In February 1997, I procured the story of Dick Morris, an advisor to Bill Clinton for his presidential campaigns. The events that transpired over the next few months blurred the line for me as newsman and human being. Dick found himself right smack in the middle of a controversy that was tearing his family apart. Bill Clinton's lack of self-control when it came to women was fast becoming the easiest story for the media to spin into big ratings. Even before anyone heard of Monica Lewinsky, Clinton's extramarital affairs were a mainstay of the nightly news. Then Dick Morris's private life was exposed, and his family had to endure the media's microscope as they reported on his extramarital indiscretions. Some would say that the public had every right to know about the private lives of the Morris family, given his relationship with the commander in chief. Others would say it is really no one else's business outside of the family. In any event, I found myself making the decision for the public as to what was really important for them to know. I chose to help a family rebuild.
I did everything I could by calling in some favors to protect the Morris family and keep the problems out of the media. I was not entirely successful. They were trying to save their marriage, and it was obvious that the added pressure of the media scrutiny would make that impossible. I had witnessed firsthand what media attention can do to people long after reporters have stopped chasing them and the story itself became a distant memory, and I take the responsibility of protecting lives from needless harm seriously. The networks will always feel it is important to put the spin on their material. I will always feel it is just as important that the people who come to me with their information be protected from the media, which have a tendency to jump to conclusions. I am sure there will be many who disagree, even dislike me for taking this position; but I gave up on the popularity contest long ago.
Dick Morris received counseling and his marriage was rebuilt. He published Behind the Oval Office in 1998, chronicling his experiences at the White House with very little spin -- and without attacking his associates. The book was a success. I worked with Dick and his lovely wife. We became friends when he came to Los Angeles. I have Dick's autographed book cover and statement to my son encased with a shirt from Clinton and a pen from the White house in a shadow box in my war room. Dick wrote, "When you turn 50, I will run your campaign for President." The inscription was kind of a kick for my son, but also very inspirational.
There are no college degrees for what I do, and the only way to learn the skills needed to be successful is to do it. I didn't grow up wanting to be the guy who brings the sensational stories to the news. I wanted to be an actor. After eight years of being a successful stockbroker on Wall Street, I decided to pursue my dream, so I packed up and moved to California.