the NBC-TV affiliate, is there to interview me before the event. (The interview appears on the 10 o'clock news; I don't see it but Michael says Jamie provides a flattering portrait of me and the LP, and my best lines from the interview are included.)
There are 75 people at the event, about 60% of whom are at their first Libertarian meeting. Fund-raising is sub-par, but the audience is very enthusiastic. Afterward Adam Weisholtz interviews me for an article in the student newspaper at the law school of Nova Southeastern University.
Good news today. The Rasmussen Poll has me slightly ahead of Pat Buchanan in its daily poll 1.0% to 0.9%. Considering the fact that he's already spent $11 million (including $4 million in taxpayer money) on his campaign, the fact that he's been on virtually every political TV show in America, and the fact that he's mentioned roughly 60 times as often in the press as I am, we have a lot to be proud of.
Mostly we should be proud that we're the only party that respects people enough to believe they should be free to live their lives as they see fit not as Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, Al Gore, or George Bush thinks they should. I believe our powerful message makes it possible to recruit each voter with far less exposure.
Of course, the poll figures will continue to fluctuate, but this lead even if only temporary demonstrates that the major media should be covering us more than they are. We'll have to see how they react to this. We immediately send out a press release to call it to their attention.
It's interesting to note that John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party is at 0.1%. After months of being in the news as Pat Buchanan's opponent for the Reform Party nomination, this is all the support he's found. His name has been mentioned over and over in news stories, but never do the stories describe anything he stands for. A year ago some people urged me to compete for the Reform Party nomination, because of the publicity that could be generated. But Hagelin's experience demonstrates how little that would have achieved while eating up a great deal of my time and our resources.
Tuesday, September 5, 2000 Orlando
The morning starts with a 15-minute radio interview with David Stein on the Talk America Radio Network. He's a comedian and we do some joking. But when I talk about repealing the income tax and freeing people from Social Security, he gets serious and says he's starting to like what he hears.
Pamela, Michael, Steve, and I drive to Orlando. On the way, we stop for breakfast at Denny's the official "Do you want fries with that?" bistro of the Browne for President campaign. (If I win the Presidency and a reporter asks me what I'm going to do next, I'll tell him, "I'm going to Denny's.")
During the drive, I'm happy once again to be on the air with Armstrong Williams. He's a black conservative Republican who probably agrees with us on about 80% of the issues. He's adopted the Republican Party as his only hope, but he keeps inviting me back to his show. He finds little with which to disagree with me, and is always very complimentary.
Today he mentions that Joseph Lieberman said there's a role for religion in public life, and that this provoked outrage from the Anti-Defamation League. He asks me what I think. I say that I wish Lieberman had said there is a role for the Constitution in public life. I would rather have in office an atheist who adheres strictly to the Constitution than a conspicuous Christian like Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton who pays no attention to the Constitution. I ask, "Don't you agree?" And he says, "Well, I'll have to get back to you on that one."
When we arrive at the Orlando hotel, I have a 5-minute interview with Larry Spilman for the 60 stations of the Florida Radio Network. He tapes soundbites for news items. We talk briefly about the debates (on everyone's mind right now), and I get a chance to run through the issues and plug our remaining Florida events. However, I forget to steer listeners to the website.
Then it's 45 minutes with Randy Rhodes on WJNO in West Palm Beach, Florida. She's a liberal but very respectful of my views. She says I obviously believe what I say and that's rare for a politician. We really go at it over the environment, health care, and a number of other subjects. All the callers are liberal as well. It's one of those occasions when, no matter what point she makes, a contrary example or metaphor comes immediately to my mind and so it's quite a high-powered conversation. When she says it's time to get off a subject we've been on for five minutes, I say "Okay, let's talk about the Drug War instead." She says, "We agree on that, but go ahead and state the case." I do. It's important to let her listeners know I'm the only candidate committed to ending the insane War on Drugs. She and I part on good terms.
Later I'm on for 15 minutes with Mike Bung at KXEL in Waterloo, Iowa the second time on his show. We talk about the debate situation, and I can't seem to get him off it. There's only so much to say, but he wants to discuss the jockeying by Gore and Bush. We finally go on to other topics, and eventually to the new poll results that show me ahead of Pat Buchanan.
The final interview is 20 minutes with Bob Rose on WDBO in Orlando. He apparently doesn't know much about libertarian ideas, but he received our press release on the poll results and called to arrange an impromptu interview. He quickly warms up to my proposals to limit the federal government to the Constitution, to repeal the income tax, to let people handle their own retirement, and to end the Drug War. He says, "How could anyone argue with this?"
The evening's event is attended by about 130 people, of which 60-70% are brand new. From the outset, they are very enthusiastic perhaps the most enthusiastic audience we've had. Probably because of the high proportion of new people, the fund-raising is below our usual result.
Wednesday, September 6, 2000 Tampa
My first interview is a half-hour at 8:30 with Gregg Napp at WSKY in Gainesville, Florida. He says he's a "true" conservative who wants smaller government, but he believes the reality is that only George Bush has a chance to move us in the right direction. I say that if the Republican Congress had reduced government by even 1%, he might have a case albeit a weak one. But instead the Republicans have made government grow just as fast as the Democratic Congress did. So why should anyone vote for a party that's moving in the wrong direction?
During a commercial break, there's a "Rush Limbaugh moment" in which the pompous one delivers some of his unbiased, pro-Republican wisdom. This time he's touting the Bush tax-cut plan as being much fairer than Al Gore's because, among other things, several million lower-income taxpayers will no longer pay any tax at all.
When we come back to the show, I ask Gregg if he heard Limbaugh's commentary. I point out that George Bush is framing his proposals to gain the approval of the liberal intelligentsia instead of making life better for Americans. The millions of Americans who will no longer pay any tax will then have an increased incentive to push for bigger government, knowing they won't have to pay for it. I also point out that all "tax cut" plans are fraudulent, because they don't reduce government itself and thus they just rearrange the terrible burden of big government usually to the disadvantage of people like him and me. He agrees with that.
During the show I keep hammering at the point that you won't get what you want by voting for the people who are making government bigger.
Jennifer Willis has joined us for a couple of days. And she, Pamela, Steve, Michael, and I drive to Tampa. Once there we head directly to WFLA-TV, channel 8, where I'm interviewed by Diane Pertmer. We do the interview standing up in the middle of the newsroom. People are talking loudly in the background and walking all around us, creating numerous distractions. This doesn't stop me from focusing on the task at hand, but I don't do as good a job as I should.
Then the station allows me to tape a 3-minute campaign statement that will be broadcast several times between now and election day. I do it extemporaneously and it goes quite well. I get in all the important reasons that people ought to vote Libertarian not just for me, but for Libertarians up and down the ticket.
We check into the hotel and I have two half-hour phone interviews. The first is with Glenn Klein on WTAN in Tampa. He has already endorsed me and plans to be at the event tonight. we cover a variety of topics, and we plug the event.
The second interview is with Rob Lorie at WMNF-FM in Tampa. He's friendly but much less supportive. He challenges most of my statements. For example, he contends that government has made cars safer even though almost every safety feature we rely on was developed by automakers in response to consumer demand for safer cars, not by government edict. By this time I'm flying, and I deal easily with him and the few callers all of whom want to raise objections.
From there we drive to WFTS, channel 28, for an interview with Brendan McLaughlin. This is similar to the earlier one at Channel 8. It is a 5-minute segment that probably will be played several times during the campaign. The first three minutes is taken by three standard questions, after which I have two minutes to say whatever I want. The first question is on school vouchers. I stumble on my words and I'm just about to ask whether we can restart the tape; but I realize he may say no, and my asking will be part of the interview. So I barrel ahead, and by the second question my delivery is smoothed out. The questions aren't very fundamental, but I manage to work in our proposals. And I devote the final two minutes to why it's important that you vote Libertarian.
Back at the hotel I call Michael Reagan's voice mail and leave a message congratulating him on the 9th anniversary of his syndicated radio show.
A computer technician arrives at the hotel and works on my laptop. He replaces the motherboard, power board, and processor. If I have any further trouble with the computer, I will give up on it.
There's one more interview before the evening's event. George Coryell arrives from the Tampa Tribune and we talk for an hour at the hotel. He's the paper's military affairs reporter, filling in for the political reporter who's on vacation. We talk at length about the task we Libertarians face in getting our message to the American people. I point out that we're the only party with compelling proposals, but we have to be able to transmit them to all Americans. We're not big enough, strong enough, and rich enough yet to be able to get the message to everyone. But continuing to grow at our current rate over the next two or three years might be enough to get us there.
There's a big crowd for tonight's appearance. About 175 people show up, and well over half are at their first Libertarian event. Also there is Glenn Klein, on whose show I appeared this afternoon. Two commercial TV stations plus a cable-access program have cameramen there. They tape portions of my speech and we have a brief, informal press conference outside the room immediately afterward. One of the cameramen lets me know how enthusiastic he is about the LP's progress.
The event goes very well. The fund-raising is satisfactory and the audience is very warm. Afterward the hotel employee working the cash bar in the back of the room tells me how much he enjoyed the speech. (The hotel employees frequently make their support known to me. And at our Woodland Hills event a couple of weeks ago, the woman working the bar at the event wound up wearing a "Browne for President" button.)
