|Nolan Info and Opinion
Russo Info and Opinion
Nolan v. Russo on Amazon.com
Nolan & Russo in MD May 8
Report on Russo VA Talk March 28
Russo Statement on Matching Funds
Insider Lance Browne's Links On Russo
million HBO Film Flop & His Response
Ilana Mercer's Bad News Endorsement
Russo "Belt Incident" AUDIO File
Email About Russo Inappropriate Actions
Russo Campaign Denies He's "Manic Depressive"
Russo Campaign Last Minute Attack on Nolan
Convention Leaflet: Is Aaron Russo Fit to Be the LP’s Candidate?
NOLAN BIOGRAPHY vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=MZZ25708Overall Impression: I find Nolan personable, he can be fiery and hardcore in person (which I like) but has not been consistently (like on his March FOX News appearance where he was too passive). I gained my impressions of him from hearing him speak three times, seeing him on television, and bugging his campaign every time I had a concern -- always getting a prompt and polite response.
NOLAN POSITIONS vote-smart.org/npat.php?can_id=MZZ25708
LibertyforAll.Net Interview libertyforall.net/
RUSSO BIOGRAPHY vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=MZZ61664Overall Impression: I was initially prejudiced against Russo because of concerns his bladder cancer would reoccur under the stress of a Presidential campaign and he would quit the race as he did his 2002 race. Then I was annoyed by his PROMOTING anti-immigration in his campaign platform on his web page. When I met Aaron in Virginia March 28 I was more enthusiastic. I like flamboyant, "in your face" candidates! However, over the next month I became annoyed by his constant boasting, so when I learned he actually lost film companies $20 million in the early nineties, pretty much ending his film producing career, I couldn't keep it to myself. And then when I saw Russo in Maryland May 8 my concerns about his heath returned - he acted exhausted and then he mentioned the week before he'd had blood in the urine and had to run to the doctor. Additionally he was verbally abusive towards questioners and the other two candidates who appeared. (Listen to audio file.) A few days later I learned from several witnesses that in February at the California LP convention he had joked about Gary Nolan Lebanese heritage, calling him "Arab" and said, "Let's kill him!" I also heard a few more stories about his inappropriate behavior towards women. Russo's words and actions show he is an out of control and potentially highly embarrassing candidate. For the short overview of his failings see my leaflet distributed to undecided or uninformed delegates at the convention Is Aaron Russo Fit to Be the LP’s Candidate?
RUSSO POSITIONS vote-smart.org/npat.php?can_id=MZZ61664
LibertyforAll.Net Interview libertyforall.net/2004/april25/Interview.html
Aaron S. Russo
Party Affiliation: Libertarian
Date of Birth: 2/14/1943
Education: University of Tampa
Military Service: U.S. Coast Guard
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Hometown: West Hollywood, CA
Family: 2 children
Current Job: Commodities trader
Prior Job(s): Celebrity manager, film producer
Since 4/30/2004 (As of 5-7-04)
Contributions raised at Amazon.com: $$468.75
Number of contributions received at Amazon.com: 9
Average contribution: $17.78
(How does this work?)
Official Web Site: http://www.russoforpresident.com
America's in crisis and we're facing great danger from our own government. I've identified twelve points every American should be alarmed about. Let's examine what they are, and see what our government is doing:
1. Both political parties lie to us, and neither can be trusted.
2. Our economy is a disaster.
3. We're losing our right to free speech.
4. Both parties passed the Patriot Act, a crime against all Americans.
5. Both wage war against medical marijuana and alternative medicine.
6. Both attack our right to bear arms.
7. Both parties overtax, overspend, and overregulate.
8. Where is the gold owned by the American people? Neither party will address this issue and we need answers.
9. Both parties station our troops around the world rather than protecting our borders from terrorism and the abuse of social services by illegal immigrants.
10. Both parties are guilty of starting the war in Iraq.
11. Both parties want to keep our troops there indefinitely.
12. Both parties are equally guilty for America's youth dying there for no reason.
If you continue to vote for one of the two major parties, nothing will change, and you're wasting your vote. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil and not an answer. Don't waste your vote! It is time for the American people to rise up and put an end to our corrupt government, and I will be proud to lead the way.
I will bring our troops home from every corner of the globe. I'll revoke the Patriot Act, I'll cut taxes, cut spending, I'll cut the size of government. I'll stop corporate welfare. I'll engage all nations in trade and commerce. I'll protect our air and water, and I'll protect our borders, but most importantly I will protect our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
My campaign is not about any single issue, it's about government's proper role in your life. Do you want to live in an America where government is your master, or your servant?
The choice is yours. The decision is momentous.
We can clean up this government right now, but I need your help! Please forward this message to everyone in your address book.. and please donate. I'm Aaron Russo, and I'm running for President. Thank you, and please join me.
Finally, a Libertarian candidate with a charismatic personality.
Aaron Russo brings the magnetic properties of Jesse Ventura and Ross Perot together with the soundness of Libertarian philosophy. Russo is the missing ingredient for Libertarian political success.
Beginning with his early promotion and production of rock shows like Led Zeppelin, the Who, and the Grateful Dead, to managing Bette Midler's career to stardom, to his production of movie hits like Trading Places, Aaron has contacts within the entertainment industry which will bring his campaign considerable public exposure. Aaron has credibility with the media and celebrity publicists. Jack Nicholson made radio ads for Aaron's 1998 governor's race. The list of Oscar®, Golden Globe, Tony, and gold and platinum record nominations and awards earned by Russo is truly impressive.
In his 1998 run for governor of Nevada, Aaron built a massive grassroots effort, electrifying large crowds. Aaron won 26% of the vote in a four-way primary race. He will bring this experience and talent to his Libertarian campaign for president.
Aaron is committed to a serious campaign. His goal is to get 1,000,000 people to contribute $50 each. He has proven his financial commitment to make the changes that America needs. Aaron donated more than $1,000,000 of his own money for his 1998 campaign. Because of the likely dynamics of the campaign, there is tremendous potential for major fundraising from Hollywood.
