Publishing magnate Malcolm S. Forbes Jr. said Wednesday he will enter the Republican presidential race, using his personal fortune to campaign for higher economic growth and lower taxes.
“I’m going to do it,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his office in Bedminster, N.J. “The need is there.”
Forbes, a soft-spoken multimillionaire, enters a field already crowded with nine politicians and better-known faces. He says he sees his lack of political experience as a plus in the current anti-Washington political climate.
Forbes, 48, will make his official announcement Friday in a speech at the National Press Club and will launch a national TV campaign the same day, aides said.
Forbes said he will espouse “pro-growth, pro-opportunity, get-America-moving themes.” He said he will try to provide a hopeful antidote to the “glum view of the rest of the crop” in the GOP race.
“They don’t realize what the true obstacles are and what the true opportunities are,” Forbes said. “If they had the answers, … they would have implemented them, whether it’s radically simplifying the tax code, cutting interest rates, putting in medical savings accounts, saving Social Security, allowing parental choice in education.”
Forbes, who is known as Steve, said he is prepared to spend $20 million to $25 million of his own money on a campaign if needed.
His ad blitz will feature a commercial promoting Forbes’ support of a 17 percent flat tax for individuals and businesses to replace the federal income tax system.
Although many Republican analysts give him scant chance of winning the nomination, Forbes is popular with supply-side economic boosters.
Critics say Forbes’ theme of economic growth and improved living standards is not enough to overcome the hurdles facing him. “Nobody ever heard of him. He starts just about from ground zero. It’s awfully late to get in there,” said Lyn Nofziger, former adviser to President Reagan.