Doug Wead

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Doug Wead
Doug Wead by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Wead in September 2011.
Born Douglas Wead
(1946-05-19) May 19, 1946 (age 68)
Muncie, Indiana
Occupation Writer, political advisor, historian

Doug Wead (born May 19, 1946)[1] is a presidential historian, philanthropist and public speaker. He was Special Assistant to U.S. President George H. W. Bush and is the author of more than thirty books, including the New York Times best-seller All the presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of the First Families.[2] He has authored a sequel which examines the parenting of presidents of the United States, The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders.[3]

Professional history[edit]

Wead was born in Muncie, Indiana. In 1979, Wead joined entertainer Pat Boone and Dan O'Neill in co-founding Save the Refugees Fund and later became a founding board member of Mercy Corps. In 1991, Wead provided initial funding to help launch a Mercy Corps economic recovery program in the newly formed Republic of Kazakhstan.[4]

In the 1980s, Wead organized the Annual Charity Awards, now under the name International Charity Association.[5] Ten First Ladies and presidents have served as honorary chairpersons of this prestigious event, including Lady Bird Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, George H. W. and Barbara Bush, and George W. and Laura Bush.

In 1992, Wead was the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Arizona's 6th Congressional District. Despite having lived in Arizona for only a few years, Wead won the Republican nomination after championing a tax limitation initiative and airing a television commercial featuring praise by former President Ronald Reagan for his humanitarian efforts.[6] However, the Democratic nominee, Karan English, received the endorsement of former Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater who thought Wead was out of touch with Arizona because of his relatively brief residency in the state – two years to English's 22. Wead countered that Goldwater's support of abortion rights spurred the unexpected crossing of party lines.[7] He ended up losing in the general election to English.

Wead was an active behind-the-scenes player in the 2000 United States presidential election, receiving some credit for George W. Bush's victory in the Iowa straw polls of 1999.[8] From 1984 to 2000, he served as an on-and-off adviser to both presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Time magazine called Wead an insider in the Bush family orbit and "the man who coined the phrase 'Compassionate Conservative.'"[9] George W. Bush first picked up the term "Compassionate Conservative" in 1987 from Wead.[10] In 1979, Wead gave a speech titled "The Compassionate Conservative" at the annual Charity Awards Dinner, and tapes of the speech were later sold across the country at corporate seminars.[11]

In March 2008, Wead helped create the website Religious Freedom in America,[12] focusing on government threats to religious observance.

He served as Senior Adviser to the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign.

Wead currently contributes an online column for Newsmax titled "Presidency in Focus."[13]

Public speaking[edit]

As a presidential historian, Wead is a frequent guest on television shows. He has been interviewed by Matt Lauer,[14] Bill O'Reilly,[15] Connie Chung,[16] Deborah Norville,[17] Diane Sawyer, Dan Rather,[18] Katie Couric,[19] Geraldo Rivera,[20] Terry Moran,[21] Kate Snow, and many others.

Mark Victor Hansen, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, describes Doug Wead as "incredibly inspiring and unbelievably motivating."[22] Wead continues to speak around the world. He has spoken to audiences in 30 countries, including Russia, Poland, Hungary, France, Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Brazil and across the United States.[23] Steve Siebold, who trains corporate speakers for clients ranging from Toyota to Coldwell Banker, describes Wead as "one of the greatest platform speakers in the world."[24]


Wead has written more than 30 books that have been translated into 30 languages and have sold millions of copies.[25]

"First families" trilogy[edit]

His "First Family" trilogy, already 20 years in the making, covers presidential children, presidential parents, and presidential siblings. The first two books of the trilogy, All the President's Children (2004) and The Raising of a President (2006), were instant New York Times bestsellers.[26] A third book, now being written with Mary Achor, will be the first book about presidential siblings.

Wead’s books on first families plow new ground and include the first book ever written on the parents of the presidents. They are significant for their primary sourcing. According to Simon and Schuster, Wead personally interviewed 10 first ladies and presidents from six different presidential families, and 19 of the presidential children. His writings drew on previously unpublished letters, diaries and other documents carefully noted in the large 40–50 pages of source notes at the end of his books.[26]

Political books[edit]

In the 1970s and 1980s Wead wrote several instant books including Reagan in Pursuit of the Presidency (1980), an updated biography available at the time of the president's election, which sold widely. The Iran Crisis (1980), covered the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the hostage crisis during the Carter presidency.

Religious books[edit]

Wead began his career as an author by serving as a Protestant apologist for the Catholic Charismatic Movement. He began writing as a student, at the age of 22. Intrigued by the emergence of an ecumenical movement in Ireland he wrote Tonight They'll Kill a Catholic (1974), a first person account of the streets of Belfast in the midst of conflict. In subsequent years he teams up with a Catholic priest to tour areas of famine around the world which led to another book The Compassionate Touch (1980).