Gary P. Nolan
Party Affiliation: Libertarian
Date of Birth: 6/13/1954
Birthplace: Cleveland, OH
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Current Job: None--campaigning full-time for president
Prior Job(s): Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, president of Capitol Watch
Since 1/23/2004 (As of 5-7-04)
Contributions raised at Amazon.com: $17,891.58
Number of contributions received at Amazon.com: 513
Average contribution: $34.88
(How does this work?)
Official Web Site: http://www.garynolan.com
My campaign for president cuts across traditional political divisions like Republican versus Democrat by appealing to the desire of all Americans for liberty and equality under the law.
As long as government has virtually unlimited power to tax and regulate, I believe that special interests will control policymaking. As president, I will protect the American people from special interests by sharply reducing government's ability to take our money, tell us what to do, and restrict our liberty.
I will work to take money and power from government and return it to you, so together we can build a free and prosperous America.
The Economy, Government Spending, Taxation, and Social Security:
Federal spending is ballooning out of control and deficits are exploding. Democrats would raise our taxes to pay for more spending--Republicans would raise our children's and grandchildren's taxes instead. Neither is acceptable in a free society.
I believe we should limit the federal government to protecting our lives, rights, and property, as outlined in the Constitution. This would enable us to cut spending, balance the budget, and ultimately get rid of the income tax and the IRS.
I believe it's time to replace the bankrupt Social Security system with individual retirement accounts and honest accounting. It's time to downsize the federal budget and upsize the family budget.
I will work to cut taxes and bureaucratic red tape, which will empower businesses, especially small businesses, to create jobs and boost wages.
Letting Americans keep the money they earn is the best cure for an ailing economy. Letting the people of each state and community decide for themselves how much government they want, and are willing to pay for, is the best way to make that government accountable to the people.
National Security and Foreign Policy:
National security is the primary constitutional function of the federal government. We must maintain a strong defense against potential aggressors and be prepared to respond to attacks like those that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Equally important, we must refrain from intervening in the quarrels of other nations and from making enemies of oppressed people who would otherwise look to America as a beacon of hope and freedom.
We must stop supporting authoritarian regimes and dictators around the globe. We must remember that our own government helped arm and train the military of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. We must not allow something similar to happen again.
U.S. troops are stationed in more than 140 countries. It's time to bring them home. It is especially ludicrous for America to be subsidizing the defense of wealthy nations like Germany and Japan, as well as providing 60% of the world's foreign aid.
Friendship, nonintervention, and trade with all nations is a time-honored prescription for an America that is at peace with the world. It was the policy recommended by America's Founding Fathers--one that I would restore as president.
Civil Liberties and the War on Terror:
We must resist the temptation to sacrifice our liberty in the name of security. These tactics undermine our national security instead of enhancing it; they have no place in a free society that values human rights and individual liberty.
I will work to restore our full civil liberties as a key component of enhancing our national security, beginning with the repeal of the USA Patriot Act.
Drug prohibition has created a gigantic black market, empowering criminal gangs that terrorize our cities and funding terrorist organizations like Al Qaida. It's time to repeal federal drug laws, enabling the people of each state and community to choose alternatives to this failed policy.
In a truly free society, neighbors watch out for neighbors. They don't resort to profiling based on stereotypes, they don't feel trapped and unable to travel. They work together in a positive way to keep their own communities safe. This is the America we deserve.
Take a stand--get involved--make a difference.
If you're tired of voting for Democrats and Republicans who say one thing to get elected and do the opposite in office, then stop wasting your vote. Vote Gary Nolan for President.
If you believe that the federal government has grown too big, too expensive, and too intrusive, then stop supporting the politicians and parties that made it grow. Support a candidate who is committed to downsizing the federal government. Support Gary Nolan for President.
Doing what you've always done and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. This election, do something different. Vote Libertarian. Vote Gary Nolan for President.
(Nolan spoke first)
I want to concentrate on the benefits of liberty and libertarian solutions, not just that big government is bad. National security? Stop invading other countries, trade and friendship.
Don’t scare people into the party, have to show benefits of liberty. Have to draw people a map, paint them a picture.
The only way fiscal conservatives can send a message to Congress is to vote for Nolan. Congress only understands losing elections. This is the right time because the Republicans are spending like drunken sailors. We have to set a new course for the world and show them liberty is not impossible. Open the doors to freedom, elect libertarians to federal office. I dare to dream and to believe. Seize the day. Carpe diem.
Q: Have you tried the “dare to dream” approach on regular Americans?
A: I’ve done it on the radio and reaching out to right with fiscal conservatives and then to the left on all the good issues we have on the left. We need to talk about libertarian solutions to corporate personhood, pollution, the horrible Patriot Act. 66% of people don’t vote. We can change the whole spectrum if we have the right message.
Q: What’s you position on overturning Roe V. Wade?
A: I want it to go back to the states to decides, just like we will gay marriage and everything else, to the state level.
Q from Carol: Would you use military force against secessionists who are not using force or fraud against anyone else?
Q: What are your plans to get on national TV? I know it costs lots of money.
A: First of all you have to have credibility. If you don’t have credibility, they are going to laugh at you, they are going to make fun of you. That’s what we’ve been working at. In last couple months we’ve done 60 radio and television interviews a month, 27 public appearances in 15 different states. That’s creating credibility and reaching out to voters.
Q: But last time no one saw Harry Browne commercials cause they don’t watch talking head TV shows.
A: Jesse Ventura didn’t run any tv adds in Minnesota until the month before the convention. Every campaign and election is different, we don’t know how much have to devote to tv, radio, ads, etc. Neither do Democrats or Republicans.
Q: I was bothered in 1984 when Pres candidate David Bergland tried to answer a question about secession and civil war, so we shouldn't mention this issue in public.
A: What we need to do is focus on the issues that the voters care about. I care about legalizing drugs and guns, but people care about health care and jobs, so before I can explain those other issues to them, we’ve got to bring them in.