Thursday, September 7, 2000 Tallahassee
Pamela, Steve, Michael, and I catch a plane to Tallahassee (Jennifer is headed back to the campaign headquarters in Virginia). Our trip is a little over an hour on a prop plane; fortunately, the weather is calm and the flight is serene.
As of today, I'm 0.2% ahead of Pat Buchanan in the Rasmussen Poll. Of course, this will fluctuate in both directions. And when Buchanan gets his federal handout and starts advertising, he'll be more competition than he is now.
Shortly after arriving at the Tallahassee hotel, I have an interview with Jackie Bauer of the Florida News Channel which is covering me on behalf of the local NBC-TV station. In fact, we have three TV interviews in a row all with the Florida News Channel. In this one, Jackie asks whether it's difficult campaigning as other than a Democrat or Republican. I tell her no that the hardest thing imaginable would be trying to campaign on the Democratic or Republican platform.
A little later I have an interview with Penny Herman for the entire 30-minute episode of The Women's Interactive Network. The conversation goes very well, covering everything I'd like to see discussed. The show will be aired next Wednesday.
Then we drive to the Florida News Channel building for an interview with Mike Vasilinda, to be aired on the 6 o'clock news and again later in the evening. The Florida News Channel is a Florida version of CNN's Headline News broadcasting news 24 hours a day to cable subscribers throughout Florida. The interview is about 10 minutes, during which he shows our entire Social Security ad. At the end of the interview I tell people to come to my website for more information, and to find out about "my appearances this evening in Tallahassee and tonight in Jacksonville I mean tonight in Tallahassee and Saturday in Jacksonville I mean tonight in Tallahassee and Friday in Jacksonville." Well, they'll never forget me.
(Later that night I see the interview on the air. It goes very well. The mix-up of days at the end provokes laughter from Mike and me, and it doesn't seem to be a fatal error. Immediately following the interview with me, Mike talks with Bill Cotterell, the political reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat. They discuss my campaign very favorably. They agree I should be getting better press coverage since I'm polling as well as Pat Buchanan, and they commend my integrity in not taking federal campaign funds.)
Back at the hotel, I have a one-hour phone interview with Wayne Green at WTAL radio in Tallahassee. He is quite friendly. Although apparently a conservative, he believes the Drug War is a failure. We get along fine, and there are repeated plugs for my speech tonight. However, the final caller says a vote for me is a vote for Al Gore, and we get into a shouting match over whether George Bush really wants smaller government. I ask why the Republican Congress never passed a single bill to make government smaller and he says they were demonized by Slick Willie. I ask why George Bush didn't make government smaller in Texas and he says the governor has limited power in Texas. I ask what excuse he will make if George Bush wins and he and the Republican Congress continue making government bigger.
Whenever I get into a knock-down-dragged-out fight like this, I'm embarrassed. This is the first time it's happened in a long time, and I hope I haven't scared some people out of coming to the event tonight.
The evening rally goes very well. Wayne Green shows up, and so does Page Baldwin another WTAL talk-show host. In all, there are 140 in attendance, and about 60% of them are at their first Libertarian event. The audience is very enthusiastic. Several people tell me they came because they heard me on the radio and have now decided to vote Libertarian. A father and son are there together and they say they were "tax and spend Democrats" until they saw the LP convention on TV.
Three TV stations send camera crews, and we have an impromptu press conference in the foyer. One station is WTXL, the ABC affiliate, which later shows some footage of the event as the lead story on the 11 o'clock news. Another is WCTV, channel 6. And the third is WFSU, channel 47, the campus station at Florida State University.
Friday, September 8, 2000 Jacksonville, Florida
Today there's a letter to the editor on WorldNetDaily, the large Internet publication, in which "David M." says in part,
I wasted my vote on Bob Dole last time around no more. My vote for Dole merely told the Republican policy makers that I liked what they were doing, as ineffective as it was. Had I voted my heart, with Harry Browne, the Republican Party would have known that there was one more person out there who wasn't buying their weak, vanilla candidate. I will no longer squander or waste my vote on the lesser of two evils.
The following letter from Terje Norderhaug of Coronado appears in today's Los Angeles Times:
Re As Politicians Demonize Pop Culture, Young Voters Tune Out,' Opinion, Sept. 3: Danny Goldberg wrote that condescension toward the pop culture that millions of Americans like knows no ideological boundaries, listing Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan as being as outspoken as Joseph Lieberman in condemning youth-oriented entertainment. However, Libertarians like presidential candidate Harry Browne promise to keep the government away from dictating what media content young voters and others can enjoy.
At 8:30am, I have a 10-minute interview with Lee Martin on WJGR in Jacksonville. It comes in the midst of a discussion he's having with studio guests about problems with the Florida Supreme Court. He asks for my opinion, I make some general observations about the arrogance of all Democratic and Republican politicians and judges in ignoring federal and state Constitutions, and point out that Libertarians want to restore the concept of government limited to its constitutional functions. I get the opportunity to plug tonight's event twice.
Then it's an interview with Jan Michelson at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa. I've been on with him before. He makes it clear that he's closer to the Libertarians than to Republicans or Democrats. However, he doesn't believe Americans really want to be free. A lot of our conversation revolves around that question which is okay with me, as this is a subject dear to my heart. I want to reassure listeners that most Americans are likely to buy our product if they only get a chance to hear about it.
My next interview is with Andy Johnson on WJGR in Jacksonville. He, too, says he's much closer to the Libertarians than to Republicans and Democrats. However, he says he can't agree with us on the Drug War or immigration. We have a very interesting conversation. And at the end Ty Price, a local Libertarian, takes over for me.
Steve, Pamela, and I try to drive to a TV studio for an interview. But an intense rainstorm has tied traffic up for miles. There's no way we can get there within the hour. So we head back for the hotel. Not only has the storm killed a TV interview, but it probably cause a very poor turnout at tonight's event.
My last interview of the day is at the hotel with Tricia Booker of Folio Weekly an apparently liberal magazine covering northeast Florida. She asks a number of questions about issues and strategy, and concludes by saying, "I have to say this is the most interesting interview I've had in a long time." A photographer is with her, and Pamela notices that he doesn't seem to want to take any pictures of me when I'm smiling.
The interview concludes at about 6:15, so Pamela and I go on into the meeting room for tonight's 7:30 event. A dozen or so people have already arrived. The rain keeps pounding down, but the people keep coming. By 7:00 there must be 50-75 people in attendance. And when we begin the meeting at 7:30, there are 180 people. About 60% of those identify themselves as attending their first Libertarian event. Among them is Lee Martin, with whom I had an interview this morning.
Matthew L. Pinzur of the Florida Times-Union newspaper is there. (His article will appear tomorrow. It is unbiased and describes the big turnout. It concludes by quoting me: "'If you want smaller government, all the rest are details,' he said. The first step to take is to stop supporting people who make government larger.'")
The fund-raising is much more productive than any previous night on the Florida trip, and it pulls the daily average for the week up to a respectable figure.
Saturday, September 9, 2000
Today WorldNetDaily reran my article "The Supreme Court Scam."
We head home today. Our flight is at 7:50am, so Pamela and I get up at 5:30. We ride to the airport with Michael. Steve arose at 4:00 because his flight was scheduled to depart at 6:30. But when we get to the airport we learn his flight has been delayed, he's still there, and he'll probably miss his connection and arrive home several hours later than expected. As he has only 2½ days at home as it is, the loss of even a few hours is unfortunate.
We're very lucky to have Steve with us. As the Road Manager, he makes life much, much easier for me. He handles all the details, drives the car, juggles the supplies, communicates with our appointments, and a great deal more. Plus he is excellent company. Since we're spending much of this year together, that's a great relief.
Our flight leaves on schedule, so Pamela and I get home by noon. I will work the rest of the day, take tomorrow off, and then go back to the campaign on Monday.
Monday, September 11, 2000 Nashville
A lot of interviews today. The first is 30 minutes with Louie Free at WASN in Youngstown, Ohio, covering Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other nearby cities. He is very supportive, saying, "I've been an advocate of libertarian ideas for 45 years." The interview goes very well, and he says he wants me back for a longer conversation.
Then it's a one-hour online chat session at WashingtonPost.com. As I'm a fast typist, I'm able to get through 41 questions in the hour. Many of the questioners are supportive and ask how we can win eventually.
The next interview is with Chris Lato at Wisconsin Radio Network, an agency that provides news to 48 stations in Wisconsin and Michigan. Chris seems very sympathetic to the uphill battle we face against uninterested media and against politicians who are determined to keep us out of the public discussion. I have the opportunity to plug this week's two events in Wisconsin.
Then I have two interviews with reporters for Internet publications. The first is with Lisa Bowman of www.zdnet.com (the site for Ziff-Davis computer magazines), who asks a great many questions about technology and government. I make it plain that I'm opposed to Internet taxation, Internet regulation, and Internet censorship. (Her article will appear tomorrow; while it does recite several of my anti-government stands, it doesn't include any compelling reasons to vote Libertarian.)
