Roger J. Stone, Jr.

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Roger Stone is an American political consultant [1], dirty-tricks operative and lobbyist who specializes in opposition research for the Republican National Committee in the United States.[2] Stone led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000. He was also a campaign strategist during the presidential campaigns of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush. He is the chairman of the Fort Hill Group, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm.

In 1990, the New York Times described him as a "renowned infighter" [3] and during the 2004 United States Presidential Campaign, CBS News described Stone as a "veteran Republican strategist" [4]. His own view of himself is as "a GOP hitman."[5]


Youth and early career

Born in Norwalk, Connecticut,[6] in 1952[7] Stone grew up in Lewisboro, New York in a half Italian American, half Hungarian American family. His mother was a small-town reporter, his father a well driller[8] who owned his own business. He has described his family as middle-class, blue-collar Catholics.[6]

In the first grade, Stone claims, he broke into politics to further John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign: "I remember going through the cafeteria line and telling every kid that Nixon was in favor of school on Saturdays," Stone says. "It was my first political trick."[8] When he was a junior and vice president of the student government at a high school in northern Westchester County, New York, he manipulated the ouster of the president and succeeded him. When he ran for election as president for his senior year, he later said, he "built alliances and put all my serious challengers on my ticket. Then I recruited the most unpopular guy in the school to run against me. You think that's mean? No, it's smart."[9]

Given a copy of Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative, Stone became a convert to conservatism as a child and a volunteer in Goldwater's 1964 campaign. (As of 2007, Stone said he was a staunch conservative with libertarian leanings.)[8]

As a student at George Washington University in 1972, he invited Jeb Magruder to speak at a Young Republicans Club, then successfully hit up Magruder for a job with Richard Nixon's storied Committee to Re-elect the President.[10] Stone's political career began in earnest with activities such as contributing money to a possible rival of Nixon in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance — then slipping the receipt to the Manchester Union-Leader. He also got a spy hired by the Hubert Humphrey campaign who became Humphrey's driver. By day, Stone was officially a scheduler in the Nixon campaign. "By night, I'm trafficking in the black arts. Nixon's people were obsessed with intelligence."[2]

After Nixon won the 1972 presidential election, Stone worked for the administration in the Office of Economic Opportunity. After Nixon resigned, Stone went to work for Bob Dole, then was fired after columnist Jack Anderson publicly identified Stone as a Nixon dirty trickster. In 1976 he worked in Ronald Reagan's campaign for president, and in 1977 became national chairman of the Young Republicans.[2]

History of Stone

Career, 1980-1992

Stone was a strategist for the 1981 and 1985 campaigns for governor of New Jersey by Thomas H. Kean, who was later appointed by President Bush to chair the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission). [2]

Jon Sears recruited Stone to work in Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1980 and 1984, in which he served as Eastern Regional Political Director. Stone said that Cohn helped him arrange for John B. Anderson to get the nomination of the Liberal Party of New York, a move that would help split the opposition to Reagan in the state. Stone said Cohn gave him a suitcase that Stone avoided opening and, as instructed by Cohn, dropped it off at the office of a lawyer influential in Liberal Party circles. Reagan carried the state with 46 percent of the vote. Speaking after the statute of limitations for bribery had expired, Stone later said, "I paid his law firm. Legal fees. I don't know what he did for the money, but whatever it was, the Liberal party reached its right conclusion out of a matter of principle."[2]

Stone's 30th birthday party was given at the "21" Club by Roy Cohn.[9]

With partners Charlie Black and Paul Manafort, he formed Black, Manafort, and Stone[11][12], a political consulting firm, described as "instrumental in the success of Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign." Lee Atwater later joined the firm.

According to Time magazine, in the 1988 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign, Stone was involved with the Willie Horton advertisements targeted against Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis.[13] The Horton ad is credited by some with contributing to the defeat of Dukakis by portraying him as soft on crime. Stone has said that he urged Lee Atwater not to include Horton in the ad.[7]

Life and career, 1993-2003

Roger and his wife Ann Stone divorced in 1991, shortly after they helped start Republicans for Choice.

In 1995, Stone was the president of Republican Senator Arlen Specter's campaign for the 1996 Republican Presidential nomination [14]. Specter withdrew early in the campaign season with less than 2% support.

