Seventy-five-year old businessman Max Rhodes says that he and a group of Hillary Clinton’s supporters hope to “draft” the first lady as the Democratic presidential candidate in 2000. He and a group of Los-Angeles-based grass roots activists plan to collect 50 million signatures and raise at lease $50 for the project by the end of this year.
“Hillary for President 2000” staffers will kick off their national campaign on June 5, marking the official opening of their Los Angeles office. The group will send press materials to every major newspaper in the United States and will launch a campaign for donations and petition signatures via the Internet. Also planned for distribution are stamped, pre-addressed postcards that recipients can sign and return.
Rhodes is the owner of a multi-million-dollar international sign-making business that he and his father set up in Los Angeles after helping 86 Jews escape Nazi persecution in their native Germany. Seventy-five-year old Rhodes believes that his life experiences have prepared him for any challenge and says of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recruitment, “It can be done.”
Rhodes informed the first lady about his plans for a “Hillary for President 2000” campaign in January, when he sent her a letter stating, “The United States needs a leader whose clear vision, strength of character and clarity of purpose can blaze a trail into the 21st century. You are the best type of role model for our young people and stand out as a beacon of hope for adults.”
Clinton sent him a reply, thanking him for his interest. In a recent interview for CBS News’ 60 Minutes program, Clinton acknowledged that she has been encouraged to seek the presidency, and commented, “Oh my gosh, that’s not possible, I don’t believe… it’s not even in the universe of my thinking.”
Rhodes remains undeterred. He says he is certain that Hillary Rodham Clinton is “the right person to lead our country into the next millennium,” and “can beat any Republican candidate.”