Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forbes Millionaire Fancies Running for President

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forbes Millionaire Fancies Running for President

Article excerpt

THE was born with the proverbial "silver spoon" in his mouth. He has a college named after him at Princeton University. And, for enjoyment - don't yawn - he loves to debate public policy.

Now, Malcolm S. Forbes Jr. is thinking about running for president. The millionaire president of Forbes Inc., parent of Forbes magazine, says he will make up his mind by September whether to become yet another Republican trying to win the nomination for the 1996 election.

Mr. Forbes, a resident of rural Bedminister, N.J., got a taste of politics in 1993 when he was an adviser to then-candidate, now governor, Christine Todd Whitman. Since December of that year, Forbes has been chairman of Empower America, a conservative organization that includes such politicians as Jack Kemp and William Bennett.

Empower's President Bill Da Coll says Forbes calls him five or six times a day, seven days a week, to discuss such issues as health care, defense procurement, or the return to the gold standard.

At Empower, Forbes has pushed the conservative message hard. This year Forbes urged Empower to employ "strategic" media buying in purchasing ad space on Cable News Network before and after President Clinton's State of the Union address. The group's message: the flat tax. It has also bought radio time with the same message in New Hampshire and Iowa. "Now all the candidates are on board for a flat tax," Mr. Da Coll says.

Although Empower may have some influence with the cadre of candidates, veteran political observers say Forbes's odds of winning the Republican nomination are slim. "He may have the money, but he has no field organization, no name recognition, and no chance," says Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science at the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

If Forbes thinks voters will recognize his name because of the family magazine, Mr. …

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