Q: How is your strategy different from Harry Browne? Not only didn’t bring in results but he did worse the second time around. People think your message and strategy very similar to his.
A: No, mine is different. LP candidates have been talking about why government doesn’t work from the beginning. Forget big government. Talk to them about something they understand - the benefits of liberty. Gives amusing examples of how government hurts small businesses that people want to start. Imagine what happens if we get rid of social security and income tax and people have twice the income they have now. Jobs will be created. We can keep jobs in the country. We can make them know life is better for them. If you tell some guy with two cars in the garage the government is going totalitarian and the world is falling part and he’s got TVs, computers, he’ll think you’ve lost your mind.
I have more media contacts that either of my opponents or any of the presidential candidates who have run before me. I’ve done a radio talk show. I’m known for my political views. No body can come close. We’ve done CNN, Fox, MTV, 2 Road to the White House, Washington Journal (CSPAN), ABC did an interview. We’re getting out there.
Q: Is it practical to talk about getting rid of the income tax?
A: Yes. Can we do it overnight? No. But we can do it fairly quickly. There’s something called the federal excise tax. If the federal government outspends that they apportion the bill to states and the bureaucrats will start screaming and stop federal spending.
Q: Have you been elected to public office?
A: I’ve been in the public eye for years. Have had Cato people on my show many times. Worked on Capitol Hill for Capitol Watch. Worked with legislatures. I’m more qualified than George Bush or John Kerry will ever be. Was it Harry Browne who said, I don’t have any experience spending your children’s money?
Q: What are your main issues?
A: We have three core issues, the ones Americans care about. The first is spending, taxes and the economy. The second is national security. If you want a secure nation, you don’t go invading other countries. We are not the world’s police man - Cato Institute says we have a military presence in 144 countries. We have to bring them home. That’s what makes a secure country. Not putting tyrants in power we are going to have to deal with later. We put Saddam Hussein in power, the Shah of Iran, Osama Bin Laden. Look at the Treaty of Versailles we helped create, though we didn’t sign it, and that’s what later brought Hitler to power. Let’s stop resources by putting Art Garfunkle in jail for smoking marijuana and use those resources to root out Al Queda in this country.
Q: You are focusing on these issues?
A: Yes. When it comes to health care (his third issue), Congress passed prescription drug benefits, etc. that just cost a lot of money and hurt people. We have to explain to people we don’t just want to abolish these benefits but how can replace them. It doesn’t come off as radical when you explain the alternatives. (Gives examples.)
Q: Will you explain your education policy? Public funded schools?
A: Get the federal government out of it. Turn it over to local communities. Let them figure it out. But he favors home schooling and government doesn’t have the right to take money from any body and give it to anybody else. (Examples of why public schools bad.)
Q: Are you going to be in the debates? Are you going to fight for an invitation?
A: I’ll beat them in debates, but we know they’ll try to keep us out. We have to go out and talk to people, to small business, etc. Put coalitions together, start showing up in the polls, then we’ll be in the debates and if I’m in the debates I guarantee I’ll be the next president of the United States.
A: What’s you stance on enemy combatants?
Q: We have to go back to the Geneva conventions. Congress should have declared war to go to Afghanistan so now we have to make sure they have adequate representation so they can defend themselves. What the administration is doing is wrong. The US citizens held have to have their constitution civil liberties respected.
If you look at the war issue, the whole thing is coming our way. The polls are showing more and more Americans think we should not have gone into Iraq, it costs too much in money and lives. Too many Americans dying, coming home in pieces.
Q: What do you recommend for local candidates?
A: Go to small businesses and tell them how liberty helps them. Find out what the issues are in YOUR community and work on those. Buy ads on local talk radio and tell them you want to be on the show. Carpe Diem. Seize the day.
Applause from the group gracefully accepted.
* * *
Later, I gave Gary Nolan one of my “FREEDOM IS FOR EVERYONE Even Immigrants” buttons.
Where Russo pretty much repeats the speech I heard him give in Virginia on March 28 I refer to that link. VA/March 28
Hello, everyone, I’m Aaron Russo.
(Sees me.) I see Carol the troublemaker’s in the front row. What do the buttons say, Nolan Badnarik? (I should have mentioned the one reading "FREEDOM IS FOR EVERYONE - Even Immigrants.")
Reviews his show biz successes. Talks about endorsement from a big Gun Rights group. (See his web page.) Is now on MPP Board with Jesse Ventura and Jocelyn Elders.
(Speaks softly because he’s obviously very tired.) To me this campaign is about viability and who can bring the Libertarian Party to the forefront. Freedom being the essence of being. Spent $2 million of own money fighting for freedom. Libertarian Party has to look forward and not same old, same old. Talking about taxes and small business and health care, we’ve done that forever. Harry Browne did it, every candidate before did it. The difference between me and my opponent is I’m a lot more in your face.
Woman in middle of the room (not me) calls out: "LOUDER!!" General laughter. (“More flamboyant!” says Carol, referring to exchange at VA/March 28.) (Note: The hard of hearing Doris Gordon sitting in the front row called out louder again later in the presentation.)
America is like a red Ferrari about to go over a cliff unless we veer away. We are losing all our freedoms. I refuse to stand for that. Libertarian Party only party that stands for freedom. Imagine if Jesse Ventura or Ross Perot were libertarians. We have to bring that attention to the party.
Repeats allegation past Libertarian Party campaigns were used to make money for campaign organizers and and his challenge to other candidates on pledging 50% of contributions to TV advertising. VA/March 28
My TV ads starting next week. On O”Reilly, Hannity & Colmes, Larry King, Meet the press. May 17th TV ads start in Georgia, first city we’re doing is Atlanta so people can see it during the Convention.
Makes same snide comments about Nolan on Fox as VA/March 28.
To have a strong voice you need three things: ballot access in all 50 states, or 49 states (?). You need television advertising and you need polls. Do the polls our way so we frame the questions the way we want to.
