Fact Check

George J. Esseff Essay

Did a man pay $104,655.60 to run his Republican ad in the Washington Post?

Published Sep 13, 2007


Claim:   A private citizen paid over $100,000 to run a full-page ad in the Washington Post defining himself and his Republican values.

Status:   True.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2004]

$104,655.60 Ad in the Washington Post

Here is someone with the money to fund a rebuttal to what Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee Chairman, said recently that many Republicans have never done an honest day's work in their life. The following full page ad was placed in the Washington Post by a businessman named George J. Esseff, Sr. He paid $104,655.60 to run the ad and only did it because he is sick and tired of the way that "the rich" are
portrayed by liberals these days. It is a great read.

You're a Republican???

In today’s America, ask a growing number of high school and college students; their teachers and professors; the self-anointed media elite and/or hard working men and women of all ethnicities, the question, "What is a Republican?", and you'll be told ". . . a rich, greedy, egotistical individual, motivated only by money and the desire to accumulate more and more of it, at the expense of the environment . . . the working poor and all whom they exploit . . ."

I am a Republican . . . I am none of those things . . . and I don’t know any Republicans who are.

WHAT I AM . . . first and foremost, is a loving husband of some 52 plus years, the father of four and an American who's proud of his country. . . and his country's heritage.

WHAT I AM . . . is the grandson of immigrants who risked everything, including their lives and those of their children, to escape tyranny in search of freedom.

WHAT I AM . . . is a man who grew up during the Depression and witnessed, first hand, the effects of the Stock Market crash and the soup lines that followed. I watched as both my parents and grand parents, who had very little themselves, share what food they had with a half dozen other families, who had even less.

WHAT I AM . . . is someone who worked his way through college by holding down three and four jobs at a time and then used that education to build a better life.

WHAT I AM . . . is a husband who, at age 24, started his own business for the “privilege” of working 60, 70 and 80 hours a week, risking everything I had, including my health, in search of a better life for myself and my loved ones.

WHAT I AM . . . is a businessman whose blood, sweat and tears . . . and plenty of them . . . made it possible for me to provide a secure living, not only for my family and myself, but also for literally hundreds of my employees throughout the years. Employees, who in turn, were able to buy their own homes, raise their own families and give back to their communities and their country.

WHAT I AM . . . is a man who believes in God; a God who has blessed this country . . . and all for which it stands.

WHAT I AM . . . is someone who knows, if you doubt miracles exist in today’s world, you need only to look into the face of those who received them . . . and the eyes of those who give them.

WHAT I AM . . . is an American who's proud that his President embraces a belief in God; proud of a President who understands, as "politically incorrect" as it may be, there is evil in this world and for the security and safety of all freedom loving people everywhere, it must be confronted . . . and it must be defeated.

WHAT I AM . . . is an American who takes comfort in the knowledge that our President refuses to allow decisions concerning the very safety and security of this nation, to be governed by the political whims of foreign governments.

WHAT I AM . . . is tired of hearing from leading Democrats who see only negativity in America; racism in her people; class warfare in her society and "political incorrectness" in her character.

WHAT I AM . . . is a former democrat who now understands that it is the soldier and not the reporter that guarantees us our freedoms of press, speech and dissent.

WHAT I AM . . . is a man who believes in the sanctity of life. A man who is repulsed by the pandering of the political left for votes, at the expense of the unborn.

WHAT I AM . . . is a husband and father who believes in the sanctity of marriage and the preservation of the family unit.

WHAT I AM . . . is a movie go-er who is repulsed by those insecure, socially inept, elementary thinking, ego-inflated "entertainers" who have appointed themselves "experts" in the fields of national security and geo-politics and then use their forum to attack this nation, its leaders and its actions . . . much to the delight and encouragement of our enemies.

WHAT I AM . . . is an American who understands the difference between "censorship" and "choice". Evidently, these individuals do not, because when these same "celebrities" receive public ridicule for their offensive actions, the first thing they yell is "Censorship!". What they seem incapable of understanding is . . . the right of free speech and dissent is shared equally by those offended . . . as well as those who offend. I support and will continue to support those films and performers whom I choose to . . . and refuse to support those I don't. It is my right as an American . . . a right I will continue to enthusiastically exercise.

WHAT I AM . . . is a voter, tired of politicians, who, every time their voting records are subjected to public scrutiny, try to divert attention from their political and legislative failures by accusing their opponents of "attack ads" and "negative campaigning" . . . and the news media who allow them to get away with it.

WHAT I AM . . . is a Catholic who loves his God and his Faith . . . and who's been taught to respect all religions whose teachings are based in love, peace and charity. As such, I am embarrassed and ashamed of those individuals, in both private and public life, whose decisions and actions are devoid of any sense of character or morals; individuals who are only driven by what's best for them . . . rather than what's right . . . often times at the expense of many . . . including our national security.