Motivational books[edit]

Beginning in the 1970s, Wead wrote many motivational and network marketing books that sold extensively. Wead was the co-author of numerous titles with Amway distributor Dexter Yager, including Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Dream (1978) and Millionaire Mentality (1993).

George W. Bush taping controversy[edit]

In 1987 Doug Wead began tape recording members of the Bush family, with their permission, providing a historical record of the family.[27] George Bush: Man of Integrity, which includes accounts of all family members, was published in 1988, written primarily from these taped conversations.[28]

Wead continued his taping of George W. Bush between 1997 and 2000, recording at least nine hours of telephone conversations with Bush, who was then Governor of Texas, as he engaged in his presidential run; the recordings were made without Bush's knowledge.[29] Wead stated that he wanted to create an ongoing record of Bush as a historical figure. In February 2005, a month after Bush was sworn into office for his second term as president, Wead revealed the existence of the tapes to The New York Times, and publicly released twelve excerpts from them, each one ranging in length from five minutes to half an hour.[29] He insisted that the taping was legal, having been made only in U.S. states where there was no law against taping someone without their consent.[29] Several newsworthy revelations emerged from the tapes, such as Bush appearing to acknowledge having previously used marijuana and other drugs, and saying he would not answer press questions about his drug use because he did not want to set a bad example for children; calling then-primary opponent Steve Forbes "mean-spirited" and saying Forbes could not rely on Bush's help if Forbes won the Republican nomination; and calling his eventual Democratic election opponent, Al Gore, "pathologically a liar".[29] Other excerpts seemed to match Bush's public persona, such as his statement that he was not worried about getting corrupted by the presidency because he read the Bible daily, which he called "pretty good about keeping your ego in check"; and his insistence that he was not homophobic, regardless of his opposition to gay marriage.[29]

The release prompted some hostility from members of Bush's inner circle: Bush's wife, Laura Bush, said in an interview, "I don't know if I'd use the word 'betrayed,' but I think it's a little bit awkward for sure"; while Bush evangelical ally James Dobson said he was "shocked by [Wead's] breach of trust". Bush himself did not comment.[30] The tapes' release also provoked negative reaction from some commentators, such as Bill Press, who called Wead "scum", and Bill O'Reilly, who called Wead "the lowest form of debris in the country."[31]

Other activities[edit]

Wead is an independent representative in the multi-level marketing company Isagenix and has spoken at their events. In the past he was active with Quixtar and Network TwentyOne, both Amway businesses. He has written numerous books on Network Marketing and is considered by many to be a leading expert on successful Network Marketing. In 1995 he joined the Board of Canyonville Christian Academy, a private boarding high school in southern Oregon. According to the Wall Street Journal its student body largely consists of students from all over the world. Since 2000, the boarding school has enjoyed a full attendance and maintains an annual waiting list. Wead has served as its president since 1996.


  1. ^ Biography of Doug Wead – Author, The Official Doug Wead Website
  2. ^ Wead: "All the presidents children", page 1. Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 2004
  3. ^ Wead: "The Raising of a President", page 1. Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 2006
  4. ^ Mercy Corps 2003 Annual Report
  5. ^
  6. ^ Biography on
  7. ^ Yozwiak, Steve (October 30, 1992). "Goldwater jolts GOP, backs Democrat". Arizona Republic. 
  8. ^ "Wead Helps Keep the Faith in Politics" by Doug Burton, Insight on the News, May 14, 2001
  9. ^ Time Magazine, November 6, 2000, p. 63.
  10. ^ Jacob Weisberg, The Bush Tragedy, Random House, 2008. Page 92.
  11. ^ Jacob Weisberg, The Bush Tragedy, Random House, 2008. Page 93.
  12. ^ Religious Freedom In America
  13. ^ Wead, Doug. "Presidency in Focus". Newsmax. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ Doug Wead: Children of presidents on YouTube
  15. ^ Bush father and son: Doug Wead on O'Reilly on YouTube
  16. ^ Doug Wead: Children of presidents on YouTube
  17. ^ Debra Norville, Kids of candidates, Doug Wead on YouTube
  18. ^ George H W Bush like Hitler? on YouTube
  19. ^ Obama Inaugural : Katie Couric -Doug Wead on YouTube
  20. ^ Jenna Bush: Wedding and War, Geraldo and Wead on YouTube
  21. ^ This is the guy who tried to kill my dad. on YouTube
  22. ^ Biography of Doug Wead – Author, The Official Doug Wead Website, Wead, 2008
  23. ^
  24. ^ Mental Toughness Blog » Bob Proctor Cruise
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ HARDBALL For March 16, 2005, MSNBC | Article from International Wire | HighBeam Research
  28. ^ NOMINEES' UPBRINGING AND THEIR FAITH; Family's Episcopal Traditions Molded Bush's Philosophy | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  29. ^ a b c d e In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future President, David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, February 20, 2005
  30. ^ From Psst to Oops: Secret Taper of Bush Says History Can Wait, David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, February 24, 2005
  31. ^ CNN Reliable Sources transcript, February 27, 2005,


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