I am a master of marketing, in movies, theater, record albums, hundreds of millions of dollars. I want the Libertarian Party to be known, respected because our ideas correct. Gary Nolan right about that.
Have to talk to more than just libertarians. Television is everything. Without television there is no campaign. To be credible need television. The message I’m sending is the two parties are the same.
I’ll spend 25% of money of first million on ballot access. I’m the only one doing that.
Last night I was out with John Stossell. One of my supporters “handles” Chris Matthews, John Stossell, Chris Mathews, Tom Brokaw, Rather. One of my supporters. One of my people. If there’s anyone who has access to media, it’s me.
Philosophy doesn’t matter unless we get it out there. Like next week when tv ads start. We have highest viability web site of the three candidates. Jack Nicholson endorsed me when I ran for Governor in Nevada. I don’t know if he’s going to do it again. Frankly, I don’t know. I don’t know how much money I can even raise since I haven’t started doing it yet. I am not going to raise money until the nomination is in hand and I’ve said that repeatedly.
It’s true I haven’t raised as much money as Nolan and most is my money. But once the nomination is in hand, I have a track record, I ran for Governor, in the movie industry. I have access to the stars. I’m not promising anything. I’m talking to Kurt Russell now about coming down and doing something. I have access that no one else has. So I am not going to make any false promises because people are accusing me of saying I say all these things that I never said. But I do have access. And I intend to use the access.
I believe in principles of the Constitution and only we the people can change the Constitution. We each own our own life as long as don’t do violence, theft or fraud vs. others.
Then he does variation on his “the government is the one who is radical” rap per VA/March 28.
(Tape stops here for a short time during this rhetoric and I turn it over.) Encourages people to sign his anti-draft petition.
Richard Campagna, VP candidate walks in and Russo jokes loudly, “Hey, Richard, you can’t be my VP. Get out of here.” Later during "Q&A" Russo "joked" that Campagna was "chickenshit" because he would not endorse Russo.
Russo continues rhetoric as in VA/March 28.
Doris Gordon interrupts and starts asking about abortion, some more unintelligible side talk. Russo says the question period is coming soon, “I’ll take as many questions as you like, except from Carol Moore.” Carol replies: “He’s afraid. He’s afraid.” General laughter.
Rhetoric from VA/March 28. about America becoming a police state. Tries to get us all to chant ALL OUR FREEDOM’S ALL THE TIME, but he doesn’t have the energy to rev us up like he did in VA. He’s in race to fight for freedom and reviews his career and successes. (Voice gets lower as he runs out of energy.) We’re in trouble if either Bush or Kerry win the election.
Q: The network TV’s won’t sell you time.
A: They have to legally. All those talk shows are nice but to win the election we need a persistent campaign of advertisements on TV. 80% of marketing has to be TV advertisements. I’m out to win this sucker. Harry Browne. The other candidates. It’s not that they’re bad people. They just don’t know what they are doing. We can do what Perot and Ventura did if we have the right guy in front who knows who to market and how to lead. I may not be the president but I will create a presence. That’s the bottom line.
Q: Only the actors have been elected, like Reagan and Arnold. Why don’t you find a libertarian who’s been in front of the camera?
A: I agree. I’d get out if Clint Eastwood came in. I’m talking to Kurt Russell right now. I’d get out if someone better came along. I’ve had business meetings with Clint. I’ve not heard back from him. This is not about Aaron Russo. This is about freedom for this country.
Q: Isn’t Kurt Russell a libertarian? Why can’t you get him?
A: I called my friend Rick Necita (sp) and told him I want to get Kurt to run for office to take my place. He told me to write up a letter and give it to him just last week and I’m waiting on an answer. I have access and I intend to use it. It’s worked in the past. Most of the things I’ve done I’ve been successful. I’m the only proven track record here. I’m the only one in my view who has qualifications to be president, that the American public could vote for and say “This guys reached the pinnacle of his career.” And has the right message. Without that, I don’t know how you expect to do well?
Q: What do you think about Disney blocking Michael Moore’s movie?
A: They have the legal right but I don’t think it’s correct.
Q: Question about gold standard.
A: Long spiel about the gold standard that shows he is unaware libertarians do not believe in the government imposing a gold standard but in free market money.
Q: Isn’t abortion murder? (Doris Gordon, of course)
A: Russo says he doesn’t like it and its up to the women who owns her own body, but he agrees with Gary it’s a states rights matter. (Doris starts ranting about abortion, arguing with him about abortion being murder, etc. until moderator tells her to quiet down.)
Q: I’m glad you pledged $250,000 to ballot access but this is the first time I heard you say you weren’t raising any money until the convention. There are some ballot access drives going on now that need money desperately.
A: I have always said that. Admits hasn’t given “much” money to ballot access. Asks questioner how much he’s contributed argumentatively. It’s simple, when I get the nomination, I’ll raise the money. It’s not my onus to raise money for fundraising, I’ll just contribute it after I get the nomination. But I am willing to put my own money up.
CLICK for Russo Belt Incident AUDIO File -Transcript Below
Q from Carol Moore:
Russo: Yes, Carol.
Moore: If you don’t want to answer questions about Cinema Plus, that’s fine...
A: I already answered those questions.
Q: Well there are more, but we don’t have to...cause it’s technical and...
A: Ask them...
Q: So you weren’t involved in any of the fundraising for Cinema Plus?
Q: And then basically they wouldn’t ...what happened with the films?...you mean they wouldn’t...
(Russo starts to approach me quickly unbuckling his belt buckle saying: “Will you fix this buckle here.” It's a little scary and I yell out: “You get out of here!” He comes closer saying the obvious double entendre: “I can’t get the hole.” I yell: “Sexual harassment” He says: “That’s sexual harassment? You led a very tame life.”
Continuing my question: So they basically didn’t like your films and didn’t release them and that’s why they ended up getting their money...
A: I can’t speak for them.
Q: They wouldn’t give you any reason?
A: Excuse me. I have no idea why they wouldn’t release them. That’s up to them.