WHAT I AM . . . is a realist who understands that the terrorist attack that murdered hundreds of innocent Russian children could have occurred here, in our heartland. That's why I sincerely believe America needs now, more than ever, a President who sees with a clear and focused vision and who speaks with a voice when heard by both friend and foe alike, is understood, respected and believed.

WHAT I AM . . . is eternally grateful to Ronald Reagan for having the bravery to speak out against Communism and the courage of his convictions in leading the fight to defeat it; and George W. Bush for the vision, courage, conviction and leadership he has shown in America's war on terrorism amidst both the constant and vicious, personal and political attacks both he and his family are made to endure.

WHAT I AM . . . is a human being, full of numerous faults and failures, but a man nonetheless, who, though not always successful, has continually strived to do "what's right" instead of "what's easy". A man who is challenging the religious leaders of all faiths, to not only preach to their congregations the fundamentals of "what's right" and "what's wrong", but to also then hold them accountable for their actions in both the public and private sectors.

WHAT I AM . . . is disgusted with the Courts who, on one hand, call the murder of a pregnant woman a "double homicide" but then refer to the abortion of her baby as, "pro-choice".

WHAT I AM . . . is someone deeply troubled by a political party which embraces a candidate whose primary "leadership" qualities center around his protesting of the Vietnam war and his labeling the honorable men and women who fought in it, (50,000 of whom gave their lives in that action), as rapists, and war criminals. That same political party then stepped forward this year to block the appearance of a true Vietnam war hero, retired Admiral and former United States Senator, Jeremiah Denton, (a man who spent seven years and seven torturous months in a North Vietnam prison), from speaking before an open session of the California legislature as part of that state's 4th of July celebration. The reason Democrats gave for refusing to allow this American hero to speak before their state legislature was because of the "conservative" nature of his views. As an American, that troubles me deeply . . . as well it should you.

WHAT I AM . . . is a man who feels the need to spend, $104,655.60 (tax paid) of his own money, to purchase this advertisement, in order to set the story straight. Some may say this money would have been better spent feeding the world's poor. At the risk of sounding self-serving, as an American and as a Republican, for the last six decades of my life, I have done exactly that . . . and more. Following the examples of my parents and grand parents, I have used my earnings to feed the poor, shelter the homeless, provide housing for the elderly and medical care for the sick . . . and continue to do so . . . and I'm not alone in that work.

WHAT I AM . . . is someone who is paying for this announcement, at my sole expense, in hopes of opening the eyes of those led blindly by ill-informed elements of our great nation, who, through either ignorance, or malicious intent, repeatedly attack and belittle those of us who belong to a political party that holds true to the belief, " . . . the rights of the governed, exceed the power of the government". For those interested, I am speaking only as a tax-paying individual who is in no way associated with The Republican National Committee, nor with any of its directors, or delegates.

WHAT I AM . . . is a man who understands, "the American way of life" is a message of self-empowerment for all.

WHAT I AM . . . is an American who is grateful that our nation gives each of us the opportunity of self-determination and the right to benefit from the fruits of self achievement.

WHAT I AM . . . is an American who wants to preserve that way of life for all who seek it.

WHAT I AM . . . is blessed to be an American . . . and proud to be Republican.

For a free reprint of this "Open Letter," go to www.whatiam.net

Origins:   On Wednesday, 20 October 2004, the above-quoted text appeared as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post. It was paid for by 74-year-old George Esseff of Westlake Village, California, who shelled out $104,655.60 of his own money to run the ad explaining himself and his Republican values to the Post's approximately 740,000 weekday readers. (As noted at the end of the ad, its text was simultaneously posted on the web

at www.whatiam.net.)

According to the Ventura County Star, the idea for the ad came to Mr. Esseff "in the middle of a sleepless night," because he "had been wounded by recent rhetoric painting Republicans as greedy egotists exploiting the poor and the environment" and was "tired of being treated like a doormat by news media." He deliberately placed the ad in the Washington Post, which is generally considered a liberal newspaper, because he was interested in getting his message out to "left-of-center or undecided voters" in the days before the 2004 presidential election.

While I was researching this piece, I was surprised to find that Mr. Esseff is in fact a neighbor of ours (in the sense that he lives in the town adjacent to the one where we reside). I also discovered that when he noted in his ad that he has "used [his] earnings to feed the poor, shelter the homeless, provide housing for the elderly and medical care for the sick," he was not exaggerating — among his many charitable efforts, George Esseff and his wife, Rosemary, donated over $1 million towards the construction of a low-income housing complex in my hometown of Thousand Oaks, California.

Last updated:   3 August 2005

  Sources Sources:

    Cason, Colleen.   "Man's Ad Sings Praises of GOP."

    Ventura County Star.   27 October 2004.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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