Fifteen months ago, I formed the "Live Free or Die" PAC in order to raise money to support conservative candidates. We raised nearly $300,000 and I traveled in twenty states delivering my conservative message on behalf of those candidates. It was a very successful endeavor.
While traveling across the country, I wanted to determine if sufficient national support existed for me to organize a strong grassroots campaign for the Presidency of the United States. I shared my conservative message through speeches and private conversations with thousands of Americans from New Hampshire to California, but more importantly, I listened to them.
I developed a deep respect and admiration for the people I met. Americans want character and integrity in their political leaders. They want to have faith, trust, and confidence that those leaders will "chart the right course for America" and for them. I found Americans agreeing with Jefferson that each and every person is endowed by their Creator with the "unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and furthermore, that the US Constitution was written by our Founders to protect those rights. I could not agree more. America is the greatest country on earth. The vast majority of her people are patriotic, decent, hardworking and kind. Americans are entitled to political leaders who are both role models and an inspiration to them and their children.
I want the people I meet to know Bob Smith as a person. I want them to know Bob Smith the husband, father, coach, teacher, and businessman. I want people to know that I am prepared to live each day as President as a role model for our young people and to keep America free and strong. I want to pass America on to our children in an even stronger condition that we inherited her.
Everywhere I have traveled, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire, I encountered tremendous enthusiasm, overwhelming kindness and respect, and an indisputable urging to "go for the Presidency." I felt a bond of friendship and trust developing between these people and me. It was an exhilarating, yet humbling experience -- one that I will never forget!
After spending the past several weeks assessing the reaction that I have received around the country and discussing it with Mary Jo, we are convinced that I can assemble a grassroots nationwide organization and fund-raising base that will allow me to effectively compete in -- and win -- the Republican primaries and caucuses in the 2000 election.
Therefore, as a friend and supporter over the years, I wanted you to hear personally from me that I have decided to run for President in 2000.
I have served in the House and Senate for over 14 years, where I have been involved in domestic, foreign policy, and defense issues. In this capacity, I have developed the expertise, the vision, and the strong desire to serve my country as President of the United States.
My desire, passion, and drive alone are nothing without you standing beside me in this greatest of opportunities. Will you join me and support my candidacy and my organizational plan? I ask you to come aboard the Bob Smith for President campaign by making a campaign donation today.
I am organizing a nationwide, grassroots, people oriented campaign like no one has ever seen in the history of presidential politics. The pollsters and newsmedia have already told us who is supposed to win and that we must have access to tens of millions of dollars from big money interests. I say the pollsters and the media are wrong! We the people own America, not the pollsters, political pundits, newsmedia, or huge Wall Street financial interests. It is time for the people to take America back! Here is how you can help me do it.
I would like you to "invest in America" by investing in my campaign. As a souvenir for your contribution (in lieu of a thank-you not) you will receive a handsome limited-edition stock certificate, personally hand-signed by me, suitable for framing. Each certificate is individually numbered and personalized. This colorful certificate is certain to be a collectors' item. It will indicate the number of "shares" that you own, at a par value of $20 per share. For example, if you give $100, the certificate will indicate that you own five shares of "Stock in America." If you give $1,000, you own 50 shares. Please be as generous as you can. As a shareholder, you will also receive a Bob Smith for President newsletter on a regular basis giving you the latest updates on the campaign. I want you as a shareholder.
Your early financial support will help me to raise the necessary funds to win in Iowa and New Hampshire and build up a war chest for later primaries. My goal is to sell one million shares at $20 each. The more shares you buy, the sooner I reach my goal. Please help now!
I will be starting my announcement tour at Kingswood High School on South Main Street, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where I taught and served on the school board in the 1970s and 1980s. (If the impeachment trial is still in progress, I will delay the announcement). The announcement rally will be on February 18, at 1:00 PM. On February 19, I will be at several locations in Iowa, which have yet to be announced. On Saturday, February 20, I will be holding a huge rally in Swansboro, North Carolina in the Jacksonville area. If your schedule permits and you find yourself near any of these locations, I would consider it an honor it you could be there with me as I embark on this momentous journey.
In the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Senator Jefferson Smith (played by Jimmy Stewart) was a common, decent man who had faith that America was good and that she deserved good political leaders -- leaders with character and integrity, who stood on principle. I agree. And if elected President, I will follow that example.
With warm regards,
United States Senator