Q: One more question. So would you use military force against American secessionists who were not committing force and fraud?
(My batteries died right after this. I said something like: "If you DO get all the publicity you talk about it's time to start the Secession Constitution Amendment to take advantage of it!" See my sites Secession.Net and my LP & Secession article. I change batteries, while catching most of what he says below. I lost about 5 minutes of taping.)
Questions about the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party. He says he formed the Constitution Party, did the MAD AS HELL video (note: which was a pilot for a TV talk show that never came off) and let Kevin Phillips have control of the party. (NOTE: I'm sure he said Kevin, but Howard Phillips eventually started his own Constitution Party, so evidently he made two factual errors there.) But Phillips turned it into a right wing Christian party.
Russo didn’t like the Libertarian Party and held off joining because libertarians argue too much about philosophy. “Do gnats have rights?” Didn’t want to have to deal with that sort of thing.
Also, as confirmed by two other participants, and doubtless remembered by at least half: During this period Russo asked for and got a glass of water and talked about his bladder cancer. He graphically talked about the fact that his doctor wanted to remove his whole bladder and his prostrate but he would not allow that because it would interfere with his ability to "climax," without which life would not be worth living. Instead he used holistic means to shrink the tumor before he had it removed. He then revealed that he had blood in his urine last week and went to the doctor who said he was fine. He was obviously very relieved by this. Nevertheless, he was much lower energy than he was when I saw him on March 28. My very first concern ever expressed about Russo, before I knew much about him at all, was that his cancer would return under the strain of a presidential campaign and he would drop out of the race.
(Tape starts up again.)
Q: Why haven’t you contacted your friends to prove to the rest of us that you can really get that sort of support?
A: I did the same thing when I ran for Governor. I don’t know how much money I can raise. I didn’t make any promises. I have a simple principled idea – I won’t ask for any money til I get the nomination. When I ran for Governor I didn’t know if I could do anything. So I wasn’t asking my friends to throw money down a black hole. When I get the nomination I’ll go to everyone I know and start asking for money. I have no idea how much money I can raise. I have no idea. But I have access to lots of money. I don’t know. I think it’s immoral of me to take money from people. I think what Howard Dean was wrong, spending 50-60 million of other people’s money and going no where with it.
I have a track record of success in my life. Look at my opponents track record and make the same measurement. You are welcome to. Then you make a decision. Gary’s a fine man but I care more about freedom than Gary. I’m not raising money til I get the nomination.
My track record should prove that I’ve been mostly successful. I have access to these people. I don’t know how much more evident it could be.
Q: Doris Gordon wants a follow up question on abortion, but moderator discourages her.
Q: How much money did you raise in your gubernatorial race from other people?
A: I don’t know. Probably $400-500 thousand dollars. But I didn’t even try then, that just came in. I’ll take money, but I’m not calling up people now. It’s expensive what I’m doing. I’m running TV ads next week. I’m spending thousands of dollars on TV ads next week. Where’s the money coming from?
Q called out from naughty Carol: Where is the money coming from? Is it yours or someone else’s?
A: What do you care? Did you raise your hand?
Q: What will be your policy on matching funds?
A: I’ll take em. I’ll take ‘em. A lot of libertarians don’t like that idea. I’ll take ‘em. If they give me money to fight for freedom, I’ll take it. I want to win. That’s all it’s about. If the government is going to give me money, they give it to everyone else, I’ll take it. And then when I become President we’ll stop matching funds. We’re at enough of a disadvantage. So I’ll take the money. I want to win. I want to win. I want to stop what’s happening in this country.
Q from supporter: You don’t go asking for money if you don’t have something to offer, right?
A: You are right, I can’t sell a script til have one. Can’t get money til have nomination. I’ll fund this myself, if I have to put in 40 - 50 - 100,000 dollars. I’ll put it in. Whatever it takes. That’s why we’re running TV ads. You know where the money’s coming from, from my pocket. That’s OK with me. All that matters is getting free. Not whether I made a movie that didn’t work.
Q called out from Carol: What about the TV show that didn’t work out? (MAD AS HELL)
A: Not everything I produced was a big hit, but I sure had a lot of them. A very high percentage. I never said everything I did was a success. I just said it came in on time and on money. I’m really smart with money. I know how to do it.
Q: Do you have experience with political debates?
A: I work well. My passion and my seriousness and my knowledge comes out. I’m serious. I believe we are heading down the drain. I’ve been in debates, of course. We’ll chew them up.
Q: What do your Hollywood friends think of your running?
A: Some think I’m crazy, but they are my friends. They offer me money and I’ll take it when the time comes. This one and that one has said can raise $50,000. I don’t know what I can raise. But I can spend smart. I can turn a few million dollars into $20 million dollars. The party can have all my skills to use if they want me to be the nominee.
Q: Will you help with marketing if you don’t win the nomination?
A: Only if the nominee will pledge to spend his money on television, then I will help. If they are not willing to make that pledge, then I think it will end up in people’s pockets. That’s what I think. I’m sorry to say it. I don’t think the money will be spent properly. There’s no reason not to make that pledge. I’m not going to help for no reason. Thank you very much.
People clap and Russo responds: “Where’s the standing O?” (Ovation) A couple people stand and clap.
* * *I had two private exchanges with Russo after the talks.
First I offer Russo a signed copy of my book THE DAVIDIAN MASSACRE and after thinking about it he takes it.
Later I tell Russo that coming at a woman with your belt undone is not a very smart thing for a presidential candidate to do. "Would you do it to a woman reporter who was asking too hard questions at a press conference?" He responds: "My buckle got unhooked! It wasn’t anything bad!"
I tell him that I wasn’t happy about all the boasting and hype on the Amazon.com site and he said he didn’t even know what was on the page.
He complains about my email about the $20 million dollars his movies lost. "Why did you have to send that email around, why couldn’t you just ask about what happened with the film company?" I said: "I haven’t been able to get a straight answer on whether you are going to keep using # 9 on immigration." He replies: "Immigration. Immigration. THAT’s what this is all about!"