The second is with Andy Petrizzio of www.Wired.com, an Internet publication. He is very sympathetic to libertarian ideas. We talk for nearly an hour about the technology industry. He says that some people think Bill Clinton's personal problems kept him from meddling more in the computer industry. I say that you better hope George Bush doesn't win and "bring dignity back to the White House," avoiding personal problems, and having the freedom to meddle deeply in the computer industry. (Andy's article will appear on Thursday, it is very extensive providing a lot of good information and reasons to vote Libertarian.)
I then have a 3-minute conversation with Kay at Radio Iowa, which supplies news to 52 Iowa radio stations. It's so brief that I say little more than that we want you to be free from the income tax, Social Security, and the violent Drug War. She says she'll give people my website address and details of this week's appearance in Iowa City.
My next interview is with Rocky D. at WTAN in Clearwater, Florida. He says, "I went to see Harry Browne here in Tampa last week and I liked what he had to say." Although he doesn't endorse me, he tells a story about going into a restaurant after our event last week, wearing a "Browne for President" button on his T-shirt. When I describe how much better schooling would be if it weren't a political enterprise, he says, "Hallelujah!"
We receive an email from Rhys Read, the Vice-Chair of the Illinois Libertarian Party, telling us that a poll conducted by the Chicago Sun-Times and Fox News has me tied with Ralph Nader in Illinois at 3%. Buchanan and Hagelin are each at 1%.
Today the Rocky Mountain News, one of Denver's two daily papers, published a Colorado poll showing me at 3% in the state, with Ralph Nader at 5% and Pat Buchanan at 1%.
Also today, the Savannah (GA) Morning News published a letter from Jason Nobles, comparing politicians with brats who continually misbehave but whose parents (the voters) let them get away with it. He closes the letter by saying, "My duty and conscience require me to vote Libertarian for Harry Browne to save our country, the child of liberty,' from the bad parenting of the Democrats and the Republicans. It's time to give these misbehaving brats a firm spanking."
We receive an email from Harry Gerard, informing us that the Knoxville (TN) News-Sentinel featured a pro-Browne letter with a headline across the top of the letters page. Mr. Gerard took the trouble to write the paper, expressing gratitude for the coverage.
I receive a phone call from Hilary Johnson, who has been working on a Worth Magazine profile of me for over two months. She has a few last-minute questions before the article goes to press tonight.
Tuesday, September 12, 2000 Iowa City, Iowa
I fly to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I meet Steve Willis and Michael Cloud. Steve drives us to Iowa City, where this evening's event will take place.
In the afternoon I have a short interview with a reporter at KKRQ-FM in Iowa City. I thought I was to be a guest on the Scott, Mark, & Cecily show, but instead someone named Steve interviews me off the air. He says the interview will play this afternoon, so I plug tonight's event.
Then it's a 15-minute taped interview with Bruce Baskin at KELA in Centralia. Washington. He is a Libertarian, and so the interview focuses largely on what we have to do to get libertarian ideas before everyone and to prevail in the political marketplace.
James Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette comes to the hotel to interview me. We talk for about a half-hour, with much of the conversation dealing with the problems we have overcoming the obstacles in the way of getting our message to the public.
I then have a 10-minute interview with Jesse Elliot of the Daily Iowan, the campus newspaper at Iowa University here in Iowa City. He has done a lot of preparation, having interviewed students who are Libertarians and students who are critical of our ideas.
Both reporters stay for our evening rally. Also here are photographers Danny Wilcox Frazier of the Iowa City Press Citizen and Buzz Orr of the Iowa City Gazette. They snap numerous pictures of me greeting guests before the show begins. Julie Englander of the local National Public Radio station is here as well. She tapes my speech and will report on the event for a national NPR report. (I hear later that NPR ran excerpts of my speech on its national network.)
A little over 150 people arrive. At least half of them are college students. When Michael asks how many of them are at their first Libertarian event, about 70% of the audience stands. Christy Welty, our Iowa Volunteer Coordinator, set up carpools for people traveling from as much as three hours away to see the event.
The audience is enthusiastic, but the fund-raising is below average probably because of the high proportion of students. My speech isn't one of my best, but three of the hotel employees tell me they enjoyed it very much.
Wednesday, September 13, 2000 La Crosse, Wisconsin
The day begins in Iowa City at 8:15 with a 5-minute interview with Mike Hayes at WIZM in La Crosse, to plug tonight's event. He is very friendly and says there must be a lot of people who agree with the libertarian desire to be free but don't know they're libertarians. I, of course, agree.
Immediately afterward, I have a 15-minute interview with Steve Roisun at WLSU in La Crosse. He seems totally unfamiliar with libertarian ideas even unaware that there are people in America who think the government should be reduced dramatically. So the interview seems to be a summary of Libertarianism 101, and I do get the chance to plug tonight's event.
Steve, Michael, and I drive the 225 miles to La Crosse. I'm able to work at my laptop (which is working well) as we drive alongside the Iowa cornfields and pass through a multitude of small towns. We stop in Marion, Iowa, for lunch. Alas, there's no Denny's, so we eat at the local Maid-Rite cafe.
On the road to La Crosse I hear by cell phone that the Arizona Supreme Court has rejected our plea to have me listed on the Arizona ballot as an independent candidate. The "official" Arizona Libertarian Party is not the organization affiliated with the national Libertarian Party, and it decided to put L. Neil Smith's name on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate for President. We filed petitions containing more than enough names to qualify as an independent candidate, but the signatures had to be filed before I was the LP's nominee. We applied for an extension, a procedure that almost all court precedents have upheld but the judge hearing the case misread the precedents and the state Supreme Court refused to hear our appeal.
It's unfortunate that some Libertarians are more concerned with proving they're superior to other Libertarians than they are with bringing about a Libertarian America. But this sort of posturing and back-biting happens in almost any large organization, and we should not expect to be exempt from the norms of human nature.
We arrive in La Crosse in the middle of the afternoon and check into the Radisson Hotel. Wherever we go, we stay at typical middle-class hotels, which is where the evening events are held. Some of them are nice, some not quite so nice, but normally none of them is memorable and I have trouble remembering any of them a few days after moving on.
Today, however, our rooms are on the 8th floor overlooking the Mississippi River, and the view is spectacular. I find myself spending several minutes standing at the picture window, just relishing the scenery. La Crosse itself is a pretty town and seems like a pleasant place to live.
Almost immediately after arriving I have a TV interview with Jim Masterson of WXOW-TV, who has come to the hotel. He asks a series of prepared questions, and I use the opportunity to reiterate the major campaign themes. The report that appears on the 5 o'clock news is quite good, and it even includes statements from a local political analyst telling people they should vote for a 3rd-party candidate if he's the closest to one's views. A further report appears on the 6 o'clock news.
Just before the evening's event, I have a live interview standing outside the hotel with Mike Thompson of Channel 19, the ABC affiliate. He is a young man, apparently without too much experience. He has a list of prepared questions, and goes through them without hearing my answers. Consequently, at one point he asks a question I had just answered.
The campaign rally draws an audience of 117 80-90% of whom identify themselves as being at their first Libertarian event. College students comprise at least half the audience. We learn that many of them are there on assignment from political science classes. As a result, the audience is not nearly as enthusiastic as at most of our events. Michael's jokes go unappreciated except by one woman in the front row who laughs almost hysterically at everything he says. The audience listens to my speech respectfully, but without enthusiastic response. We raise very, very little money.
Ed Hoskin of the La Crosse Tribune is there, as is a TV camera from Channel 8. John Davis of Wisconsin Public Radio interviews me after my speech.
Eric Bailey of the Los Angeles Times is doing an article on third parties, and has flown to La Crosse from Sacramento to sit in on the campaign event. He will be at tomorrow night's rally in Milwaukee as well. He says he'll be building his article around our campaign.
Today Alan Bock, an editorial writer for the Orange County (CA) Register published an article on AntiWar.com praising my foreign policy stands.
Jack Dean informs us that our website is setting new records each day for visitors. Yesterday, we had 13,380 different visitors.
Many of the visitors send emails with questions or comments. We are very fortunate that Jack Williams, my friend of 36 years, answers every message that calls for a reply. Some days there are as many as a hundred such messages, and Jack takes care of them all treating each one with patience and thoughtful concern.
Thursday, September 14, 2000 Milwaukee
We get up early to make the 4-hour drive to Milwaukee, stopping along the way for breakfast at a non-Denny's coffee shop.
We arrive in Milwaukee and head for a German restaurant where we have lunch with John Griner, his son Curt, and Mark Rutherford, the Indiana state chair. They have driven up from Bloomington, Indiana, to talk with us and to attend tonight's event.
After arriving at the hotel, I have three interviews. The first is 10 minutes with Kevin Patrick and Tracy Romine at KNEW in San Jose. It is a technology show, concerned with Silicon Valley issues. I, of course, focus on how dangerous it is for computer companies to turn to the government to try to achieve anything get back at Microsoft, receive research & development subsidies, or anything.
The second interview is a half-hour with Brian Wilson of San Francisco, who's guest-hosting this week on WBAL in Baltimore. Brian is an avid Libertarian who's been using this show all week to urge people to vote Libertarian. We talk about how important it is not to waste your vote by giving your blessing to candidates who are making government bigger.
The third interview is an hour is with Kathleen Dunn on Wisconsin Public Radio. I'm told by Wisconsin residents later that she's a liberal, but she doesn't betray any position in the interview. She is very cordial and a good interviewer. The first two callers are Libertarians, but then I get calls from people who are more typical of NPR listeners.
