Doug Wead

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Doug Wead
Doug Wead by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Wead in September 2011.
Douglas Wead

May 1946 (age 72)
Muncie, Indiana, U.S.
OccupationWriter, political commentator
Political partyRepublican

Roy Douglas "Doug" Wead (born May, 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".[2] 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.[3] He also attended, but did not graduate from Central Bible College, in Springfield, Missouri.[4] In 1990 Wead won an honorary degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[5]


Wead with President George H. W. Bush in 1990

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.[6] 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 participant in the 2000 United States presidential election, receiving some credit for George W. Bush's victory in the Iowa straw polls of 1999.[8] 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.[2] 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.[10]

Wead was a senior adviser to the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign,[11] and the Rand Paul 2016 campaign.[12]

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.[13] George Bush: Man of Integrity, which includes accounts of all family members, was published in 1988, written primarily from these taped conversations.[14]

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.[15] 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.[15] 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.[15] 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".[15] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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."[17]


Wead's books include:

  • Catholic Charismatics: Are They for Real? (1972).
  • Tonight They'll Kill a Catholic (1974)
  • The Compassionate Touch (1980)
  • Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Dream (1978)
  • Millionaire Mentality (1993).
  • Reagan in Pursuit of the Presidency (1980)
  • The Iran Crisis (1980)
  • All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of the First Families (2004)
  • The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders (2006)
  • Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton's Failed Campaign and Donald Trump's Winning Strategy (2017).


  1. ^ Biography of Doug Wead – Author, The Official Doug Wead Website
  2. ^ a b Jacob Weisberg, The Bush Tragedy, Random House, 2008. Page 92.
  3. ^ Administration Canyonville Christian Academy. 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2016
  4. ^ Author Revealed Simon & Schuster. Retrieved February 19, 2016
  5. ^ Morning Report 2/21/05. The Tangled Roots of Doug Wead Ward Harkavy. The Village Voice. February 21, 2005. Retrieved February 19, 2016
  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 93.
  11. ^ "Doug Wead". Politico. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Rand Paul for President Names Doug Wead as Senior Adviser". Rand Paul for President. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  13. ^ HARDBALL For March 16, 2005, MSNBC | Article from International Wire | HighBeam Research
  14. ^ NOMINEES' UPBRINGING AND THEIR FAITH; Family's Episcopal Traditions Molded Bush's Philosophy | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  15. ^ a b c d e In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future President, David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, February 20, 2005
  16. ^ From Psst to Oops: Secret Taper of Bush Says History Can Wait, David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, February 24, 2005
  17. ^ CNN Reliable Sources transcript, February 27, 2005,

External links[edit]