Outside the room, another person’s question to Russo as we stood around after the talk was: “I’m afraid of the Dean factor. You might do something really wild and embarrass the party.”
I didn’t hear Russo’s response, but I told the person that Russo’s coming at me unbuckling his buckle cause he didn’t like my question was pretty wild. Again I asked: "What if he did that to a female reporter who was asking him tough questions?" Since then I have learned he has acted inappropriately with women at other events as well. While most women may not to prefer to speak out about such incidents, one woman complains below.
|Notes on Russo Talk
Russo shows first two drafts of his first online and television commercials. One says that Russo thinks the two parties are the same. He wants to stop war in Iraq and bring troops home; stop government overspending; enforce immigration laws; abolish the Patriot Act; restore personal freedom. "Aaron Russo, all your freedoms all the time." Other one shows check lists of how Kerry-Bush the same.
Russo says he is going after Bush and Kerry as being same person, as when on Fox. My opponent, Gary Nolan, was on Fox News – I was on so they gave him a chance to go on. Announcer says, Mr. Nolan, you sound just like the Democrats and the Republicans. He says, “Yes, that’s right.” What kind of Libertarian would say, “Yes that’s right.”
This is end of America as we know it and he wants to return to a constitutional republic, constitution and bill of rights.
Dismays me I see many libertarians using the Presidential nomination as a cottage industry to make money. I don’t mean my two opponents. But the last Presidential campaign we raised $2.7 million dollars. Less than 5% or $125,000 was actually used for tv commercials. It’s a joke, it’s wrong. Cause we’re gonna make a difference with wise tv advertising and we must get publicity. I’ve been on Fox News, CNN, Time Magazine did an interview coming out soon. Howard Stern has me on this Weds. AM. Jack Nicholson endorsed me in an ad when ran for Governor. And hopefully some of my Hollywood friends will endorse me. They are terrified of Bush.
The reality is Bush and Kerry are pretty much same on issues, even though people think its polarized. Only nuances between them.
The day before Russo made this statement he debated Gary Nolan in Richmond and Nolan read what he actually said on FOX NEWS.
ASMAN: But Gary, so far, you have said nothing that the other two candidates are not saying.
NOLAN: That's right. They're all saying it, but only the Libertarian party can deliver.
ASMAN: What do you deliver that the other parties don't? Let's put it that way.
NOLAN: How about really reducing the size of the federal government? I'm not talking Washington speak. I'm talking really reducing the size of the federal government. If we do that, David, and we get rid of this cumbersome and burdensome income tax, imagine what happens to the economy and to the middle class?
the last campaign only $120,000 were spent for ads. So I’ve been
pressing Gary Nolan to commit — cause he’s got the same people backing
him as backed Harry Browne. So I said, Gary, if someone gives $1000 to
your campaign, will you spend half on TV advertising??
Badnarik agrees he would put 50% of money into tv advertising. But Gary Nolan still refuses to. People said I shouldn’t bring up this dirty laundry; I’m not politically correct. All I care about is freedom. No matter who wins I want to see that we get TV advertising and publicity. Definition of insanity is doing same thing over and over again and that’s why I came into this race. I figure of anyone running I’m most high profile, have most connections, will get most media attention. I’ve reached pinnacle of my career, I’m a master of marketing, I received almost 30% of the vote in Nevada in a four way race. I’ll stop pounding this issue when all the other candidates agree to give up half their money to advertising.
Another reasons for running -- I want to win. I don’t do things small. I do things big. I will create a presence in this party for America. We are the last best hope of America. He will attack Kerry from marijuana and gay marriage issues and Bush on the immigration and overspending issues.
Russo has to provide a campaign budget that PROVES that he can afford to do what he says. Is he underestimating the cost of overhead, travel, ballot access, etc?
people complain to me about my stance on immigration. As long as
America is a welfare state, you cannot have open borders. You are
welcome to disagree with me but I refuse to let other people from other
countries come in here and live off Americans. I don’t believe in the
redistribution of wealth. If we get rid of the welfare state I have no
problem with open borders. Immigration problem is really a welfare
||Neither Russo's web page nor his brochure
mention getting rid of individual welfare (schools,
hospitals, medicaid, food stamps, the dole, medicare, social security), only
corporate welfare. Both leave the impression that this is a
SECURITY/PROTECT BORDERS and not a WELFARE issue.
of physics don’t change and principles of our constitution don’t
change, unless we the people decide to change them. No bureaucrats,
executive orders, etc. What’s radical is two parties lying to us,
printing money at will, keeping us all in debt, taxing us, taking money
the back. We need hard money, gold and silver. Housing, health care,
labor all too expensive because of money devalued. Government borrows
money and you pay back all the interest.
What is radical is preemptive war against a country that did us no harm. Encourages any country to attack any other and blame it on terrorism. Shock and awe was disgusting.
What is radical is the Patriot Act which is a crime against all Americans. What is radical is the welfare state that makes it impossible to open our borders. What’s radical is two parties created $45 trillion in unfunded liabilities. National debt has increased by trillion dollars in one year. Dollar is a piece of junk. Need sound money and fiscal policies. Have to shut down the government and get rid of all these debts. They gave the BATF 13 sidewinder missiles!!
It’s radical to arrest people for bearing arms. What’s radical is free speech zones. What’s radical is bringing back military draft for men and women 19-26. Radical is arresting sick people for marijuana use. FDA tells you what treatments you can use for cancer. When I had bladder cancer I mostly used alternative medicine, a little surgery, but under FDA rules I could be in jail. What’s radical is erosion of rights. The worst is yet to come.
Bush-Kerry agree on Iraq, skull and bones, Patriot Act, gun control, war on drugs, destruction of bill of rights. The structure of totalitarian government in place and only need situation where we will blindly submit. What will you tell you kids about what you did to prevent it?
People have right to do as please as long as not violence, theft, fraud, vs others. I own my life; you own yours. We are not property of life.
