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Dick Morris
Born October 5, 1948 (1948-10-05) (age 61)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Author
Known for Commentary on Fox News

Dick Morris (born November 28, 1948) is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant.

Morris became an adviser to the Bill Clinton administration after Clinton was elected president in 1992. Morris encouraged Clinton to pursue third way policies of triangulation that combined traditional Republican and Democratic proposals, rhetoric, and issues to achieve maximum political gain and popularity. He worked as a Republican strategist before joining the Clinton administration, where he helped Clinton recover from the 1994 midterm elections by convincing the President to adopt Republican policies.[1]

The president consulted Morris in secret beginning in 1994.[2] Clinton's communications director George Stephanopoulos has said that "Over the course of the first nine months of 1995, no single person had more power over the president".[3] Morris went on to become campaign manager of Bill Clinton's successful 1996 bid for re-election to the office of President. His tenure on that campaign was cut short two months before the election, when it was revealed that he had allowed a prostitute to listen in on conversations with the President. Morris then turned his focus to media commentary. He now writes a weekly column for the New York Post which is carried nationwide, contributes columns and blogs to both the print and online versions of The Hill, and appears regularly on the Fox News Channel for political commentary. He is also President of Vote.com, a website which conducts polls on "important public issues and other topics" and then emails results to "important decision makers" in government[4].

More recently, Morris has emerged as a harsh critic of the Clintons and has written several books that criticize them, including Rewriting History, a rebuttal to Senator Hillary Clinton's Living History. Morris said that he would leave the United States if Hillary Clinton were elected president in 2008.[5]

Currently, Morris is the strategist for Republican Christy Mihos's campaign in the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race.[6]

Contents

Early life

Morris attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City,[7] where he was active on the debate team. He managed Jerrold Nadler's campaign for class president; Nadler has since gone on to represent New York in the House of Representatives. Morris was also involved in the first campaign of Richard Gottfried for New York State Assembly in 1970. Morris graduated from Stuyvesant in 1964, then attended Columbia University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating in 1967.

Morris and the Clintons

Morris first worked with Bill and Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton's successful 1978 bid for Governor of Arkansas. Morris is credited by many with engineering Clinton's re-election to the Arkansas governorship after a humiliating defeat at the end of Clinton's first term. As a result, Clinton turned to Morris after the mid-term elections of 1994, when Republicans gained control of the U.S. House and Senate and Clinton's own chance for a second presidential term seemed remote. From the early months of 1995 to August 1996, Morris was a principal architect of the Clinton-Gore re-election strategy.

Morris did not have a role in Clinton's successful 1992 Presidential campaign, which instead was headed by David Wilhelm, James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, and Paul Begala. After the 1994 mid-term election where Republicans took control of both houses of the United States Congress and gained considerable power in the states, Clinton once again sought Morris' help to prepare for the 1996 Presidential election. It was Morris who proposed a strategy that is now referred to as "triangulation," where Clinton would appeal to a diverse group of voters by distancing himself from both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Fallout

On August 29, 1996, Morris resigned from the Clinton campaign after tabloid reports stated that he had been involved with a prostitute. A New York tabloid newspaper, the Star, had obtained and published a set of photographs allegedly of Morris and the woman on a Washington, D.C., hotel balcony. News of the impending publication broke during the third day of the 1996 Democratic Convention. The Electronic Telegraph reported unverified claims that in order to impress the woman, S. Rowlands, Morris invited her to listen in on his conversations with President Clinton. [8][9][10] It was also alleged he had an illegitimate child from an affair with a Texas woman. [11]

Morris resigned on the same day that Bill Clinton spoke and accepted the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. In his resignation statement, he said that "while I served I sought to avoid the limelight because I did not want to become the message. Now, I resign so I will not become the issue."[12] In his response, President Clinton praised Morris as a "friend", and thanked him for his years of service. Privately various aides to Clinton were furious that in his resignation statement Morris credited himself with helping the President "come back from being buried in a landslide" and that Morris ended by comparing himself to Robert Kennedy.[13]

Morris was featured on two consecutive covers of Time magazine. The September 2, 1996 issue, which was released before the prostitute story broke, featured Morris as "The Man Who Has Clinton's Ear."[1] The following week, the cover featured Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, and the headline read "The Morris Mess: After the Fall."[13]

Later work

In his 1997 book Behind the Oval Office, Morris wrote that, following an argument in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, he strode toward the exit and was tackled by Clinton. In 2003, Morris further stated that Clinton cocked his arm back to throw a punch, but Hillary Clinton pulled her husband off Morris. In both versions of the story, she consoled Morris and apologized to him, stating that Bill only behaved such with those he cared for most. According to Morris, she did this to keep him quiet about the incident. He says the incident was the reason for denying Bill Clinton's request to work on the 1992 campaign; whether this actually happened and Clinton's side of the story is not known.

