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Crashing the party: Republican strategist turned gay rights
activist ponders a White House run


By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 2, 2011; 12:31 PM

ON ROUTE 202, N.H. — The candidate can't find his lane. The road is a
crunchy carpet of snow. The candidate drifts too far to the right.
The rumble strip rattles his car. The candidate drifts too far to the left.


"I can't tell where — " he says, squinting into the swirling void.


"We're in the middle of the road," says his research assistant calmly.


The car stereo belts the Act 1 finale from the Broadway
musical "Wicked," which is about the Wicked Witch of the
West and how she chose Evil to get ahead but then chose
Good because that's how all fables end.


The candidate — the man behind the wheel, the man who can't
find his lane — is a guy named Fred. He's exploring the possibility
of running for president of the United States.


He is doing this as an openly gay Republican who's never held
elective office, using money he amassed as a conservative
consultant who helped torpedo Michael Dukakis with the
Willie Horton ads in 1988 and worked for the tobacco industry
to stave off smoking bans in California in the '90s.


Fred Karger, 61, is a nice guy.


He wants his country to see that. He wants young gay people to
see him run for president. He'd be the first-ever openly gay
presidential candidate for a major party if he formally declares.
He can see himself as the moderate voice in a debate crowded with hard-liners.


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