Government and media work together to take away basic human rights and they must be challenged. If you see a police car coming up behind you does that make you feel secure or scared?
If they want to get you they’ll find any reason to get you and put you away. When government is afraid of the people, that’s freedom.
Government brainwashes people with propaganda about criminalizing Marijuana and guns. Alcohol prohibition happened with constitutional amendment, but not prohibition of drugs. They don’t have authority; just taking it. That’s tyrannical. They have to be challenged. They are using tyranny vs. us. Sending sick people to jail for smoking pot. We the people are the enemy of the government. If you believe in freedom you are the enemy. Must never compromise freedom.
He wants to win. Have to dedicate selves to living in a free country. No more (list of bad things). We must stand up to the powers that be by issuing a demand: all of our freedoms, all of the time; all of our freedoms, all of the time; etc. chant. We need new leadership that fights for principle. We must rise up etc. We have a choice - go along with status quo or commit to defending ideals.
|Lots of good points and
rhetoric in this section.
Q: Shouldn’t you attack Kerry Bush on gun issue more?
A: Government has no right to know about guns we own and we have right to have them. The strategy about campaigning doesn’t mean that have to do guns right away. Will have different ads. Going to have lots of ads about government abuses. Like with Marijuana, not leading with chin, so talking about medical Marijuana. All my principles don’t have to come out on first ad.
don't have a problem with a strategy that focuses on a sub-issue of a
issue, as long as the candidate is honest about the whole position when
by citizens or the press or other candidates.
What about Bush and Kerry agreeing on medicare prescription?
A: Not something I’ll focus on. Gary Nolan can put in his ads. I’m coming from more primal place.
|Health care is one of top 2 or 3 issues
for citizens, it's a welfare issue (medicare, medicaid, national health
proposals) and libertarians do have a good solution -- end all
involvement. It is important for a libertarian candidate to
address this to be taken seriously.
How much money raised?
A: $40-50 thousand so far. No going to really start til get nomination. When ran for Governor put 1.5 million of own money in cause didn’t know how would do and didn’t want to ask people. This time won’t ask friends til know nomination is mine. I don’t feel comfortable asking for money til I know I’m serious. I got a few thousand dollars in contributions so far.
|He should at least have a ball park minimum, be
it $500,000 or $2,000,000.
How many primaries have you won so far?
A: In LP it’s conventions that matter and the national convention. But I won the straw poll in California. I’d been in 8 weeks, my opponent’s been running for a year. The reason I entered cause no one running who would take in Libertarian Party further than went before and feel I can elevate the party further than gone before. If Clint Eastwood said he’d run, I’d back off. But right now I think I’m the best guy. All that matters to me is freedom, not getting elected. Who ever can do the best job. It’s about turning country around. It’s about waking up people before we go over a cliff.
Q: How much expect to raise?
A: I can’t tell you. I don’t have any idea. But I guarantee money will be used on advertising. Will target NY, CA and NV right away.
Q: Would you campaign more in those states?
A: Yes, but I intend to use TV as my primary, TV ads on the internet, tv ads all over the country. I’m a master of marketing. Effective ads that are repetitive. TV will be core of marketing campaign.
| Nolan won the California and
Massachusetts LP primaries.
How can you convince people you have qualifications like Bush and
Kerry? You don’t want to be like Howard Dean who was too flamboyant?
Are you going to be like that? Have other actors do ads for you? What
you do in front of friends different than on national tv.
A: I can get Jack Nicholson to do an ad for me. Maybe get other friends. The most important thing is my heart is in the right place. I could have gone the other way. I’ve been asked to enter the Council on Foreign Relations. I’ve been asked other things. I’m self made. Made lots of money on my own. (Gives impressive biography.) Never gone over time or budget; skilled on budgeting. And I do things big. I ran for Government of Nevada. (1998) I was 47% in the polls in a four way race. I was over 50% of the polls when running for Governor in 2002. I’m an optimist. I believe that there are 10s of millions of people who have no where to go and don’t know what to do and sick and tired of the system. We can reach them and kick butt. IF you want me, here I am.
I want to hear more about the Council on Foreign Relations!
thread of questions from C. Moore)
Q: I like flamboyant!! If you run vs. immigration, first you are going to look inconsistent because you are saying troops at the border, keep them out.
A: No I don't say anything about troops at the border. No I don't.
Q: Oh, one of your staff said he forgot to put a comma in and it is two different issues. But you have to provide statistics that all immigrants, legal and illegal, are net recipients of welfare.
A: I don’t have to show statistics
Q: But the biggest thing is, what will be your quota system? Who are you going to let in? Africans? Asians? Arabs? People with money? Here’s the "guilt" question: let’s say that someone drops a small nuke on the Dimona nuclear facility in Israel and suddenly 3 million Jews are homeless, they have to leave, because the whole area isn’t going to be livable for 10,000 years, I‘d let those 3-4 million Jews in America, will you??
A: I doubt it. You asked me a question that I cannot answer because I have not really thought about it. But my view is that as long as long as America is a welfare state we can’t have illegal immigration coming in here. We have immigration laws. Get rid of welfare, the cost of illegal immigrants schools and medical care, etc., and the problem goes away, they can come in. You are asking me a question presuming there would be welfare. I’m saying there would be no welfare. Every one should work.
Q: It’s one thing to answer the question that way. It’s another to make it one of your main points.
A: I think it is a main point. I think at this moment in time welfare is creating hardship on Americans and people should not come in this country and come to American hospitals, American education systems and take from Americans here and live off everyone else.
Q: But people are going to take it as, don’t get rid of welfare, keep out immigrants, cause people don’t want to get rid of welfare.
A: I think I’m clear on what I’m saying. I say get rid of welfare all the time. I believe immigration laws must be enforced. It’s so obvious to me.
Q: Well, it seems from everything you've said, you are not a freaking right winger like I feared.
A: No, I am not a freaking right winger!