Morris has become a vocal and regular critic of the Clintons since his departure, in particular Hillary Rodham Clinton and her bid for the presidency. Morris has written extensively about the Clintons (see below) and also contributed to Hillary: The Movie, a documentary about Rodham Clinton when she was still a 2008 Presidential candidate.[14] Later, after former President Bill Clinton's comments about the similarities between the Obama win and the win of Presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1988, Morris put out an article on his blog that asserted that this was Clinton's way of injecting race into the political campaign.[15]

Other work

Political consulting

As of August, 2009, Morris lends his name and assistance to the League of American Voters, an advocacy group for seniors to defeat the Obama health care reform. He has been described as America's most ruthless political consultant in the BBC documentary Century of the Self Episode 4,[16] which chronicled how he brought lifestyle marketing to politics for the first time.

Morris has also consulted for candidates in other countries of the western hemisphere, including the campaigns of Fernando de la Rua for President of Argentina (1999), Jorge Batlle for President of Uruguay (1999), Vicente Fox for President of Mexico (2000), and Raphael Trotman for President of Guyana (2006).[2]

Morris and Eileen McGann are behind www.vote.com, a site intended to register non-scientific political public opinion on various issues.

Dick Morris is currently working as a strategist for Christy Mihos, a Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts running to unseat incumbent Deval Patrick. Morris will "oversee strategy, polling, and advertising for Mihos."[6]

Guest commentator and political prognosticator

Since leaving the Clintons' employ in 1996, Morris has said he has become profoundly "disillusioned" with the actions of the Clintons in the late 1990s. He has now formed a career as a political commentator and critic of the Clintons (particularly towards Hillary), appearing on Fox News programs such as Hannity & Colmes, Hannity, and the O'Reilly Factor, and on various local and nationally syndicated radio talk shows. Morris is also a regular columnist and Pundits Blogger for The Hill, a nonpartisan daily newspaper based in Washington, D.C., and for NewsMax.com, a conservative online news website.[17][18][19]

Morris regularly makes predictions about candidates' chances of winning elections during these appearances. In a 2005 book on the upcoming 2008 Presidential campaign, Morris stated that it is most likely that Hillary Clinton would face Condoleezza Rice for the presidency. Morris critics reacted by mocking his mistaken predictions of past races. Regarding the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, he initially stated that Howard Dean's candidacy could be written off right away. While ultimately vindicated, he had discussed the likelihood of Dean defeating John Kerry after early strong showings by the former Vermont governor. Kerry defeated Dean and all his other rivals and won the nomination. Additionally, Morris predicted that Hillary Clinton would face a "nightmare"[citation needed] in her 2006 Senate race against moderate Republican candidate Jeanine Pirro, whose campaign subsequently collapsed within a matter of two months after repeated crushing defeats in the opinion polls due to her husband's alleged mafia ties. He even went so far as to suggest that Clinton would "give up"[citation needed] and drop out to focus on her 2008 campaign.[20][21]

Morris further wrote that Hurricane Katrina would mark Bush's second term the same way 9/11 marked his first term, saying: "Katrina has the capacity to shape the second Bush term in the same way September 11 shaped his first term—not only in rebuilding New Orleans but in taking preventative steps around the nation to bolster our defenses against natural and man-made disasters and terror strikes. Responding to disasters is a source of presidential strength and popularity, and Bush is about to show how it is done."[22] Appearing on Fox News' Hannity and Colmes on January 29, 2008, Morris said that those voting for John Edwards were "at the moment... those that can't decide which they don’t like more—a black or a woman getting elected".[citation needed] Host Alan Colmes asked if he was "saying that Edwards voters are bigots?"[citation needed] Morris elaborated that exit polls showed some Edwards voters were unsure if a woman or a Black American, in reference to then Democratic Primary front runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, could get elected to the Presidency for the first time in '08.[23]

After Obama won the 2008 election, Morris was critical of him. In early 2009, Morris said: "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over'? Well, they’re beginning to have a case."[24][25] In April 2009, Morris keynoted an animated debate at the Yale Political Union on the topic "Resolved: Save Capitalism from President Obama". The motion narrowly failed.[26]

Foreign political consultant

Morris worked with the United Kingdom Independence Party in their campaign before the 2004 European Parliament election. The party, which advocates withdrawal from the European Union, won 12 of Britain's 78 seats.

