The Ken Mehlman Interview
BY Kerry Eleveld
August 26 2010 10:05 AM ET
As Ken Mehlman’s revelation that he is gay ripped through the blogosphere late Wednesday afternoon, he boarded a plane bound for his home base, New York City. Mehlman had first discussed his coming out story with Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic, but he had reached out to The Advocate in advance of its publication and made a point of offering his second interview on the matter to an LGBT news outlet.
Shortly after arriving in New York Wednesday evening, Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chair and campaign manager for Bush-Cheney ’04, made good on his promise.
The Advocate: Tell me about how you got involved with this fundraiser you’re putting together to help support the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8.
Ken Mehlman: A lot of different people have come together to make this a success, but the one who has been the most generous and who is hosting it is [CEO of the hedge fund firm Elliott Management Corp.] Paul Singer. He and I have been friends for a long time and we talked about this. He indicated his interest in the cause and I indicated my interest in the cause and we talked together about how we might work on it.
So he’s someone who deserves tremendous credit and is going to make this a truly outstanding event.
The fundraiser – we literally haven’t really even sent out the invitation and just by pre-selling it we are now at about $750,000.
I know you’re focused on the fundraiser right now, but do you have your sights set on any other LGBT issues that you really want to work on moving forward?
I have a lot to learn. I would say a couple things — one is, I’m not in politics anymore. I’m a private citizen and as a private citizen there are a number of ways you can help, the same way I’ve been helpful in other causes I believe in, whether it’s education reform or supporting the college I attended, etc. I think that you look to raise money, you look to provide strategic advice and you look to help bring other folks into the effort.
But in terms of particular causes, I think it would be premature because I have a lot to learn. I want to talk to folks that are involved in the effort and figure out where I can be constructive.