I Was Clinton’s Running Mate — For Half and Hour!

In the world of investing, timing is everything. In October, 1996, on a San Diego beach, my timing was excellent — an opportunity to jog and speak with President Clinton.

I had gone out on the beach for a jog. Before I knew it, the President of the United States and his entourage came jogging in front of me.

“Hi! How are you?” Clinton asked with a smile. “I could be better,” I responded, a phrase that speaks volumes about the last four years under Clinton.

Before the opportunity could slip away, I seized the moment. While others watched in amazement, I ran up, shook his hand and asked, “Mind if I join you?” The Secret Service agents were closing in fast, but the president waved his hand. “Fine with me. Let him go.”

For the next half an hour, I had the president’s ear. Boy did I let him have it!

We discussed his 1993 tax hike, which I pointed out had a negative effect on business and charities. While wealthy people can afford to pay higher taxes, sending more money to Uncle Sam means there’s less money to be spent on business, on hiring or for charities.

He seemed to understand, but said he had to do something about the deficit, which ballooned under Reagan supply-side tax-cuts of the 1980s.

“Do you believe in supply-side economics?” I asked. He replied “Yes, tax cuts can increase revenues, as they did under Kennedy. But we must not go overboard.”

We also discussed a reduction or elimination of the capital gains tax. Surprisingly, Clinton said he favored a reduction in capital gains, but only if a “small” alternative minimum tax was included to ensure fairness. Basically, a capital gains tax cut in name only.

Next we discussed problems of Medicare, including the Medical Savings Accounts idea popularized by 1996 and 2000 GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbeswhich Clinton said he also supported.

As we finally said good-bye (the Secret Service agents had been pointing at their watches for the last several minutes) I asked Clinton to sign a dollar bill I had in my pocket. “I think it’s illegal, but I’ll do it anyway,” he said.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mark October 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

mark skowson,never stops amazing me,with his friends and contact’s in the finance and religion areas of his life. i wish i could afford to get in to his finance pool.

Randy Charles Brown February 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Great Story!
I believe I have met you long ago. I think you were the editor for the BYU student newspaper, The Universe. I met you at your Mom’s house in Provo. Let me explain.
I flew combat reconnaissance missions in Viet Nam as a Naval Flight Officer (navigator). Because of the “needs of the Navy” I received flight officer training without a degree. After my Navy service I had come to BYU to earn a degree, I had been recruited to BYU with an athletic scholarship in gymnastics. I was not a Mormon boy but I had been drawn to the school because of its honor code, and the athletic scholarship didn’t hurt. I didn’t know anything abut Mormonism, but I knew that if these students really obeyed that honor code, then they were “my kind of people.”
Very fortuitously, my route to school took me down the hill right beside your Mom’s house. Several times I saw a young lady walking the route down the hill to school. Finally, I asked her if she would accept a ride from a fellow BYU student. She agreed and we became friends. We chatted. I met your sister Bonnie. She encouraged me to take Cleon’s class on the Book of Mormon. I did. As I learned about the doctrines of the Church, I would often swing by your house to discuss with Bonnie the teachings of the Church. “Boy, you’ll never guess what your Uncle said in class today!” And we’d talk about Heaven…a much expanded notion in Mormon theology…even Mark Twain would be impressed. Or, we’d talk about Hell…a much more acceptable notion in Mormon theology.
I also had contact with Joel. I named my 3rd son Joel after your brother. At BYU, I enjoyed the company of the Mormon girls but I’m afraid that a combat-experienced, non-Mormon like myself seemed to find the recently-returned missionary males hard for me to relate to. Then I met Joel. An F-4 Phantom US Marine Corps pilot Wow, he made a strong impression on me.
You were all wonderful. I attended a family home evening, at Bonnie’s invitation, where Cleon conducted. Besides you, I also met Royal, Jonathan, Sarah and your Mom, of course. A charming, lovely woman, even then.
I did join the Church. Served a Mission in the US (Virginia-Roanoke). Married in the Temple….8 children…my oldest son and 2nd oldest daughter served missions. Three of my children have temple marriages…others to come as they get older, I hope.
My 4th son will likely go on a mission as soon as he graduates in June…He’s turning 18 soon….He’ll be one of the first 18 year old missionaries.
My oldest son Graham, is finishing a graduate degree program at University of Maryland in dance. He is scheduled to interview for a BYU position in the coming weeks. I bring that up because I read somewhere on your web page that one of your daughters is a dancer.
No where on your web pages do I read about your sisters. I read with sadness about the death of Cleon and your Mom. I would love to send a Hello Card to Bonnie…but I don’t even know her last name. Would love to reconnect.
How sweet to recall these memories. My first stirrings of the Holy Ghost came early to me while at a basketball halftime exhibition. As gymnasts we got to “strut our stuff” at half time at the Marriott Activity Center. After our ten minutes of glory, we sat together in the arena and I looked out across at all those radiant Mormon faces and something stirred deep within me. I leaned over to the coach, and I said, “I don’t know what’s going on here, ” as I gestured across the crowd, “but whatever it is, it’s awfully good.”
It’s been fun to write this letter. It’s been fun to see each of your brothers’ contributions to the internet.

Fondly

Randy Brown

Randy Charles Brown February 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Great Story!

Randy Brown

Mark Skousen February 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Dear Randy,

Wow, what memories! Yes, I remember you when you used to date Bonny! So now I know the rest of the story. That’s really impressive. Where are you living now?

It would be fun to catch up. Why don’t you come to my big conference FreedomFest, to be held this July 10-13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Go to http://www.freedomfest.com. Bonny might be coming. Her email address is bonny.coombs@gmail.com She married Bruce Coombs from Idaho and have six kids, and tons of grand kids.

All the best, AEIOU,

Mark

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