Stone was for many years a lobbyist for Donald Trump on behalf of his casino business [15] and was also involved in opposing expanded casino gambling in New York State, a position that brought him into conflict with Governor George Pataki.[16]

In 1996, Stone resigned from a post as a volunteer spokesman in Robert Dole's campaign for president after the National Enquirer wrote that Stone had placed ads and pictures in racy publications and a website seeking sexual partners for himself and his second wife, Nydia. Stone denied the report.[9][8] On the Good Morning America program he said: "An exhaustive investigation now indicates that a domestic employee who I discharged for substance abuse on the second time that we learned that he had a drug problem is the perpetrator who had access to my home, access to my computer, access to my password, access to my postage meter, access to my post-office box key."[8] Stone has since admitted that the ads were authentic.[7]

Stone has been credited with setting up street demonstrations in Florida to protest the recounts held after the 2000 presidential election; he is also credited with organizing the so-called "Brooks Brothers riot" where Republican congressional staff members, among others, protested outside an office where ballots were being recounted.[17]

In 2002, Stone was associated with the campaign of businessman Thomas Golisano for Governor of New York State[16].

2004 elections

During the 2004 US Presidential campaign, Al Sharpton responded to accusations that Stone was working on his campaign, stating "I've been talking to Roger Stone for a long time. That doesn't mean that he's calling the shots for me. Don't forget that Bill Clinton was doing more than talking to Dick Morris."[18] Critics suggested that Stone was only working with Sharpton as a way to undermine the Democratic party's chances of winning the election. Writing in the Village Voice, Wayne Barrett noted that Stone was "financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton. ... Sharpton has a little-noticed history of Republican machinations inconsistent with his fiery rhetoric. ... [A]ny Sharpton-connected outrage against the party could either lower black turnout in several key close states, or move votes to Bush."[19] Sharpton denies that Stone had any influence over his campaign.[20]

The New York Times has also reported on the strange-bedfellows relationship between Stone and Sharpton, noting that Stone was behind several of Sharpton's most visible campaign tactics, including scrutiny of primary candidate Howard Dean's record of minority appointees when he was governor of Vermont. [3]

In the spring and summer of 2004, two 527 groups associated with Roger Stone sent out mailings attacking Winston-Salem City Councilman Vernon Robinson during the primary race. Other mailings from one of the 527 groups promoted then-State Senator Virginia Foxx, who ultimately won the race.[citation needed]

In this election, Stone was also accused [21] of responsibility for the "Kerry-Specter" campaign materials that were circulated in Pennsylvania. Such signs were considered controversial because they were seen as an effort to get Democrats who supported Kerry to vote for the Republican Senator Arlen Specter in heavily Democratic Philadelphia.

In September 2004, rumors circulated that Stone was the original source of apparently forged documents related to the National Guard service of U.S. President George W. Bush. Stone denied the charge. "I have nothing whatsoever to do with this," he said. "I'm a firm believer in political hardball, but I draw the line at forged documents." [4]

Career since 2004

In 2007 Stone, a top adviser at the time to Joseph Bruno (the majority leader of the New York State Senate), was forced to resign by Bruno after allegations that Stone had threatened then gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer.[17] Stone was accused on an episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews on August 22, 2007 of being the voice on an audiotape threatening Governor Eliot Spitzer's father Bernard Spitzer. The audiotape is controversial because of the expletives involved: "And there‘s not a goddamn thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-shit son can do about it."[22][23] Stone has consistently denied the reports. Thereafter, however, he resigned from his position as a consultant to the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, at the request of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.[17]

In January 2008, Stone founded Citizens United Not Timid, an anti–Hillary Clinton 527 group with an intentionally obscene acronym. [24][25]

Stone's Role in Tipping the FBI to the Eliot Spitzer Sex Scandal

On March 24, 2008, the Daily News reported, "When Roger Stone predicted last year that Gov. Eliot Spitzer would soon be toast, it sounded like the rantings of a partisan attack dog. Turns out, the Republican operative is a dragon-slayer who helped bring down New York State's most powerful man. 'Everything surrounding Eliot Spitzer is bizarre. It gets more bizarre now when Roger Stone is [involved],' said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. 'It's like this is all from a movie.' Stone, who boasts of being the sleaziest man in American politics, declared on Dec. 6 to conservative radio host Michael Smerconish that the then-powerful Gov. Spitzer 'wouldn't serve his full term.' The comments didn't draw much attention at the time since Stone was a well-known enemy of Spitzer who worked for the governor's nemesis, Majority Leader Joe Bruno. Nobody knew that Stone had already tipped off the feds to Spitzer's high-priced hooker habit in a Nov. 19 letter to the FBI. It also cattily mentioned the governor's fetish for having sex with socks on. It's unclear whether the prosecutors knew anything about Spitzer's involvement in the Emperors Club VIP call girl ring when Stone wrote the letter." [5]