I went to Russo's web site again and it doesn't have a comma and clearly says: "9. Both parties station our troops around the world rather than protecting our borders from terrorism and illegal immigration." This clearly infers put the troops on the border.
How can you win?
A: It’s matter of reaching plateaus. First win the nomination. Then get in the debates and kick their butts. I’ll get to debates, mark my words.
Q: Can you reach people from other parties, like Greens?
A: Many Reform Party people like me on a lot of issues, they like me on guns, small government and immigration, is a big issue for them. To me it’s about welfare. For them it might be about something else.
When I ran as a Republican, I signed up 20,000 people for the (Republican) party who hadn’t been signed up before. (Dissertation on republics vs. democracies.) I want to get electoral votes for the LP.
Q: Won’t you lose free traders on being against NAFTA and GATT? Why focus on medical Marijuana?
A: NAFTA and GATT aren’t free trade they are managed trade and I’m for free trade. I don’t need a majority, I only need 35% to win. And if we don’t, we’re sitting pretty for the next election. I’m not advocating use of drugs, but I am promoting medical Marijuana. What others want to do with bodies free to do.
Q: What about gay marriage?
A: He didn’t need license to get Bar Mitzvhed, why does he need one to get married? Government shouldn’t be involved.
It's great to get their votes, but given what happened in the Reform Party, I think we have to be careful about letting them become active in the LP unless they fully agree with the principles.
comments between Moore and Russo)
CM: You gotta realize there are a lot of crazy right wing Jews in the LP who want to kick the Arabs out (of Israel-West Bank), or kill all the Muslims and they yell Islamofacist and anti-Semite all the time. It makes some of us paranoid about Jews and Israel. Now that I meet you seem more liberal and compassionate and not right wing.
AR: I’m not like that. I’m more a liberal libertarian.
CM: Why don’t you make Gary Nolan your VP?
AR: He wouldn’t take it.
CM: How much money of you own are you willing to put in? 2 million? 3 Million?
AR: Want to raise money this time, not just put in my own. Don’t want to go broke doing this.
CM: If you are going to spend most of your time at home doing TV then you don't have all those big travel expenses so you can afford to give half your money to advertising. Nolan has to spend a lot of money going all over the country.
AR: No. I do intend to go out on the road, too. I'm just going to raise more money. A lot of people will be attracted to my campaign and want to give.
CM: Focusing on immigration restrictions makes libertarians nervous and might lose you the nomination. Learn from your critics.
AR: He restates that it’s important to him and he believes it and says: Plus the other two candidates are coming over to my position on immigration. I've heard them say it in debates.
CM: That's bad. Then you are undermining libertarian principles and that's wrong. That's what I have the biggest problem with. But otherwise I think you would be a good candidate. Good Luck!
May 6, 2004
From Tom Knapp:
To whom it may concern:
Aaron Russo has asked me to forward this letter regarding recent
questions about his performance as a film producer. I'm sending it to
all lists where I know those questions to have been raised. I hope
that, if anyone knows of any other venues in which the discussion is
taking place, you'll forward it there, or let me know.
Russo for President
Dear fellow Libertarians,
My name is Aaron Russo. I am a candidate for the Libertarian Party's
2004 presidential nomination.
I am also a producer of films, television programs and stage shows.
I've been successful in that career, both by my own reckoning and by
that of the industry, which has recognized my efforts with an Emmy
and a Tony and my films with six Oscar nominations.
I believe that my experience in the entertainment industry,
particularly marketing films, is a considerable asset to me as a
candidate and to a political party which, for years, has needed and
sought such skills in its candidates.
By having said as much, I've put my career on the table. It's there to
examine, and I would never discourage anyone from examining it.
Libertarians should determine for themselves if the claims I make are
true, and whether the skill set that I offer as a candidate is unique
and worthy of their support versus what my opponents have to offer.
At least one activist within the Libertarian Party, based on her
reading of an article in an industry magazine, has questioned my
claims of performance as a producer. Her question deserves an answer.
I have claimed that every project I've produced has been delivered on
time and on budget. I stand by that claim.
Some years ago, I produced three films for HBO. Each of those films
was delivered on time. Each of those films was delivered on budget.
HBO did not choose to accept all of those films for release in the
United States, but the films were delivered as promised and saw
Subsequent to the completion of these films, litigation occurred
between HBO, investors in one of its partner companies called Cinema
Plus, and a completion bond company called Film Finance. In that
litigation, two of my films were cited in claims by HBO against Film
Finance. Litigation against myself and my company, Aaron Russo
Productions, was filed and then withdrawn -- precisely because I had,
in fact, delivered the films on time and on budget. There is no
question as to whether I performed the terms of the contracts, nor is
there, so far as I know, any outstanding claim to the contrary.
It is always healthy to question the claims of candidates, and I thank
the Libertarian in question for raising the issue, but I stand by my
words. Every film I've made has been delivered on time and on budget,
a claim that only a handful of producers can make.
To my fellow Libertarians, thank you for the time and care you're
taking in choosing our party's presidential nominee, and thank you
for your willingness to consider all sides of claims that may be made
by, or about, the candidates for the nomination. I look forward to
working with all of you to make this the most successful election
year in the Libertarian Party's history.
Yours in liberty,
Libertarian for President
Please note that Ms. Gordon is the wife of Russo's campaign manager Stephen Gordon.
On May 21, 2004, less than a week before the LP convention opened, Aaron Russo's "Communications Director" Tom Knapp sent out a scurrilous attack on Gary Nolan via email. Such late attacks, of course, are made in hopes that the candidate will not have time to respond. While most of it is charges of "guilt by association" for past associations of an admitted former Republican, one section alleging bigoted comments against Native Americans was blatantly untrue. Not only did the person making the charge confuse Gary Nolan with another talk show host named Gary, but it turned out Nolan himself was part Native American. Knapp sent out a retraction to some, but not all, of the lists he'd originally posted to but never apologized. Neither did his "boss" Russo.That excerpt from the post, and the campaign's reply (made at the cost of valuable time in the last week of the campaign), are included below.