Last week, we noted Newsmax's burst of promotion for the idea of New York congressman Peter King as a presidential candidate. Turns out Newsmax is responsible for planting the idea in King's head in the first place.
Blame it on the chicken scarpariello.
Rep. Peter King made news last week when the New York Republican announced he was considering a run for President in 2016, an idea first reported by the conservative website Newsmax. Left unreported in that initial story was the spark that ignited King’s interest in running for the top job. It came at a dinner weeks earlier at an Italian restaurant called Campagnola on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, with Chris Ruddy, editor-in-chief of Newsmax, and Vito Fossella, a former Republican congressman from New York.
King told TIME that Ruddy showed up unannounced. “I didn’t even know he was going to be there,” King remembered. “And he said he’d been hearing from a number of people that someone like me could bring together the national security Republicans and the old Reagan Democrats and that I should consider a run. And he said, ‘You mind if I do a story?’ And I said, ‘On what?’ And I didn’t hear from him until I guess last Friday [July 12].”
Five days later, he received another call saying Newsmax had published a story about his possible ambitions. “I realized I had to start thinking about it more seriously when I got the phone call at 11 o’clock on Wednesday night,” said King.
“I think people are open to someone new and different,” Ruddy told TIME. “I think Peter has a lot of assets going for him. He is well-liked. He is great on television. He has great visibility. He’s a straight shooter. People want that and I think the Republican Party also needs a little something different. Because if they couldn’t beat an unpopular president in a recession last time, they are going to have an uphill battle in 2016.”
Newsmax has yet to tell its readers about Ruddy's direct role in planting the idea of King as president.