Style and opinions

Stone's Rules

According to a 2007 magazine profile of Stone by Matt Labash, the consultant "often sets his pronouncements off with the utterance 'Stone's Rules', signifying listeners that one of his shot-glass commandments is coming down, a pithy dictate uttered with the unbending certitude one usually associates with the Book of Deuteronomy." Stone's Rules can be about fashion, food or strategy.[2]


  • "Unless you can fake sincerity, you'll get nowhere in this business." (one of Stone's favorites)[2]
  • "Politics with me isn't theater. It's performance art. Sometimes, for its own sake."[2]
  • "Don't order fish at a steakhouse,"[2]
  • "White shirt + tan face = confidence,"[2]
  • "Undertakers and chauffeurs are the only people who should be allowed by law to wear black suits."[2]
  • "Hit it from every angle. Open multiple fronts on your enemy. He must be confused, and feel besieged on every side."[2]
  • "Always praise 'em before you hit 'em."[2]
  • "Be bold. The more you tell, the more you sell." (attributed to advertising guru David Ogilvy)[2]
  • "Losers don't legislate." (from Richard Nixon)[2]
  • "Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack." ("Often called the Three Corollaries", Stone says of this rule.)[2]
  • "Nobody ever built a statue to a committee."[2]
  • "Avoid obviousness."[2]
  • "Never do anything till you're ready to do it."[2]
  • "Look good = feel good."[2]
  • "Always keep the advantage."[2]

Personal style and habits

Stone has long been noted for his "flamboyant personal style" as one New York Times article noted, and Stone has been called "flamboyant" in Newsday and the New York Observer.[26]

The notability of his personal style has extended to his fashion choices. As another article from The New York Times put it, he "has a reputation for sartorial elegance". (The same New York Times article also reported that when Stone stopped wearing socks during "Ronald Reagan's 1980 Presidential campaign, Nancy Reagan fastidiously brought this to her husband's attention.")[27] His flashy style partly involves good food and good clothes. "A dandy by disposition who boasts of having not bought off-the-rack since he was 17 ... [Stone has] taught reporters how to achieve perfect double-dimples underneath their tie knots", according to Labash.[2] Washington journalist Victor Gold has noted Stone's reputation as "one of the capital's smartest dressers".[28]

His longtime tailor is Alan Flusser, author of Style and the Man. A Flusser associate has said Stone knows enough about men's clothing to work in Flusser's establishment. As of 2007, Stone declared single-vent jackets the sign of a "heathen" and pleated-waist pants an atrocity: "Pants today are like a little church in the valley — no ballroom". Stone says he owns 100 silver-colored neckties and has 100 suits in storage. He despises cowboy boots worn with suits. Fashion stories have been written about him in GQ[2] and Penthouse.

As of 1999, according to a New York Times article that year, "[H]e always wears suspenders, but never red ones. 'People with blond hair do not look good in red,' he said. 'And you shouldn't call them suspenders. It's more accurate to call them braces.'" At that time he was sporting a "silver watch fob, spread-collar shirt and wide-striped double-breasted suit tailored to accentuate his bodybuilder's silhouette". He had only started wearing blue jeans when he met his second wife, he said. He credited his youthful good looks to "decades of following a regimen of Chinese herbs, breathing therapies, tai chi and acupuncture," according to the Times.[9] Others have noted that he wears a diamond pinkie ring in the shape of a horseshoe, in 2007 he had Richard Nixon's face tattooed on his back,[2] he owned five Jaguars as of 2007, and he also owns five Yorkshire Terriers.[2] He has said of himself: "I like English tailoring, I like Italian shoes. I like French wine," he told a reporter for Newsday. "I like vodka martinis with an olive, please. I like to keep physically fit."[29] And his office in Florida has been described as a "Hall of Nixonia" with framed pictures, posters and letters associated with Richard Nixon. Exceptions are a poster of a stripper and a photo of him standing by a pool with pornstar Nina Hartley, both in bikinis.[2]

