Russo & Nolan in MD - Media, Matching Funds, Health, "Loose cannon" Issues Raised

Russo & Nolan in MD - Media, Matching Funds, Health, "Loose cannon" Issues Raised
Carol Moore 5-12-04

On May 8, 2004 LP Presidential nominee contenders Aaron Russo and Gary Nolan spoke to about 30 Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia delegates. I audio taped the presentations and a full and detailed report linked on my RUSSO v. NOLAN web page at: As you will see, many concerns and questions shared by libertarians nationwide were raised. A short description is below. If you are concerned by issues raised, please read the full report at the site and contact the candidates with your concerns.

      Nolan's talk was not as energized as I've seen him before, and largely uncontroversial, except for his insistence abortion is a states rights issue, not an individual rights issue, which is the libertarian position. (Russo's was similar, though he did mention women's right to control bodies.) Also, if he's going to be stressing the positive he needs more positive examples in the many examples he gives. Additionally, given that video advertisements easily can be produced on home computers today, I think the campaign should hustle to find some one to make a couple ads free or at low cost and put them up on their web page. Russo is right that we should at least try to get some ads on national television, and sooner rather than later. After all, one good, controversial advertisement placed only a couple times can generate massive amounts of publicity.

      Russo, who dropped out of the 2002 Nevada Governor's race because of bladder cancer, was physically failing -- yet increasingly verbally abusive and out of control, a real lose cannon. I have gone from being skeptical to critical and now to being totally opposed to his being the LP's 2004 Presidential candidate.
* Russo had trouble vocally projecting initially. Right after he muttered "I'm the in your face candidate," someone from the middle of the room called out: "Louder," causing audience laughter. Russo graphically detailed his treatment for bladder cancer two years ago and admitted that last week he had to run to the doctors because of blood in his urine. If Russo gets the nomination he may well drop out before the race is over -- or do most of his campaigning from his home.
* Russo was verbally abusive (usually posed as "jokes") to Richard Campagna, Gary Nolan and questioners, repeatedly charging the Nolan campaign was just interested in making money for staffers. (I have since learned that at the Californian LP Convention in February he "joked" about Nolan: "He's an Arab. Let's kill him!" ) He also made a sexually aggressive move on me for daring to question him about embarrassing film flops. I put that incident on an audio file at the link. Several people told me they were very upset by his "out of control" behavior. One person told Russo he was worried Russo would pull a "Howard Dean" and do something ridiculous to embarrass the party.
* Russo's boasting about his big show biz contacts was undercut when he admitted what "talking to" Kurt Russell about getting involved in the campaign really meant -- Russell's agent only had allowed him to send a letter to Russell. Too many libertarians are absurdly "star struck" by Russo and his Hollywood hype. Let's not forget the $20 million dollars his last couple films lost for film companies; Saturday he claimed he has no idea why!
* Russo revealed that next week he is going to put TV ads on cable TV, spending his own money for them. He said he has no idea how much money he can raise and refuses to actively raise money -- including for ballot access -- until he gets the nomination. He is willing to put $50-100,000 of his own money into the race. Looks like much of that might go to help Russo GET the nomination. Russo is also eager to take matching funds from the government, something always controversial in presidential campaigns. That audio is now up on the site as well, linked at the table of contents.
      What will happen if Russo gets the nomination may be a libertarian's worst nightmare -- a failed campaign at best, a humiliating and destructive one at worst.

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