Eric Bailey of the Los Angeles Times has journeyed to Milwaukee from La Crosse and we spend an hour or so together talking further for his pending article on third parties. And he rides to the evening's event with Michael, Steve, and me.
The rally is at the American Serb Hall, instead of at the hotel. There's a large electronic sign on the front of the hall sending a message continually throughout the evening: "Harry Browne Libertarians Want You to Be Free." It is a large building with several big meeting rooms. It turns out to be an excellent venue with one of the best sound systems we've encountered.
A little over 200 people are there. This time only about 35% are newcomers. It's a very enthusiastic audience. Both Michael and I are "on" and the evening goes very well. The fund-raising is very productive. The entire event is a wonderful counterpoint to last night's event. Bob Collison and other volunteers did a terrific job of bringing out a good crowd.
Tami Kou of WTMJ-TV, Channel 4, is there to interview me and cover the event, as is Carlene Orig of WISN-TV, Channel 12, the ABC affiliate. And, of course, the ever-present Eric Bailey of the Los Angeles Times.
On the way back to the hotel, Eric joins us for a late meal at Denny's, the official Soup Kitchen of the Browne for President campaign.
The Bush and Gore campaigns announced today that they had reached agreement to do the three debates originally proposed by the Debate Commission. This virtually kills any chance that either of them will appear in a debate with any third-party candidates. Now we must persuade Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan to join me in a series of debates among the three of us. Since a couple of TV networks have already proposed such debates, there's a good chance we will see them.
Friday, September 15, 2000 Providence (RI) & Boston
Up at 6am for a 2-hour drive to Chicago to catch a plane to Providence. (The weird variations in airfare prices sometimes require us to cut expenses by making strange travel plans such as flying out of Chicago, rather than Milwaukee.)
On the way to Chicago, I have a 5-minute interview with Bill Becker at WWUS-FM at Big Pine Key in Florida. Although the interview is brief, I'm able to get in all the important themes.
When we arrive in Providence, we have a productive meeting in an airport room with a dozen Rhode Island Libertarians, arranged by state chair Daniel Harrop.
From the Providence airport, we drive to the Boston area. Steve and I drop Michael off at his home and head for our hotel. Having been short on sleep the past few nights, I'm exhausted and I lie down for a 45-minute nap. However, I set the clock radio incorrectly and don't wake up for two hours. I don't even know what awakens me, but it's just in time to get dressed for an evening TV interview.
Steve and I drive into the city to the local PBS station. Unfortunately, the directions we've been given aren't very precise. We miss the proper turnoff, and I have to call the station for directions. The engineer there feeds me instructions as we drive. The city is so torn up from the (federally funded) "Big Dig" tunnel boondoggle that time is beginning to get very short. I'm scheduled for a live interview precisely at 8:15 and we arrive at the station at 8:13.
The interview is actually with Wisconsin Public television, a network of PBS stations in Wisconsin, from which we've just come. I never catch the name of the woman interviewing me, but she's very pleasant and she gives me every opportunity to say what I want.
Saturday, September 16, 2000 Boston
Two events today. The first is a picnic and rally at the Woburn Sportsman Association. This is a gun club whose event today is for members and their families to have a day of food, flea-market booths, pony rides, and shooting. Carla Howell (the Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate) and I have been given the opportunity to give short speeches.
We were told that 300-400 people were expected, but the turnout is disappointing. Probably no more than a hundred people are in attendance at the time Carla and I speak, and a lot fewer than that are actually focused on the speeches. But we are well received.
While at the picnic I get to shoot a Browning BuckMark .22 pistol, the first pistol-shooting I've ever done. I shoot about 20 rounds at balloons 25 yards away. I enjoy the experience and I hit the targets on about half the shots.
From there, Carla, Steve, Michael, and I drive to the Boston Common in downtown Boston for the Mass-Can rally. This is the annual "legalize marijuana" rally, and it's a big one. I can't tell how many people are in attendance, but it has to be in the tens of thousands. There are booths, food, and a lot of music. Interspersed among the musical acts, there are short speeches, and Carla and I have been invited to speak. She gives an excellent speech, comparing her anti-Drug-War stance with that of Drug Warrior Teddy Kennedy.
I follow her with a 10-minute speech opening with my pledge to pardon the non-violent drug offenders. I go on to point out that the other presidential candidates are arguing over who's best qualified to run your life, to decide what kind of medical relief you can get, how many years you should rot in prison for smoking marijuana, and so on. I keep coming back to "I want to set you free," and the audience loves it. I also point out that only Libertarians can be counted on to be firmly and reliably against the Drug War because only Libertarians are opposed to virtually all government intrusions into your life.
While at the rally I'm interviewed by Monica Morales of WFXT, the Fox TV station on channel 25; Terry Adler of WHDH, the NBC station on channel 7; T.J. Winick of New England Cable News; both James Lubin and Adrian Bashchuk of Tufts University's TV station in separate interviews; Jamal E. Watson of the Boston Globe; Ernie King of The Gardner News (a suburban newspaper); Kevin Stone of The Daily Collegian at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and Jason Walsh of The Campus Report at Middlesex Community College.
(In tomorrow's paper, the liberal Boston Globe will estimate the crowd at 40,000. It also quotes me:
'The war on drugs is a tragic, flawed failure," said Harry Browne, who is running as the Libertarian candidate for president of the United States. "It is not the government's business to tell people what they should or should not put in their bodies. If elected president, I would pardon every non-violent federal drug prisoner to make room for the murderers, rapists, and child molesters who get out of prison early on plea bargains and early release," he said.
(The conservative Boston Herald, however, merely mentioned that Carla and I were there, with no statement regarding our stand on the Drug War.
(During the next few days we will receive numerous emails from people who were at the rally, telling us of people who decided to vote Libertarian after hearing the speeches.)
After the rally, Steve and I drive to the Boston airport, where we have a meeting with Bob Newman of Newman Communications, our public relations firm. We discuss ways to try to get more national TV coverage in the final seven weeks of the campaign.
Then Steve and I fly to Washington, D.C. he to be home and work in the campaign office for a few days, I to stay in nearby Rosslyn, Virginia, to do radio and TV appearances in the Washington area.
Sunday, September 17, 2000 Washington, D.C.
This is a lazy day. I catch up on sleep in the morning, and remain drowsy throughout the afternoon. I'm staying at a small hotel in Rosslyn, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
In the evening I have dinner with campaign manager Perry Willis and press secretary Jim Babka to discuss how we can ramp up the publicity for the campaign between now and Election Day. Afterward, I go to Jim's office to do an online chat session with FreeRepublic.com. A new audio software system is used, so that it's more like a radio show. I hear the callers' questions and respond audibly, rather than by typing my answers. The session goes well, but the audience is much smaller than it would be for a radio show.
Today Reuters ran an article entitled "Libertarian Browne Possible White House Spoiler." In it, Michael Carney points out that I'm polling at a few percent in some states, and might have more than the margin of victory between Gore and Bush.
Monday, September 18, 2000 Washington
The day begins with a 20-minute radio interview with Barnes, Leslie, and Jimmy on the Morning X show at WNNX in Atlanta. It is a Gen-X show and the questions are very good, very much to the point. I get the opportunity to make all the important points.
Barnes seems to take the lead, questioning my stands on the Constitution, the gun laws, the Drug War, and other issues. He isn't hostile, but he says that he thinks some of my views, while good, are too extreme that there's a middle ground that should be reached. I point out that he won't get to write the perfect laws he imagines. If he gives the politicians the power to make these decisions, he'll no longer be on the middle ground because the politicians will turn things into just what we have today. At the end, he says he doesn't agree with all I say, but that I'm the only presidential candidate he's heard whom he can understand; the rest are reciting double-talk.
Later, someone writes to me to tell me that Barnes is the son of Roy Barnes, governor of Georgia.
Steve and I drive into Washington to tape an interview with Bob Edwards for the Morning Edition on National Public Radio. The interview lasts about twenty minutes, and I get the chance to say everything I want. Interviewers on NPR and PBS generally do not intrude much of their own opinions into an interview, so they provide good opportunities for me to present mine.
Later in the afternoon I have a phone interview with Paul Ladd of the Nashville News, a suburban weekly. He knows very little about libertarianism, but he's very cordial and asks perceptive questions.
Then I have an hour-long interview with Otis Twelve at KKAR in Omaha. He's a genial fellow who describes himself as a Goldwater liberal and a life-long Democrat. Although he says he disagrees with me on a few issues, he is strongly opposed to the Drug War and he says he doesn't know of anything he strongly agrees with Al Gore or George Bush about. He begins the interview by saying he is "leaning toward voting Libertarian this year."
Today we had 18,440 different visitors at the campaign website. Not only is this a new one-day record for us, but more than 1,000 people logged on every hour for the 5 hours during 3-8pm, with a peak of 1,300 during 4-5pm.
Tuesday, September 19, 2000 Washington
Today's USA Today includes two letters to the editor by Tommy J. Anderson and Dr. Ted Norris, both of Texas deploring the lack of coverage for our presidential campaign.