In 2004 and 2005, he and his wife had acted as campaign consultants to the successful Yushchenko Presidential campaign in Ukraine. Morris reports that he insisted on the use of exit polls as a means of potentially exposing ballot tampering. He argues this played a significant role in forcing the government of then President Leonid Kuchma to acquiesce to a new poll when the official results of the first varied materially from the exit surveys. Interestingly, faced with a similar (though smaller) divergence between exit polling and election returns, he took the opposite stance in a 2004 article in The Hill when he suspected "foul play" on the part of the exit pollsters in the U.S. Presidential race.[27] Mexico 2004; Morris outlined the strategy of the negative campaign that would be used against the PRD and AMLO: “The PRD would be a disaster for Mexico, the country would go in the same direction as Chávez and Castro.”[citation needed] That is to say, López Obrador would be “a danger to Mexico,”[citation needed] as Rob Allyn said in an article published on April 3, 2006, published in the New York Post.

In a November 13, 2007 press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Morris announced that he would be offering his consultancy services pro bono for the campaign to elect Raila Odinga as President of Kenya in the 2007 Presidential election running on the Orange Democratic Movement ticket.

With four weeks to the National Elections, an editorial in one of the leading dailies called into question the legalities of Dick Morris' consulting work from the perspective of his presence in, and lack of legal ability to work in Kenya "pro bono" or "through the back door".[28]

The outcome of the December 27, 2007 elections in Kenya is still disputed due to allegations of electoral fraud and rigging by the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, the Party of National Unity and erroneous reporting by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). Massive protests and tribal tensions have since erupted between the president's Kikuyu tribe and the majority of other tribes not favorably aligned to the outcome. Major mediations have commenced between concerned parties, including possible formation of a coalition and/or interim government until reelections are performed.

Morris' DVD

Morris has appeared in the documentary film FahrenHYPE 9/11, a response to Michael Moore's 2004 film, Fahrenheit 9/11. He also wrote the screenplay.

Tax troubles

Morris had been labeled as one of the biggest tax delinquents in his home state of Connecticut, owing an estimated $280,000 in unpaid taxes and a total of $452,367 in unpaid taxes and fees.[29][30] In 2003 the IRS filed a $1.5 million tax lien against him. Morris said that he has reached an agreement with Connecticut and his name will be removed from the next delinquency list. Morris says that he is committed to paying his taxes: "Following a difficult period in my life, I fell into arrears. But since then, I have paid almost $3 million in state and federal taxes."[30]

Books

Morris responded to Hillary Clinton's Living History with his book Rewriting History.

Morris has written several books. He authored Condi vs. Hillary (subtitled The next great presidential race) (ISBN 0-06-083913-9) in which he argues that only Condoleezza Rice could block Hillary Clinton's anticipated 2008 bid for the White House. He co-authored this book with his wife, Eileen McGann.

Previously he wrote a pair of books criticizing the Clintons, again co-authored by his wife, Eileen McGann. Rewriting History (ISBN 0-06-073668-2) was published in May 2004 as a rebuttal to Hillary Clinton's book, Living History (ISBN 0-7432-2224-5). In it, he argues that Hillary Clinton has presented a false "nice" persona in the book. Morris instead remembers her as manipulative, cold, and single-minded in her pursuit of power. Similarly, Morris and McGann wrote Because He Could (ISBN 0-06-078415-6) in response to Bill Clinton's memoir My Life (ISBN 0-375-41457-6). Morris has also written Behind the Oval Office: Winning the Presidency in the Nineties (ISBN 1-58063-053-7), a retrospective of his work with the Clintons that was published soon after his resignation from the campaign in 1996. Other books include Power Plays: Win or Lose—How History's Great Political Leaders Play the Game (ISBN 0-06-000444-4), The New Prince (ISBN 1580631479 ),Vote.com: How Big-Money Lobbyists and the Media Are Losing Their Influence, and the Internet Is Giving Power Back to the People (ISBN 1-58063-163-0)and "Outrage" (ISBN 978-0-06-119540-2).

