T he Roger Stone show must go on. The legendary political dirty trickster has rematerialized this election season, directing the novelty gubernatorial campaign of madam Kristin Davis while his protégés run the also-unusual campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. “I win some, I lose some, but I always come back,” says Stone. Just like Richard Nixon, whose face he had tattooed on his back.
Born in 1952, he grew up in blue-collar Lewisboro, New York; Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative awakens him politically as a teenager.
Working for Nixon’s reelection, he made campaign contributions to opponents from phony socialist groups and recruited a mole to work on George McGovern’s campaign.
Stone ended his official role with Bob Dole’s presidential campaign after the National Enquirer discovered that he and his wife placed ads seeking swingers. Stone handled regional organizing operations for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984; he says it’s his proudest achievement. Afterward, he started a lobbying business in Washington, often handling casino-and-gaming affairs.
State Senate honcho Joe Bruno hired Stone in 2007 after Eliot Spitzer attacked Bruno’s use of a state helicopter. When a menacing voice mail left for Spitzer’s father was traced to Stone’s wife’s phone, Stone was fired. (He denies making the call.) Stone also told reporters months before the prostitution scandal broke that Spitzer would not finish his term in office. A letter in which Stone alerted the Feds to Spitzer’s call-girl proclivities was leaked to the press; authorities have never confirmed its authenticity. And his enmity toward Sptizer continues: “I will make sure,” he promises, “his CNN show gets canceled.”
Stone handled regional organizing operations for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984; he says it’s his proudest achievement. Afterward, he started a lobbying business in Washington, often handling casino-and-gaming affairs.
Stone won’t divulge his specific advice to Paladino but suggests he continue to speak his mind and not worry about making gaffes. “I think more voters in New York can relate to Carl Paladino than the reporters of the New York Times,” he says. Stone’s former secretary is Paladino’s scheduler; Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, was once Stone’s driver. Meanwhile, he also got Davis on the ballot in November, running on the Anti-Prohibition Party ticket, which favors the legalization of prostitution and marijuana. “I’m a libertarian and a libertine,” Stone once said.
“Politics is about being interesting,” Stone says. “Politics is being provocative.”