I have a phone interview with Wyatt Haupt at the North County Times, a
newspaper published north of San Diego. He is writing an article on
third-party candidates running in California, in particular Libertarian
candidates. He's in his early 30s, and when I describe our plans to get him
out of Social Security, he says, "That's cool; I don't expect to ever
get anything back from Social Security."
WorldNetDaily (a large Internet publication) conducted a one-day presidential poll today. Over 23,000 voted, and George Bush won with 61%. I came in second with 26%, Pat Buchanan was third with 7%, and no one else had more than 3%.
Wednesday, September 20, 2000 Washington
In the morning, Jim Babka, Steve Willis, and I drive to Springfield, Virginia, to visit with Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America. Although he appears to be quite libertarian and finds no satisfaction with most Republicans, he says his organization isn't in a position to endorse me.
In the afternoon I have a 30-minute interview with Ralph Bristol at WSPA in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Before the show, his producer tells me he (the producer) has joined the party and has begun giving speeches on behalf of Libertarian candidates. I was on with Ralph a month ago and the Drug War came up just as the interview was ending. I suggested we devote another show to it to do it justice, and he agreed. So today we spend the entire interview on this subject. He doesn't reveal his own opinion on the subject, but he seems very skeptical of the idea that the Drug War will ever succeed. One woman calls to support the Drug War but the other callers agree with me.
Steve, Jim, and I drive into Washington and I spend an hour with Oliver North on his show, syndicated to 114 stations. The show moves along smartly, with many callers stating brief questions and my giving brief answers. The interview goes very well. The most important information I can impart is specifically why it's important that people vote Libertarian, not just agree with our positions and I get several opportunities to make that point.
North is strongly in favor of having third-party candidates in debates. MSNBC, his TV network, has told him it will gladly carry a third-party debate if he can arrange it. He says that Buchanan and Phillips have agreed to debate me, but that he can't even get Nader on the phone.
Later I get a call from Josh Burek of the Christian Science Monitor, who is doing an article on me that will appear either in the printed edition or online or both. He asks a lot of pertinent questions and the interview lasts about 40 minutes. He seems quite sympathetic. I grew up in a Christian Science household, so I kid him that we should devote our conversation to the current health-care situation in America. (Christian Scientists don't patronize doctors or hospitals.)
In the evening Steve and I drive back into Washington so I can appear on America's Voice TV, being interviewed by Bill Hormann for about 20 minutes. As I'm the last guest on the show, I watch the earlier segments, and I can see that Bill does an excellent job interviewing his guests. My interview goes very well, and it ends with a strong statement urging people to vote Libertarian.
Today Rick Holmes, the News Opinion Page Editor of the Boston-area newspaper MetroWest Daily News, published an article called "Pacifists in the War on Drugs." The article talked about the speeches Carla Howell and I made at the Mass-Can anti-Drug-War rally last Saturday. Holmes quotes my statement about pardoning the non-violent drug prisoners.Thursday, September 21, 2000 Washington
I know I've mentioned getting up early before. But it seems to be getting earlier and earlier. This morning it's at 4:30 in order to get into the city for a TV interview at 6:15. The interview is with Don Hudson at WJLA, Channel 7, the ABC affiliate, and it's only 3 minutes long. But I manage to hit the highlights and mention the website. However, I don't get time to plug tonight's event in nearby Arlington. (As it turns out, we have an overflow crowed at the event, so plugging it wouldn't make a difference.)
Back at the hotel, I have an hour on the phone with Tony Mancrini at WNIS in Norfolk, Virginia. We have an event there tomorrow, and Tony and I plug it several times. He has been very good to us, and he's very supportive. He'll be at tomorrow's personal appearance. The show goes well with plenty of callers, and an opportunity to hit all the important points.
Just after that, I'm supposed to have an interview with a Houston radio station. But I don't hear from them, and when I call I'm told the show is running late and won't be able to accommodate me today. So I tell them to call Jim Babka to reschedule the interview.
Kelly Beaucar of ConservativeHQ.com comes to the hotel for an interview. Although we've spoken several times on the phone and she's written several articles about me, this is the first time I've met her in person. Today she wants to concentrate more on my personal background, but we inevitably wind up back on the issues, the campaign, and the debate possibilities.
Then I have a phone interview with John Lowry at WKYX in Paducah, Kentucky. It is a taping for later broadcast. We go through the issues and he wishes me luck at the end.
Next is an interview with Erica Stevens and Jim Carney at WKTX in Cleveland. Erica seems to like my suggestion to eliminate Congressional retirement benefits and pay Congressmen $400 a year so that they show up in Washington for just a month every other year and spend the rest of the time in honest work in the private sector. Unfortunately, we lose the phone connection in the middle of the interview and I can't reach them by phone afterward. We'll reschedule the interview.
Josh Burek of the Christian Science Monitor calls again, requesting some audio soundbites from me for the newspaper's website. We go over some of the major issues and I try to be as brief as possible. He seems satisfied with what he gets from me.
The evening event is in Crystal City, just outside Washington. The audience is a little over 200, overflowing the room and creating standing-room-only conditions. Marianne Volpe and the Virginia Libertarians did a terrific job of drawing a crowd.
ZoomCulture.com, an Internet site, is doing a documentary on third parties and has a reporter and cameraman present. Michael Lynch of Reason magazine is there.
About a third of the audience are new to Libertarian events, and the entire audience is very enthusiastic. The fund-raising goes quite well. Michael Cloud is a brilliant emcee and fund-raiser. I don't know where the LP and our campaign would be without him.
Rasmussen Research's latest poll has Bush at 43.1% while Gore has 40.9%,
Ralph Nader 3.5%, Harry Browne 1.2%, Pat Buchanan, 1.2%, John Hagelin 0.2%,
and Howard Phillips 0.1%. The daily poll results are at the Rasmussen site
Friday, September 22, 2000 Norfolk & Manchester
Up early again this time at 5:15 to catch a plane to Norfolk. Robert Dean and Tom Cantrell meet me at the Norfolk airport. They take me to WVEC-TV for a 12-minute interview with Joel Rubin and Jim Spencer, taped for viewing Sunday morning after ABC's This Week political show. Sharon Wood, the local Congressional candidate is also on the show, and she does a good job of handling the question's put to her.
Apparently, the original plan was that Sharon and I would be on for the entire half-hour show. But a school bus accident has preempted the station's facilities, and we have to be satisfied with a one-segment interview squeezed in between on-the-spot remotes from the accident scene.
(Jim Spencer writes for the Hampton Roads, Virginia, Daily Press. His article on me will appear on Sunday, and it makes a big point that our views are out of the mainstream of American opinion citing our low poll numbers. He doesn't acknowledge that our poll numbers tell very little about the popularity of our views if very few Americans have heard our views.)
Afterward we head to Tom Cantrell's office where Robert Dean has worked hard to set up a small rally and press conference. Three local TV stations had committed to attending, but the bus accident has kept all of them away. However, Janie Bryant of the Norfolk Pilot is present and asking questions.
Also present is Tony Mancrini of WNIS radio, who introduces me. Tony is a terrific talk-show host very bright and very entertaining. I'm thinking of going back to doing a radio show after the campaign, but when I hear someone like Tony I can't help thinking I'm out of my depth in a business with such talented people as him and Larry Elder.
Tony has already endorsed me. And on the way to the TV station we have heard him on the air making an excellent presentation on why the only wasted vote is one for someone you don't agree with. Tony gives a summary of that argument in his introduction now.
I give a 20-minute speech, talking mainly about why we have good reason to be optimistic. We're laying the groundwork for a possible victory before the end of this decade. About 50 people are in attendance which is quite a turnout for 11 o'clock on a Friday morning.
Robert Dean takes me back to the airport, where I catch a flight to New Hampshire via Philadelphia.
Art Olivier arrives at the Manchester airport about the same time I do. Don Gorman drives Art and me from the airport to a banquet staged by Gun Owners of New Hampshire.
Don takes Art and me around the room to meet several of the many Republican office-holders in attendance. I'm surprised that some of them have seen me on TV and have nice words to say about me.
Gordon Humphrey, the former U.S. senator, is running for Governor and is the featured speaker. John Babiarz, the LP gubernatorial candidate, and I go up to say hello to him. I tell Humphrey that I regret to inform him that I've decided to endorse Babiarz. He doesn't see much humor in that (but then, now that I think about it, neither do I).
There are many Republican office-holders among the crowd of a couple hundred or so. But somehow Don pulls off a miracle and arranges for me to be the only politician there with a speaking slot, aside from Humphrey.
They give me two minutes, and the emcee makes a very nice introduction. I point out that incidents of gun violence cause Democrats to call for new gun laws, and Republicans respond by saying we should enforce the gun laws on the books. I say that those gun laws are the principal cause of gun violence because they put innocent citizens at a disadvantage to criminals who circumvent the laws. That's why Libertarians want to repeal all the gun laws. This gets a nice round of applause.
I go on to relate my plan to disarm the guards protecting the Congressmen until the latter restore to all American citizens the unconditional right to defend themselves. This, too, goes over well.
I also mention that Libertarians are the only ones that can be trusted to promote gun rights in all cases because we also want to get the government out of all the other areas where it has violated the Constitution education, health care, law enforcement, welfare, and so on. This also is well received.
Finally, I say we will lose all our remaining rights if we continue to remain on the defensive fighting only against new invasions of the Constitution. We must take the offensive and demand the repeal of all the gun laws and demand the removal of the federal government from all areas that have no constitutional authority.
