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Friday, January 09, 2009

Peter Schiff on U.S. Bond markets and his possible 2010 Senate campaign

I've been watching his commentary on CNBC panels since late 2006, but I still just can't get enough of Peter Schiff. Here he is on Canada's BNN sounding bearish about the state of the economy, U.S. bonds markets and fiscal stimulus plans:

Schiff's getting plenty of airtime here at the Shotgun Blog and all over the business channels because of his unrelenting warnings over the past few years of a coming US housing bubble collapse and financial crisis, but he's also attracting attention of another sort. Schiff, you may recall, was an economic advisor for Texas Congressman's Ron Paul's campaign for the Repubican presidential nomination. Although Paul did not fare very well in the primaries, he energized a large activist base and met with historically unprecedented levels of online fundraising.

Near the end of 2008, I contacted the team behind a sleek new website, Schiff2010.com which was trying to draft Peter Schiff to run as a Republican Senate candidate in 2010 in his home state of Connecticut. Connecticut's senior Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Banking Committee, has been recently implicated in a scandal involving receiving favourable rates from Countywide Financial and has also come under criticism his proclamations on the soundness of and Fannie and Freddie Mac and his status as the number one recipient of donations from the government-sponsored (now government owned) mortgage companies.

Chad Pearce, one of the Schiff2010.com grassroots website's organizers told me how the project to draft Schiff came about:

Last July, we spoke with Schiff at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas for quite awhile. During conversation, we asked him about running for office and "what would you do if a grassroots movement tried to get you in office?"  He said he would be interested and would respond positively if someone tried, and more or less, "at the very least I would take the publicity," implying that he would enjoy it even against extreme odds. We have also talked with people close to Peter at EuroPacific Capital (we are young investors) and they are very excited about the project. 

The website has been bouncing around the blogosphere and social networking sites like Digg, while adding new content and building up a mailing list. The "Peter Schiff for Senate 2010" facebook page now has about 500 supporters.

In the first of his Wednesday weekly radio broadcasts of the New Year, Schiff commented at length on the website and the committee behind it, saying that while he was not planning to run for Senate, he could be convinced and wouldn't rule it out. He wished the effort well in their organization and fundraising but expressed his doubts about the difficulties of running a successful campaign and the effectiveness of holding a seat in the US Senate:

I'm not running for anything, but apparently there's an effort to convince me to run or to draft me. They are trying to put together an organization and raise funds -- and they're hoping, in the field of dreams "if you build it they will come" -- and if they can create an organization and fund it that they might be able to convince me to run for Senate.

I have no idea whether or not I would make myself a candidate for Senate, even if they did put together an organization to raise some money, I don't know. But it's not a hundred percent that I wouldn't do it.

I don't even know if they could even be successful, I have no idea how much they could raise, or how much is needed to try to have a legitimate campaign for Senate. But the problem for me in deciding whether or not I wanted to run for Senate would be "what could I accomplish if I won?" Although I think winning would be a lot tougher than running -- but you know running -- anybody can run. But I don't know what I would be able to do as a Senator. I know Ron Paul is in Congress and hasn't been able to accomplish much as far as legislation; he's accomplished a lot recently, I think, with his campaign and his message has resonated with a lot of people, and I think that's great, particularly a lot of younger people, and I was surprised because you generally think that the young people are more left-leaning; the old expression was if you're not a socialist by the time you're 22, you don't have a heart and if you're not a conservative by the time you're 28, you don't have a head. But a lot of young people are gravitating to Ron Paul. I know myself [that] a lot of people on college campuses know who I am, and a lot of them know who I am because of my affiliation with Ron Paul. I know its more powerful as a Senator -- instead of being one out of four-hundred-and something, you're one out of a hundred -- but still, even if I had a Senate seat, I'm one percent of one half of the Congress. So what can you actually do?

I'm not trying to discourage this grassroots movement. I wish them well, you never know if they can organize and if they can raise some money. Worst case scenario if I don't run, maybe they can find a productive use for the money in other candidates who do run, but that's what's going on.

I had nothing to do with the website, I had no idea or intention to run for anything. My main goal is to build up my brokerage firm, EuroPacific Capital, and to spread the word of freedom and capitalism every avenue that I can, just as an American and a patriot, to get the word out -- and also as a businessman to try to promote my company and what I'm trying to do through my company, which is trying to protect the wealth and the savings of as many Americans who understand what's going on and who want to take actions to preserve their wealth before its gone.

UPDATE: Here's is a video clip with the audio of some of that response:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 9, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink


Thanks to Peter Schiff and his book , I saved my retirement accounts and several other investments from large double digit losses in 2008. I was in some mutual funds in financial services and in several index funds. After reading his book inI started selling in 2007. I saved myself a lot of money. He was not 100% right about the US dollar but I do credit him with providing good defensive advice.

Posted by: ejhickey | 2009-01-09 2:34:00 PM

Senator Schiff. Think about it, Peter!

Anyway, he'd have a bully pulpit. People in Connecticut who wouldn't sign up for his EuroPac e-mail list would sign up to receive e-mails from him as a Senator. Also, he would be invited to talk on non-financial TV shows. It would definitely help him spread the message of freedom and capitalism.

In the Senate, he'd have the power of filibuster. He might be able to, although I know they're stubborn as hell, sway some other Senators to his side and vote like him.

I think he should do it. I'd definitely donate to his campaign if he ran.

Posted by: Jeff B. | 2009-01-09 10:32:20 PM

I think the online Ron Paul community would explode with excitement and donations if Peter announced his running.

Posted by: tj | 2009-01-10 11:13:22 AM

I couldn't agree more. I'd even move to CT. just to vote for him. Run!

Posted by: mike | 2009-01-12 2:11:17 PM

I think tj is right on the money (figuratively and literally).

This is what the CFL is about and I think Schiff could do a lot of good, as well as having a fair shot at winning with Paul's support behind him. He has the exposure and reputation for being accurate and knowledgeable.

Even if the adversity looks imposing, this has to start somewhere. If Obama and Co. are determined to go down the same disastrous path weve been on then the CFL and people like Sciff need to stand up as often as possible.

Posted by: J707 | 2009-01-14 2:43:16 PM

We NEED Peter Schiff to get rid of Chris Dodd and bring some reason into the Senate.

Posted by: Nick | 2009-01-24 4:46:59 PM

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