Red Flags For Promoters

When David Kuo, the ex-White House staffer who recently published a book claiming the Bush administration manipulates evangelical Christians, started making the talk show rounds pushing his tome, he may have raised the hackles of not just Karl Rove and Pat Robertson – but some old acquaintances in the concert biz as well.

Turns out that when Kuo was still working with the White House, he became the admin’s point man for the Pentagon-sponsored “United We Stand: What More Can I Give” concert in October 2001, a month after terrorists attacked New York City and Washington, D.C.

The show featured Michael and Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, Mariah Carey, P. P. Diddy, Rod Stewart, Destiny’s Child, and James Brown, and was held at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. Clear Channel Entertainment was the primary promoter.

So how does Kuo’s re-emergence as an author five years later figure in? When the Washington Post‘s “Reliable Source” gossip column jumps on it, claiming Kuo stiffed CCE for $25,000 to purchase miniature American flags for fans to wave in the stands. The paper reports that Kuo never repaid the money.

The Post claims that CCE’s Philadelphia office asked GOP fund-raiser Rob Jennings to help pony up some corporate dough to finance the concert. Jennings told the paper that Kuo seized on an idea to hand out 50,000 American flags to the crowd and insisted he could find an underwriter for the cost – so the flags were ordered and reportedly paid for by Clear Channel.

After the flag-waving event came and went, the money reportedly never arrived despite Kuo’s continued promises. The Post wrote that Kuo eventually stopped returning calls, and organizers were quietly asked by the White House to back off, Jennings told the paper. He added that he didn’t see Kuo again until he popped up on the October 15th edition of “60 Minutes” promoting his book, “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.”

“If I did something wrong, I’m sorry,” Kuo said when contacted by the Post. “That’s all I’m going to say, just to save time and apologize to people. I don’t want to have hurt anybody.”

He also noted that plenty of Republicans are now determined to portray him in the worst possible light.

“Of course the long knives are out for me,” Kuo told the paper. “I’ve had lots of calls from friends about people who are going to ‘take me down’ or destroy me. I’m not going to back down. I’ll confess to whatever it is, so I can keep on talking about what I want to talk about.”

Clear Channel Entertainment was spun off from its media conglomerate parent to become Live Nation almost a year ago. A spokesman for Live Nation did not return a request for comment at press time.