Somehow I say all this in two minutes. (Well, maybe I take four or five.) And I'm surprised at how well a Republican audience responds.
We eat dinner, and then Don, Art, and I sneak out before Humphrey's speech. I don't think I can stand to sit through another speaker telling me we must "protect" our second-amendment rights when we've already lost them.
Saturday, September 23, 2000 Manchester
I'm able to sleep late this morning, and not a day too soon. I arise in the mid-morning and get some work done at my computer.
In the afternoon I give a short talk to the New Hampshire state LP convention. Other New Hampshire candidates speak as well. While there, I'm interviewed by Monica Morales of WFXT, channel 25, the Fox TV affiliate; by Terry Adler of WHDH, channel 7; and by T.J. Winnick of New England Cable News.
At the evening banquet, Marshall Fritz gives an excellent speech on the importance of separating school and state. I follow him with a 5-minute talk comparing the free-market computer industry with the government-dominated education business. This is an easy way to see how much better off we'd be if education were handled in the free market, as computers are (and how much worse off we'd be if computers were handled by government, as education is).
Afterward Jack Kenny of the Manchester Union-Leader interviews me for a few minutes outside the banquet room. He wants to get the exact wording on the analogies I used in my brief talk. I appreciate his desire to be accurate.
Sunday, September 24, 2000 Detroit
I fly from Manchester, New Hampshire, to Detroit. Steve Willis meets me at the airport.
Shortly afterward we hook up with Barbara Goushaw, the Energizer Bunny of the Michigan LP. Together we go to Excalibur, a gourmet restaurant in Southfield, where Sheldon Rose is hosting a dinner for Libertarian candidates and activists, as well as some of Sheldon's influential friends who lean toward libertarianism. One guest is Mary Kramer of Crane's Detroit Business, a local magazine. Sheldon is a successful contractor and property manager, and has been a great friend and help to the Michigan LP and to my campaign.
After the guests have had dinner, I speak for about 20 minutes and then answer questions. My talk concentrates on the good prospects for the LP to bring about significant change in America in this decade, and how important it is that we get the largest vote total possible this year to help the LP continue to grow in size, strength, and influence. Although fund-raising isn't part of the evening, afterward one family gives me an envelope containing $2,200 in donations.
Monday, September 25, 2000 Detroit
Today I speak at the Economic Club of Detroit. Not only is it an influential venue, but C-SPAN will be on tap to televise it nationally. I have prepared a special speech for the occasion, focusing on the income tax and Social Security with a new approach to showing people how important it is to support Libertarians now. It is all laid out in my mind and I hope it will be very powerful.
Unfortunately, my inconsistent sleep schedule has caught up with me. I have a great deal of trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. When morning arrives, I've been asleep for no more than two hours all night. I've spoken under worse conditions before, but I don't expect to be at my best to be able to remember all I want to say, to come up with the right phrases and examples easily, and to maintain a passionate energy with so little sleep.
Before leaving for the speech, I have two radio interviews to do from the hotel room. The first is with Marci & Joe at WKMI in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She asks most of the questions, and she finds my stands on the issues a little hard to believe. But at the end of the half-hour she asks if we can stay over for the rest of the hour. I say that I can't, because I have another interview now, but we can schedule another interview for the near future. She says she'll do that because she thinks I'm a "great guest."
The second interview is 30 minutes with Al Gross at KJSL in St. Louis. Early in the conversation he asks what I think of the sodomy laws. I say what people choose to do with their own bodies is none of the government's business, and it's very dangerous to think you can regulate other people's conduct through government because government winds up regulating you over things you believe are proper.
In the studio with him is a woman from the Constitution Party. She asks me what I think about Vermont's same-sex marriage law. I say that marriage is a private relationship, like a friendship or a business contract, and it's not government's business to determine what is or isn't a proper relationship so long as it doesn't intrude upon the person or property of someone who hasn't consented to the relationship.
Later she and I get into a battle over abortion. I still haven't gotten wise to what's going on here. But then the host says he will ask me a question that Larry King or Barbara Walters would never ask me: When I die, what can I tell God is my justification for getting into Heaven. I say I don't know, because I don't believe I can know God's will. (It doesn't occur to me to point out that God wouldn't have to ask; he'd know already whether or not I had qualified for admission.) Al says he does know what God's will is, and advises me to read John, chapter 3. I finally figure out that this is a Christian program.
Then Steve, Barbara Goushaw, Jennifer Willis, and I head to downtown Detroit for the Economic Club. I seem to be wide awake and not dragging; perhaps it's adrenaline.
At the Cobo Center, we meet up with Bill Halling, President of the club. He shows us around the center, and then there's a small press conference. Actually, it's a very small press conference. Present are Hugh McDiarmid, political columnist, and Alexa Capeloto, a Metro reporter both of the Detroit Free Press. They ask about 20 minutes of questions.
(Alexa's article will appear on the front page of the Metro section tomorrow, and it will be a very helpful article. She includes my statement that "Government is really good at only one thing, and that is to break your leg, then hand you a crutch and say, Look, if it weren't for the government you wouldn't be able to walk,'" There also will be a large photo of me at the podium.)
Next is a pre-lunch reception with about 40 invited guests. We then head into the banquet room. There are about 200 people present. After everyone has had lunch, a prominent lawyer, Beverly Hall Burns, introduces me.
I was worried about my lack of sleep especially since C-SPAN is televising the speech. But as it turns out, I'm full of energy and passion. The speech seems to go very, very well one of my best. I'm not interrupted by applause, but there is an enthusiastic ovation at the end. The question period also goes smoothly.
Afterward, Nolan Finley, an editorial writer for the Detroit News, asks if I can meet with the newspaper's editorial board tomorrow. I say I'd be glad to, but he'll need to set it up with Press Secretary Jim Babka.
Andre Holland of WKBD, channel 50, interviews me. And Jim Suhr, a staff writer for the AP, asks me some questions. (His article will appear tomorrow. A boxed adjunct to the article will describe my positions on our major issues, and will be very helpful.)
From downtown Detroit we head to the University of Michigan at Dearborn. A last-minute event has been arranged for political science students there. About 30 are in attendance. I speak for about 15 minutes and then answer questions for about a half-hour. Some respond very positively and sign up to volunteer for the campaign and the LP. Others are skeptical.
I find out that the interview I had with Bob Edwards for National Public Radio last week was broadcast this morning. Actually, it apparently was only part of the actual interview about 5 minutes out of the 20 minutes that was taped. But I'm told some of the best items were aired.
James Ridgeway of the Village Voice (a liberal weekly newspaper in New York) asks for my answers to five questions, to be posted on the publication's website. Here are the questions and answers. . . .
"What's the difference between you and Bush?"
George Bush wants to run your life. I want you to be free free of the income tax, free of Social Security, free of the Drug War, free of people like George Bush and Al Gore.
"Since the GOP doesn't have much going for it except libertarian-style economic ideas, why not just vote Republican?"
That would be an endorsement of the big-government programs George Bush is proposing or supporting.
"Aren't you like Nader and Buchanan just a spoiler?"
I am running to help build a Libertarian Party big enough to win the Presidency and Congress. By your definition, we could never have anything but the Republicans and Democrats, because anyone else would be a "spoiler."
"Give me three simple things you'd do first if elected?"
"Why won't you take federal election money?"
I don't believe you should be forced to support my campaign. And you certainly can't believe that anyone who feeds at the federal trough is serious about reducing government.
The Harris Poll today released presidential polling figures for a number of individual states. In each case, they listed four candidates Bush, Gore, Nader, and Buchanan but not me. The states included some of those in which I'm running ahead of Buchanan and/or Nader. And in some of the states, Buchanan was listed at 0%, but still no attempt was made to find out how much support we Libertarians have.
Tuesday, September 26, 2000 Detroit
The day begins with a half-hour interview with Chris Jagger at KDGE-FM in Dallas. I do it on my cell phone, as we are on the way to a TV studio. She begins by saying that she voted for me in 1996, but then she heard I want to repeal all the gun laws which she can't understand. We discuss that and many other issues, but I'm not sure whether she intends to vote for me again.
Steve and I arrive at WXYZ-TV, the ABC affiliate, for an interview with Chuck Stokes. His father is Carl Stokes, a Democratic Congressman, but his interviewing style doesn't betray any political viewpoint. We tape about 15 minutes, which will be aired in its entirety on Sunday. (You can hear it by clicking here.) Bill Shotey, the press liaison for the Michigan LP, has made a special arrangement with Carl to tape this on Tuesday while I'm here, rather than his normal Thursday. On every trip I've made to Michigan, Bill has come up with some good press contacts.
At one point I say the only defense we need is protection against missiles and a border patrol to protect us from those rampaging Canadians coming from Windsor (across the river from Detroit). He doesn't appear to be listening, and so I go on. But then I notice a slight smile creeping across his face. He heard it and now he gets it. He says something about the Canadians, and I say that of course I was joking about them; I love Canadians, and I lived in Vancouver for five years.
The interview overall seems to go particularly well. I think I'm discovering how to be passionate without being scary. I now can present our views in a logical, benefit-oriented way and yet be passionate without seeming a threat to someone hearing them for the first time. In this interview, all of that seems to come together.
