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 70)
Muncie, Indiana
Occupation writer

Roy Douglas "Doug" Wead (born May 19, 1946)[1] is a conservative commentator and writer. He has authored several books, some of which have made the New York Times bestsellers.

In 1992, Wead was the Republican candidate for Arizona's 6th congressional district, but was defeated by the Democratic candidate, Karan English. He served as special assistant to U.S. president George H. W. Bush, and has been credited with coining the phrase "compassionate conservative"[citation needed].

Between 1997 and 2000, Wead secretly recorded several hours of phone conversations between himself and George W. Bush, without Bush's knowledge.

Early life and education[edit]

Wead was born in Muncie, Indiana. He attended Riley High School, in South Bend, Indiana, then graduated from Canyonville Christian Academy, a private boarding school in Canyonville, Oregon, in 1964.[2] He also attended, but did not graduate from Central Bible College, in Springfield, Missouri.[3] Beyond high school, Wead has no other formal education or college degree.[4]


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.[5]

In the 1980s, Wead organized the Annual Charity Awards, now under the name International Charity Association.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.'"[10] George W. Bush first picked up the term "compassionate conservative" in 1987 from Wead.[11] 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.[12]

In March 2008, Wead helped create the website Religious Freedom in America, which focused on separation of church and state.[13]

He served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign,[14] and served the same position for Ron's son, Rand.[15]

Wead has contributed to an online column for Newsmax titled "Presidency in Focus."[16]

As a writer, Wead has been interviewed on various news shows.[17] 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."[18]

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.


Wead has written several books. 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.[19] A third book, now being written with Mary Achor, will be the first book about presidential siblings.[citation needed]

According to Simon & 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.[19]

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.

Wead began his career as an author by serving as a Protestant apologist for the Catholic Charismatic Movement. As an apologist he wrote Catholic Charismatics: Are They for Real? (1972). 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).

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.[20] George Bush: Man of Integrity, which includes accounts of all family members, was published in 1988, written primarily from these taped conversations.[21]

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.[22] 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.[22] 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.[22] 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".[22] 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.[22]

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.[23] 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."[24]


  1. ^ Biography of Doug Wead – Author, The Official Doug Wead Website
  2. ^ Administration Canyonville Christian Academy. 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2016
  3. ^ Author Revealed Simon & Schuster. Retrieved February 19, 2016
  4. ^ Morning Report 2/21/05. The Tangled Roots of Doug Wead Ward Harkavy. The Village Voice. February 21, 2005. Retrieved February 19, 2016
  5. ^ Mercy Corps 2003 Annual Report Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  7. ^ Biography on
  8. ^ Yozwiak, Steve (October 30, 1992). "Goldwater jolts GOP, backs Democrat". Arizona Republic. 
  9. ^ "Wead Helps Keep the Faith in Politics" by Doug Burton, Insight on the News, May 14, 2001
  10. ^ Time Magazine, November 6, 2000, p. 63.
  11. ^ Jacob Weisberg, The Bush Tragedy, Random House, 2008. Page 92.
  12. ^ Jacob Weisberg, The Bush Tragedy, Random House, 2008. Page 93.
  13. ^ Religious Freedom In America Archived May 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Doug Wead". Politico. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "Rand Paul for President Names Doug Wead as Senior Adviser". Rand Paul for President. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  16. ^ Wead, Doug. "Presidency in Focus". Newsmax. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Television appearances". Doug Wead. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  18. ^ Biography of Doug Wead – Author, The Official Doug Wead Website, Wead, 2008
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ HARDBALL For March 16, 2005, MSNBC | Article from International Wire | HighBeam Research
  21. ^ NOMINEES' UPBRINGING AND THEIR FAITH; Family's Episcopal Traditions Molded Bush's Philosophy | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  22. ^ a b c d e In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future President, David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, February 20, 2005
  23. ^ From Psst to Oops: Secret Taper of Bush Says History Can Wait, David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, February 24, 2005
  24. ^ CNN Reliable Sources transcript, February 27, 2005,

External links[edit]