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 is the author of more than thirty books on history, politics, religion, and multi-level marketing, some of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Wead was the 1992 Republican candidate for Arizona's 6th congressional district, but was defeated by Karan English. He was Special Assistant to U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and is credited with coining the phrase "compassionate conservative". Between 1997 and 2000, Wead controversially recorded several hours of phone conversation between himself and George W. Bush without his knowledge.

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.[2]

In the 1980s, Wead organized the Annual Charity Awards, now under the name International Charity Association.[3] 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 proposing a tax limitation initiative and airing a television commercial featuring praise by former President Ronald Reagan for his humanitarian efforts.[4] 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.[5] He ended up losing in the general election to English.

Wead was an active participant in the 2000 United States presidential election, receiving some credit for George W. Bush's victory in the Iowa straw polls of 1999.[6] 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.'"[7] George W. Bush first picked up the term "Compassionate Conservative" in 1987 from Wead.[8] In 1979, Wead gave a speech titled "The Compassionate Conservative" at the annual Charity Awards Dinner, and tapes of the speech were later sold at corporate seminars.[9]

In March 2008, Wead helped create the website Religious Freedom in America, which focused on separation of church and state.[10]

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

Wead currently contributes an online column for Newsmax titled "Presidency in Focus."[11]

Public speaking[edit]

As a presidential historian, Wead has been interviewed on various news shows.[citation needed] Wead has also done work as a motivational speaker. Mark Victor Hansen, the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, describes Wead as "incredibly inspiring and unbelievably motivating."[12]

Books[edit]

Wead has written more than 30 books that have been translated into 30 languages.[13]

"First families" trilogy[edit]

His "First Family" trilogy covers presidential children, presidential parents, and presidential siblings. The first two books of the trilogy, All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of the First Families (2004) and The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders (2006), were New York Times bestsellers.[14] A third book, now being written with Mary Achor, will be the first book about presidential siblings.[citation needed]

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.[14]

Political books[edit]

Political books Wead has written including Reagan in Pursuit of the Presidency (1980), an updated biography available at the time of the president's election and The Iran Crisis (1980), covered the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the Iran 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. Regarding 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 worked with a Catholic priest to tour areas of famine around the world which led to the book The Compassionate Touch (1980).

Motivational books[edit]

Beginning in the 1970s, Wead wrote motivational and network marketing books. 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.[15] George Bush: Man of Integrity, which includes accounts of all family members, was published in 1988, written primarily from these taped conversations.[16]

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.[17] 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.[17] 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.[17] 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".[17] 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.[17]

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.[18] 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."[19]

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. In 1995 he joined the Board of Canyonville Christian Academy, a private boarding high school in southern Oregon. Wead has served as its president since 1996.

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