Next is an hour in studio with Mark Scott, a Libertarian talk-show host on WXYT. Mark has always been very good to me and to Michigan Libertarians, and this hour goes very well and very quickly. All the callers are supportive.
After getting a haircut (my first in too long), I meet with the Detroit News editorial board. In addition to Nolan Finley, there are writers Shikha Dalmia, Jeffrey Hadden, and Bill Johnson. Also present is Henry Payne, the syndicated cartoonist whose work appears in newspapers across America, as well as in Reason magazine.
The meeting lasts an hour. Sometimes we get too far into the details of government programs and free-market alternatives. But we also cover the political aspects of why people should vote Libertarian.
In the evening we have a public meeting at the hotel. Barbara Goushaw led a group of activists in putting leaflets on cars in the parking lot of the adjacent office complex and that seems to have brought in some people who otherwise wouldn't have known about the event. In addition, a dozen or more people say they wouldn't have known of the event if they hadn't heard about it on Mark Scott's radio show. Kathy Gray, a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, is there. In all, about 250 people are in attendance around 40% of whom are at their first Libertarian event. The event goes very well.
Hardy Macia of Vermont has constructed a Harry Browne Action Page an excellent website that provides links to many different ways you can help the campaign.
A week or so ago, Human Events, a conservative national weekly newspaper, published an article by syndicated columnist Ann Coulter. In it, she told how she had tried to run for Congress in Connecticut as a Libertarian only to have the Connecticut LP refuse to endorse her. In the article she tried to make us Libertarians look like a bunch of amateurs who would cut off their collective noses to spite their collective faces.
Tonight I finish a counter article and email it to Human Events. I have no idea whether it will be published either as an article or as a letter to the editor. I don't try to respond to every negative article that comes along only when an attack provides an opportunity to present our message to people who wouldn't otherwise hear it. The purpose of such an article isn't to respond to the false accusations (as most readers will have long since forgotten them), but to get a platform to present our positive ideas.
Wednesday, September 27, 2000 Minneapolis
This morning the campaign released an email on LibertyWire, telling supporters that we've been rebuffed by Meet the Press. The program has scheduled a debate for this Sunday between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan, and didn't include me. When Jim Babka, our very able press secretary, called Meet the Press to plead our case, he was rebuffed by the show's producer who said it just wasn't "in the cards" that I would ever be on the show, even though I'm running even with Buchanan in the polls. When Jim asked what we had to do to qualify to be on the show, she said she resented the question.
Our email message asked people to blitz the show with emails and phone calls, requesting my presence. The first day at least 600 emails reached the show, and the phone calls overloaded the voice mail system.
Michael, Steve, and I fly to Minneapolis. We stay at the Embassy Suites, across the way from the Mall of America, the world's largest mall. Unfortunately, I won't have time to check it out.
In the afternoon, I have an interview with Julie Foster of WorldNetDaily. She's writing articles on each of the third-party candidates. We spend some of the time talking about the difficulty of getting the media's attention, since most reporters seem to consider only celebrities like Nader and Buchanan to be worthy of coverage, no matter how their support compares with mine.
In addition, national reporters don't see Libertarian proposals as serious. When there's a social problem, the obvious solution is a new government program. Gore, Bush, Buchanan, and Nader all have plenty of new government programs to load on us. But I'm proposing that we solve problems by getting government out of the way. That just doesn't fit the typical national reporter's mindset. Hence, it just "isn't in the cards" for me to taken as seriously as Pat Buchanan or Ralph Nader.
Afterward, I talk with Peter Orvetti, who is writing a profile for his website Web White & Blue. His primary focus is on why the media isn't covering me. I tell him he should call the producer of Meet the Press to get an answer. (I don't think he does.) Orvetti's article appears on the Internet a couple of hours later. It contains some misunderstandings about what I said to him, but it is otherwise a fair article and should do some good.
The Village Voice, a liberal New York newspaper, published an article today by James Ridgeway entitled "Forget the Nader Threat; Libertarian Candidate May Tip Election to Gore." In it, the author says that I may be the deciding factor in the presidential race by taking sufficient votes from George Bush in states where the race with Al Gore is very close.
Ridgeway may be wrong about that. My anecdotal experience suggests that roughly one third of the new support I'm getting has come from former Democrats, one third from former Republicans, and one third from people who haven't been voting. But I'm quite happy to have the press think I could be the spoiler.
Emiliano Antunez, chair of the Miami LP, wrote a letter to the Miami Herald, responding to an editorial that referred to 3rd-party presidential candidates as sideshows. The letters editor was so impressed that he suggested that Emiliano write a 650-word article for the Op-Ed page of the paper. Today Emiliano's article appeared in the Herald. It is witty and persuasive, arguing that third parties, if publicized, could do a lot to extinguish voter apathy.
Today the website set a new record with 17,606 different visitors, and with 21,578 visitor sessions overall.
Thursday, September 28, 2000 Minneapolis
The day begins at 8:30 with an interview with Hallerin Hill at WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee. Normally, no matter how early the interview, no matter how hard it is to wake up, I come to life as soon as the interview starts and I'm clear-headed and reasonably articulate.
But this morning I can't seem to get going properly (maybe it was getting a good night's sleep that hurt me), and I find myself continually stumbling over my words. However, I think the content of my statements is good trying to bring the conversation back to the benefits we Libertarians are offering you.
After that I'm on KREF in Norman, Oklahoma, with Ben Odom. For some reason, I start out with the impression that he's a conservative. Even when he refers to the local Congressman disparagingly, calling him a right-wing Republican, I don't catch on that he's a liberal. My mind really isn't working properly.
Not only that, I get caught up in a virtual shouting match with him. He believes government has done many wonderful things such as bringing electricity to rural areas or financing his father's college education through the G.I. Bill without worrying about who had to pay for these benefits.
But at the end, he graciously gives me the final three minutes to tell my story my way which I do. I realize that whatever the host's views are, there should be people listening who ought to vote for us. So I emphasize that anyone who wants smaller government is giving up if he votes for someone he knows will make government bigger.
With two interviews in which I don't feel I've handled myself up to par, I'm starting to get worried. Tonight there will be a debate, televised on C-SPAN, with Howard Phillips and John Hagelin, hosted (presumably) by Jesse Ventura. Will my mind, my heart, and my tongue be in sync by this evening?
After lunch I have an hour on KNTA in Rockford, Illinois, with Chris Bowman and Mark Mayhew to plug our event there this Saturday. They are very friendly, and now my words seem to be flowing more easily. It may help that they're not as contentious as the last host was, but my mind and mouth are now operating on the same wave length. The interview goes very well, and we get some good calls.
We frequently hear some Republican or Democrat say that the debates have to be limited to just those with 15% support in the polls because there are over 200 people running for President officially, and you couldn't possibly have them all on the stage. But I receive a note from Jack Dean (our hard-working Internet guru), calling my attention to information from Richard Winger (America's ballot-access expert). Winger points out that there are only 13 candidates who are on the ballot in even one state this year. Only 7 candidates are on enough states to theoretically win a majority in the Electoral College. Of the 6 candidates who can't win mathematically, the most active is on only ten state ballots.
The first debate should have been held in early September, well before voters had made up their minds on the basis of what little information was available. That first debate should have included everyone with a mathematical ability to win the election in other words, seven candidates (Bush, Gore, Browne, Nader, Buchanan, Hagelin, and Phillips).
There probably should have been two such debates, so that every voter would have an opportunity to view each of these candidates. Having seven candidates would have been no more unwieldy than the early Republican primary debates.
By late September, the field should have been trimmed to, perhaps, the top five in the polls. At that point perhaps only those with 5% or more in the polls should be included. And one or more of those candidates who don't have 5% now might have earned that much support through the exposure of the earlier debates.
The current debate system will always be rigged because the Republicans and Democrats operate the Debate Commission. They raise corporate money to sponsor these political-advocacy debates by legally allowing the corporations to violate the campaign finance laws and to deduct the donations from their income tax something you and I are prohibited by laws from doing. The Debate Commission is not something that sprung up in the free market; it is a creature of government.
I spend part of the afternoon filling out issue surveys coming from various organizations. And there are two press interviews handled by phone.
The first is with Patrick Howe, an AP reporter in Minneapolis. His questions revolve mostly around the third-party debate tonight. I tell him that I'll gladly debate anyone, provided the debate is carried on national television. He's very friendly, but who knows what he'll write. He releases his article later in the day and, happily, it includes my stands on the issues along with those of Howard Phillips and John Hagelin.
Then I speak with Adrienne Drell of the Chicago Sun-Times. We talk for about 45 minutes in two conversations. Although we cover many matters, she's particularly interested in the Meet the Press situation.
In the evening there's a third-party debate with Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party and John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party. I've said I would debate anyone, provided it's covered on national television. This debate is on C-SPAN.
Jesse Ventura is there, and he gives an introductory speech praising third parties and stressing the importance of having them included in debates. The moderator is Shawn Towle, who operates a political website. The turnout is only about 200 people, a disappointment to everyone. But, again, it will be on C-SPAN. A couple of TV stations are there with cameras, and there are reporters from the two daily newspapers.