See also

  • Young Republicans, Old Tricks by Robert Novak & Rowland Evans "The Washington Post" April 27, 1977.
  • The Dirty Trickster by Jeffrey Toobin The New Yorker June 2, 2008

SourceWatch Resources

External links


  1. (Transcript) (February 29, 1996). Online NewsHour: Money and the Presidency. NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 Labash, Matt (November 5, 2007). Roger Stone, Political Animal: Above all, attack, attack, attack--never defend.. The Weekly Standard.
  3. Robin Toner (March 19, 1990). The Trouble With Politics: Running vs. Governing: ’Wars’ Wound Candidates and the Process. New York Times.
  4. Jarret Murphy (October 13, 2004). If You Ain't Got That Swing, Any Voters Still Up For Grabs? The Campaigns Seem To Disagree. CBS News.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Edsall, Thomas B., "Partners in Political PR Firm Typify Republican New Breed", Washington Post, April 7, 1985, accessed via subscription website April 28, 2008
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Jeffrey Toobin' (June 2, 2008). The Dirty Trickster. The New Yorker.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Segal, David, "Mover, Shaker, And Cranky Caller? A GOP Consultant Who Doesn't Mince Words Has Some Explaining to Do," Washington Post, August 25, 2007, p C1, accessed April 28, 2008
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Hoffman, Jan, "PUBLIC LIVES; The Ego Behind the Ego in a Trump Gamble", article, The New York Times, November 18, 1999, accessed April 28, 2008.
  10. Roger Stone's Nixon Thing | The New York Observer
  11. Evan Thomas (March 3, 1986). The Slickest Shop in Town. Time Magazine.
  12. Robin Toner (July 31, 1990). Washington at Work; The New Spokesman for the Republicans: a Tough Player in a Rough Arena. New York Times.
  13. Michael Kerner (April 20, 1992). The Political Interest It's Not Going To Be Pretty. Time Magazine.
  14. Steven Holmes (November 10, 1995). 96 Aspirants Filling Breach Left By Powell. New York Times.
  15. Michael Duffy, Matthew Cooper (September 27, 1999). Take my party, please. CNN.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Michael Tomasky (June 17, 2002). The Right Stuff. New York Metro.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Danny Hakim, Nicholas Confessore (August 23, 2007). Political Consultant Resigns After Allegations of Threatening Spitzer's Father. New York Times.
  18. Doug Ireland (February 19, 2004). A Prayer for Rev. Al. LA Weekly.
  19. Wayne Barrett, Adam Hutton and Christine Lagorio (January 27, 2004). [[1] Sleeping with the GOP]. Village Voice. Retrieved on November 25, 2008.
  20. Wayne Barrett, Jennifer Suh' (February 3, 2004). Sharpton's Cynical Campaign Choice. Village Voice.
  21. Campaign Extra!: Arlen's spectre: Roger Stone
  22. Hardball with Chris Matthews (transcript). MSNBC (August 23, 2007).
  23. Audio recording, hosted by the New York Times
  24. Labash, Matt (January 28, 2008). Making Political Trouble: Roger Stone shows how its done - again. The Weekly Standard.
  25. Citizens United Not Timid. hosted by Citizens United Not Timid.
  26. Slackman, Michael, "The 2004 Campaign: The Consultant: Sharpton's Bid Aided by an Unlikely Source", article, The New York Times, January 25, 2004; article headline and date "Old tricks rock Roger Stone's political world." and Google News search results showing quotation from article: "famous GOP consultant Roger Stone Jr. ... the flamboyant Stone ", Newsday, August 23, 2007; Conason, Joe, "Pataki Camp Gets Stoned," opinion column, The New York Observer, October 22, 2002; all accessed April 28, 2008.
  27. Taylor, Stuart, and Binder, David, "Washington Talk: Briefing Sockless Strategist," New York Times, August 11, 1988 (The Times reported that when Ronald Reagan asked him about it, "'I told him, "I'm not wearing socks until the Soviets are out of Afghanistan,"' Mr. Stone recalled. 'I had to say something, and that answer seemed acceptable to Governor Reagan.'"), accessed April 28, 2008
  28. Gold, Victor, "Hail to the tie", San Antonio Express-News, February 17, 1994, accessed via subscription website on April 28, 2008.
  29. Metz, Andrew, "Golisano's Not-So-Secret Weapon / Adviser lobs political bombs", Newsday, September 23, 2002, accessed via subscription archive April 28, 2008

Wikipedia also has an article on Roger J. Stone, Jr.. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.