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Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 11:13 GMT
Steve Forbes: Money no object

Steve Forbes campaign for the presidency lacked nothing except for the popular support of American voters.

Four years ago when Forbes launched his first bid for the White House he was ranked as an outsider. By the time the 2000 campaign got underway that position had not really changed.

Despite huge spending on advertising and campaign rallies the electorate, it seems, remain unconvinced.

Poor showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and finally Delaware spelled an end to Forbes second stab at the White House in a campaign thought to have cost him more than $30m of his own money.

The Delaware result was particularly humiliating, coming five points behind John McCain who hadn't spent a penny of his campaign funds or a minute of his time in the state.

Family fortune

Forbes' two presidential campaigns have been backed by a vast family fortune with millions of dollars poured into keeping himself in the race and the issues he backed in the public eye.
Forbes site
"America's first full-scale internet campaign" says the Forbes site
He has never held elected public office, but with a personal fortune estimated at $440m he was able to launch a full-scale political operation - including what he proclaimed as the first full scale national Internet campaign.

Forbes was born in New Jersey into America's east coast elite in 1947. His grandfather founded the Forbes publishing company in 1917 but it was his father, Malcolm, who turned it into an empire.

Malcolm Forbes served as a state representative and twice failed to win the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey.

The young Steve Forbes studied at Princeton University and, like George W Bush, served in the National Guard, during the Vietnam War. In 1970 he became associate editor of Forbes, the leading business magazine, and editor in 1982.

He took over the running of the company after his father's death in 1990, pushing the companies earnings above $1bn a year.

Early successes

Few understand why Forbes remains apparently so keen to enter the White House. The presidency would impose a very different lifestyle to the one he enjoys as the wealthy head of the Forbes publishing empire.

Yet in both 1996 and 2000, he appeared to revel in the campaign pouring huge amounts of his own money into setting up offices across the country and keeping his bid afloat.

Forbes' 1996 campaign had some notable successes, perhaps encouraging him to have another go in 2000. He came fourth in the New Hampshire primary and secured surprise wins in Delaware and Arizona.

Although he was beaten for the Republican nomination by Bob Dole, in effect his 1996 campaign never really came to an end and in March 1999 he confirmed that he would be making a second bid for the White House in 2000.

However his 2000 campaign lacked the momentum of 1996 when he focused solely on proposals for a single flat rate tax.

Forbes positioned himself firmly on the Republican right, pitching himself against the more centrist front-runner George W Bush and making much of his pro-life views.

He argued that Americans needed a moral compass, "a set of fixed principals that guide and direct them, regardless of the fashionable whims and predilections of the day".

Ultimately his lack of charisma, awkward personal style and tag as the multi-millionaire without political experience denied him the mass appeal he needed to continue, but he may well be back in 2004.

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