Howard Phillips gives the first opening statement, and he presents his case in his usual philosophical, academic style. John Hagelin follows him, and makes virtually the same statements he made throughout his 1996 campaign.
I'm not at my very best. I feel a little awkward at the outset, things smooth out in the middle, and then I feel my closing statement is a bit weak. But overall the debate goes well for me. Many of my statements elicit an enthusiastic response from the audience even from supporters of the other candidates. My one big mistake is in forgetting to give the website address. Since I'm the first to give a closing statement, it's too late for me when Howard follows me and gives his website address. Overall, I'd rate my performance as a B-minus. After the slow start I seemed to get this morning, I'm satisfied.
There is a group of teenagers in the audience. They've been invited specifically to ask questions. At the end of the debate, they come to me and express their enthusiasm saying they hadn't been aware of the Libertarians, and find themselves in agreement. (I've received many emails from teenagers who say they wish they were old enough to vote for us.) These teenagers ask to have a picture taken with me and they get a Browne yard sign to hold up in the picture.
Today Jill Labbe published an article, syndicated by Knight-Ridder, entitled "Libertarians Are Starting to Look Good." The article is a strong endorsement of gun rights. It says, in part, "The more I read about these so-called crime initiatives, the more I start to look seriously at Libertarian Party candidates for Congress. What the Democrats want is obvious: more laws, because somehow 20,001 will be more effective than the 20,000 that the country already has. The Republicans keep harping on enforcement of those existing laws, but in reality, those laws do more to keep citizens of good intent from being able to protect themselves than they keep criminals from getting guns."
Friday, September 29, 2000 Chicago
The two daily newspapers report on last night's debate. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, after attributing to me one of John Hagelin's statements, goes on to report, "Browne said he wants to be a leader, not a dictator of the world,' while supporting a citizen's right to bear arms, working for affordable health insurance and devising a strategy to stop the war on drugs.'" (Excuse me, I have to get back to work devising a strategy to stop the "war on drugs" and figuring out how we can have affordable health insurance.)
The St. Paul Pioneer-Press begins its report with, "Less than a week after third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader attracted an estimated 12,000 people to Target Center in Minneapolis, three other third-party presidential candidates debated Thursday night before a tiny audience at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul." (Hmmm, I wonder whom the reporter is going to vote for.)
Do you wonder why I think radio and TV where I speak directly to the audience is so much more valuable than press coverage?
The AP report by Patrick Howe (who interviewed me yesterday) is more accurate, with no spin.
My day begins at 4:45. In the midst of getting dressed, I have a phone interview with Phil Paleologos on the Talk America Radio Network. He's very supportive, referring to me as "a true statesman."
We take a couple of calls including one from "Ruth of New Orleans," who used to call into my radio show. She is an elderly woman, who is an old-time liberal Democrat. During the 18 months I had my own radio show, she would call in once or twice a month, and we would talk in a cordial way about something on which we disagreed. However, she is one of the true liberals of old who truly support civil liberties, and so she is strongly opposed to the Drug War.
At the beginning of 2000, as we neared the time when I would announce my candidacy and devote full-time to the campaign, she said she'd donate to my campaign if I promised to stress my opposition to the Drug War. I told her I intended to make a big issue of it.
Today she says she couldn't sleep, went into the kitchen, turned on the radio, and there I was at 5:15 in the morning. She says she wants to make her donation, but she doesn't know where to send it. Since she doesn't have a computer, I tell her to call 1-800-777-2000 for a packet that will contain a donation form. She asks me to repeat the number; I do. The host says we'll move on to the next call, and Ruth says, "Wait a minute, I need that number." Phil and I each repeat it a couple of more times, and finally we move on.
Michael, Steve, and I head for the airport to catch a 7:10 plane to Chicago.
When we arrive, I get on the cell phone to talk with Ron Newman at WBIG radio in Aurora, just outside of Chicago. I'm on with him for about 45 minutes, until we arrive at the hotel in downtown Chicago. He is very nice to me, and quite complimentary. He also implies that other presidential candidates would appear on his show only if certain topics were kept off-limits.
Then I'm on with Hoppy Kercheval and Stephen Reed on West Virginia Radio, a network of 17 stations. We talk for 25 minutes about the issues and why you should vote Libertarian.
Steve and I head over to the Chicago Sun-Times building. While waiting in the lobby, I talk on my cell phone with Perry Willis, who gives me the good news that today's Zogby-Reuters poll has me at 1.6% and Pat Buchanan at only 0.6%. More fuel to heap on the fire at Meet the Press. (Ralph Nader is at 3.3%.) A Reuters article on the poll mentioned my lead over Buchanan, and so will probably bring my support to the attention of a lot of newspaper readers across America.
Perry also tells me that yesterday's press release about the "Meet the Press" exclusion was read in its entirety on the air by at least three radio talk-show hosts. One of them announced that he's voting for me. In addition, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper is using the release as the basis for an op-ed piece. It's tough going sometimes when we seem to be continually denied our due, but then suddenly a bunch of good news will pour in.
At the Sun-Times building, we meet reporter Adrienne Drell, who interviewed me yesterday. She has arranged for a photographer to take pictures of me. First she reads to me a draft of the article she's written about me, so I can correct any factual errors or misquotations. This in itself is amazing, as reporters tend to think they're infallibly right about what they heard someone say. And the article is very flattering, so I'm doubly amazed.
The Fox TV News Network studio is in the same building and we go there for me to have a 5-minute interview with David Asman (my third interview with him). Although the interview is brief, I manage to get in all my main points. I mention the fact that Meet the Press doesn't want me on, despite the poll numbers. David mentions that yesterday he interviewed Ralph Nader, who said I should be in the Debate Commission debates, along with him and Pat Buchanan.
After the interview, I'm back on the cell phone this time with Lee Rubin at KQED-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in San Francisco. Art Olivier has already been on the show for a half-hour before I join the conversation. He answers some of the questions and does an excellent job.
In the afternoon, I have phone interviews with Bill Anthony at WKZO in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and with Shane McBride at WNTM in Mobile, Alabama. Unfortunately, things are so hectic and confused today that I lose my notes and won't remember what was said in the interviews.
At the evening's event, there are around 150 people about 40% of which are at their first Libertarian event. Julia Beckman did a good job of encouraging people to bring their friends. Jim Tobin, chairman of Tax Accountability 2000 (TAC '00), gives a brief speech, endorsing me for president. The fund-raising goes quite well. A couple of TV stations do brief interviews with me and tape parts of the speech, and Harold Henderson of the Chicago Reader asks a few questions. Also, Kari Neumeyer of the Medill News Service is there taking notes.
I have to leave the meeting earlier than normal to head back over to the Fox TV News Network for a segment on Hannity & Colmes. To keep from repeating myself and wearing out my welcome, I focus on the wasted vote issue. The interview seems to go very well.
My article "The Media Know Best" appeared today on WorldNetDaily, a large Internet publication. The article criticizes Meet the Press for excluding me from this Sunday's broadcast with Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan.
Today WorldNetDaily also conducted a poll asking which third-party candidates should appear in the presidential debates. There were 13,372 votes cast. The results were:
Last week, Eric Bailey of the Los Angeles Times spent a couple of days with us in Wisconsin. Today his article appeared on the front page of the paper. It highlights the trials and tribulations of running a 3rd-party presidential campaign, using me as the main example. It's a very sympathetic article, but not the kind that will get us a lot of votes. The proposals we make aren't mentioned until half-way through the long article.
Today Oliver North released an article syndicated by Creators Syndicate, entitled "What are they afraid of?" It criticizes the Presidential Debate Commission for excluding Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, and me from the debates.
Also today the University of Hawaii newspaper Ka Leo O Hawaii
Saturday, September 30, 2000 Rockford & Arlington Heights, Illinois
Jack Dean reports that we're getting between 15,000 and 20,000 different visitors to our website every day now.
In the morning we drive to Rockford for a campaign rally. There are about 75 people at the event roughly a third of whom say they're at their first Libertarian event. Larry Stafford has done an excellent job in rounding up an audience and, in fact, helped with all three events in Illinois. The fund-raising is sub-par, but the audience is enthusiastic. Before and after the event I'm interviewed by Jim Wolf of the Rockford Daily Herald and Chuck Sweeny of the Rockford Register Star. Also present is Jon Bystrom from the Rock River Times.
Robert Ryder of WTVO, channel 17, is also there for an interview. His report will air on the 6 o'clock news this evening. It will include pictures of me addressing the audience, and a pre-speech soundbite in which I say "Libertarians want you to be free free to live your life as you want to live it, not as Al Gore or George Bush thinks you should."
After the Rockford event we drive to Arlington Heights for this evening's event. At the event, Iris Bryan of the Crystal Lake Town Crier asks me a few questions. We have a little over 100 people there, Again, about a third are new people. We're indebted to Ken Prazac for his help in making this event a success.
Michael and I each have wireless microphones. After he introduces me at the beginning of the meeting, he leaves the room. Shortly after I start speaking, I hear from my right a loud noise, and then another. At first I think there's a problem with speakers at the event in the next room. But then I realize it's coming from the speaker in our room: Michael's microphone is still on and he's sneezing. I say "Gesundheit!" to the speaker, and then call out to Michael to turn his mike off or take some Claritin.
The fund-raising result is way above normal making a nice conclusion to this leg of the tour.