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's latest collaboration is Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want To Kill Talk Radio, The Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, And Washington Lobbyists For Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us...And What To Do About It (ISBN 9780061718663), published in June 2008. Its jacket copy states, "In this hard-hitting call to arms, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann reveal the hundreds of ways American tax-payers are routinely fleeced--by our own government; by foreign countries like Dubai that are gobbling up American interests and spending millions to influence government decisions and American public opinion; by Washington lobbying firms that are pushing the agendas of corrupt foreign dictators on Capitol Hill; and by hedge-fund billionaires collecting huge tax breaks courtesy of the IRS." The book also predicts how election of Obama would ruin the economy and lead to a stock market collapse.

His latest book is "Catastrophe", which was released in June 2009.

References

  1. ^ a b "Who is Dick Morris?". Time. September 2, 1996. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,985043,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  2. ^ "Frontline: The Clinton Years". http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/clinton/chapters/4.html. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  3. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/clinton/interviews/stephanopoulos4.html
  4. ^ Martinson, Jane (August 28, 2000). "Online politics proves a turn-off". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2000/aug/28/newmedia.usa2000. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Dick Morris: I’m Leaving if Hillary Wins". 2006-12-19. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/12/19/104142.shtml?s=al&promo_code=2B2E-1. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  6. ^ a b Grillo, Thomas (2009-06-03). "Dick Morris to Head Christy Mihos' Gov Campaign". Boston Herald. http://www.bostonherald.com/business/media/view.bg?articleid=1176439. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  7. ^ Mitchell, Alison (1995-10-20). "President's Guru Goes Public; Back Home, Dick Morris Tells Tales From the Clubhouse". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE7D61538F933A15753C1A963958260. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  8. ^ Dick Morris, High on the Critical List, Washington Post
  9. ^ McCaslin, John, "Inside the Beltway," The Washington Times, September 5, 1996
  10. ^ Hall, Allan, "I'D LIKE TO BED HILLARY; Kinky aide called the First Lady 'Twister' and Bill 'Monster'," The Mirror, August 30, 1996
  11. ^ Dick Morris, 1996
  12. ^ "Call-Girl Story Costs President A Key Strategist". New York Times. August 30, 1996. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/30/us/call-girl-story-costs-president-a-key-strategist.html. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  13. ^ a b "Skunk at the Family Picnic". Time. September 9, 1996. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,985081,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ SUPER TUESDAY OUTLOOK: OBAMA’S SURGE at DickMorris.com
  16. ^ "Century of the Self Part4 of 4". http://www.archive.org/details/AdamCurtisCenturyoftheSelfPart4of4_0. Retrieved 2007-11-02. (Dick Morris segment at ~34:45)
  17. ^ "The Hill (newspaper)". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hill_%28newspaper%29. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  18. ^ "Dick Morris". http://www.newsmax.com/pundits/Morris.shtml. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  19. ^ "NewsMax Pundits". http://www.newsmaxstore.com/nm/newsmax_pundits.cfm. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  20. ^ "Morris correctly predicted early withdrawal from New York Senate race—but got candidate wrong". 2005-12-21. http://mediamatters.org/items/200512220002. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  21. ^ Morris, Dick (2003-11-05). "Bush's Weapon Against Dean". http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102322,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  22. ^ Morris, Dick (2005-09-07). "Bush will rebound from Katrina missteps". http://thehill.com/dick-morris/bush-will-rebound-from-katrina-missteps-2005-09-07.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  23. ^ Amato, John (2008-01-30). "Dick Morris: Edwards voters don’t like the ‘black’ or the ‘female’". http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/01/30/dick-morris-says-edwards-voters-dont-like-the-black-or-female-candidate. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  24. ^ Lyons, Gene (April 9, 2009). "The Knothead Party" (). Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/256882/. 
  25. ^ "Morris: 'Those crazies in Montana who say, "We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over" -- well, they're beginning to have a case'" (video). Media Matters for America. March 31, 2009. http://mediamatters.org/countyfair/200903310038. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  26. ^ http://www.yale.edu/ypu/minutes/ypu-2009-04-21.html
  27. ^ http://thehill.com/dick-morris/those-faulty-exit-polls-were-sabotage-2004-11-04.html
  28. ^ The Standard, November 22, 2007: Raila outs another dodgy ‘consultant’
  29. ^ http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=6134720
  30. ^ a b http://a.abcnews.com/Business/PersonalFinance/Story?id=4650368&page=3

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