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  • Businessman Faces Backlash After Appearing on Obama's Enemies List

    Frank VanderSloot grew up a poor kid in rural Idaho. His father made $300 a month. His clothes came from the Salvation Army. Yet through determination and hard work—and with the help of America’s free-enterprise system—today he’s the successful CEO of a global supplier of wellness products.

    VanderSloot’s rags-to-riches story is not unlike other American tales of individuals who have benefited from the free market. In VanderSloot’s case, however, that success came with a price—but only when he decided a write a check to a super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.

    “The whole free-enterprise system has been so good to me and my family, I want to protect that,” he said. “I now see that system under attack.”

    VanderSloot traveled from Idaho this week to visit The Heritage Foundation. He spoke at the weekly Bloggers Briefing and sat down afterward to share his story.

    VanderSloot said his life changed forever on April 20. That’s when President Obama’s campaign created the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era. Eight private citizens were singled out for their donations to Romney. They committed no crimes, sought no attention, and yet they became the subject of Obama’s scorn.

    VanderSloot got his first taste of the left’s tactics in February when he was the subject of hit pieces by left-wing Mother Jones and Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. Both stories surprised VanderSloot for their harsh and negative portrayal of Melaleuca, the company he has overseen for 26 years.

    “We have an excellent reputation everywhere we go,” VanderSloot said. “I don’t have a PR firm. My attitude has been, ‘If we’re worthy of a good reputation, we’ll have one.’ And that’s worked for 26 years until this comes out. And then people are saying all kinds of things about us.”

    But that backlash paled in comparison to the negative attention created by Obama’s team. The campaign website KeepingGOPHonest.com castigated the eight Romney donors as having “less-than-reputable records. Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans.”

    The resulting attention led to a loss of business for Melaleuca. Only when VanderSloot began speaking out to publicly defend his reputation and the company’s record did he begin to receive an outpouring of support.

    Conservatives, meanwhile, quickly pounced on Obama’s attack. The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper wrote, “President Obama has relied on a vast grassroots network to coerce, bully, boycott and vilify individuals lawfully taking part in the political process, just as his own donors and supporters are freely allowed to engage.”

    Kimberly Strassel wrote two subsequent columns for the Wall Street Journal and VanderSloot told his story on Fox News.

    VanderSloot said he was initially unprepared for the Obama campaign’s assault on his character. Some of the allegations—that he was “litigious, combative, and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement”—are completely false. It didn’t seem to matter.

    Now, however, he isn’t going to let anyone sully his reputation—even if it means taking the fight directly to the most powerful man in America.

    “There is no way I could afford to run for cover because it just sets a bad example,” VanderSloot said. “When you make a list of eight people, it’s like saying, ‘Just watch what we do to these guys.’ I don’t know the other seven guys. I just know for me, I can’t run for cover and I have no inclination to. This is America.”

    The interview runs about five minutes. Hosted by Rob Bluey and produced by Brandon Stewart. For more videos from Heritage, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    38 Responses to Businessman Faces Backlash After Appearing on Obama's Enemies List

    1. szzeee says:

      Unbelievable! The POTUS attacking private citizens because they have contributed to the Romney campaign. What's next?

      • Guest says:


      • Robert says:

        The President will most likely compose an enemies list compiled of honest tax-paying conservatives and independents who send protest letters opposing his initiatives, and opposing his re-election. He is going to have some very lengthy lists.

    2. Chris in N.Va. says:

      The by-now-cliched Liberal double standard is wearing evermore thin to the point of complete transparency.

      Bill Gates!! Steven Jobs!! Why, da noive, da noive I tells ya of these millionaires to have made their piles and piles of ill-gotten gains off of so many, many of the little people (willing and satisfied, often-repeat-customers, but we'll conveniently ignore that for now) is something we should soundly condemn and….what's that you say? They're fellow Liberals??

      Ahem. Let us pause to quote our patron Saint, Emily Latela — Never mind!

      We now return to our regularly-scheduled anti-Conservative diatribes.

    3. jheasler12175 says:

      This alone is enough to show obama and his friends to be the bullies that they are. If you're not afraid, you should be because speaking out against them will get you investigated, audited, or attacked by cyber bullies and other unsavory obama operatives.

    4. Woolfy says:

      Actually Szzeee, it IS believable. He is the most disgustingly, pitifull, bullying, baby-man I have ever seen…let alone someone that is in a "formerly" respected position of leadership and example to others.
      "Momma's, do the whole world a favor and please don't let your children grow up to be like Obama"!

    5. guest says:

      Obama did this at the beginning of his term (about May, 2009) when he hand-picked the auto dealers forced to close. 90% were Republican donors, and the other 10% were failing Democratic donor car dealers. Some of the Republican dealers forced to close were successful dealers, some going back 3 generations. People wonder how Obama gets his political contributions? It's better to pay the vig than to face his wrath, period.

    6. Stirling says:

      What the president and his cronies are doing to VanderSloot clearly shows that he is not for "equality" It resembles more of a (3rd world country) dictator attacking his opponents, which is beneth the office of the president.. This "petty" behavior is really inherant of those who don't understand the true meaning of "freedom" which is allowing people to think and do as they wish.

    7. Donald Eastlund says:

      Chicago politics at their very finest. If a republican had a hit list like this the left would be screaming foul play, but Obama and his gang of hoods don't care about what is right or wrong only what they want.

    8. Zeek says:

      "What's next?" indeed. Probably not an election. Look for whipped-up mobs of resentful takers rioting against the makers, incited to violence by escalating class warfare rhetoric spouted by this evil little man we elected. Then look for martial law.

    9. Steve Sturdevant says:

      Isn't this the same VanderSloot who is a member of the Romney reelection campaign?
      That hardly sounds like a private citizen.

    10. Bobbie says:

      These over zealous, high maintenance, blatantly lying, ignorant people that call themselves leaders by cheating the good of America has to create an enemies list because they're losing! Thank goodness for the strength and courage of Mr. VanderSloot who doesn't bend to the indecencies of the opposition. And thanks to all businesses that are proud to take part in America with her strong principles (once led by honorable men) where freedoms establish all lifestyles with the freedom and liberties to use our personal efforts to reach our goals without depending on thin skinned communists, socialists, fascists, marxists unAmericans, on our backs but depending on personal resources, all inspired by the strength, dignity and integrity of independent successors before us that see what this childish leader and his juvenile friends are destructively doing to this country and personal reliance/dignity. We will always do business with those that have no ties to this government take-over regime!

    11. healthnut says:

      Remember Al…the EPA guy…"We get into a town and target the first five people we found and crucify them…then, this way the others followed"

      Same thing here…crucify the first eight…then the others will fall by the way side….Pure and simple Alinsky/Gestapo tactics…We must NOT allow this…a disgrace…and that from a President of the United States of America…

    12. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Mr. VanderSloot is wrong. There has been another President of the United States who'd created an Enemies'
      List: Richard Nixon.

      • Karin says:

        That doesn't make it right…

        • MAMASAID says:

          The difference is, when the media found out about the Nixon enemies list they pounced without mercy. Obamas enemies list? No interest at all. Reported only on Fox and the blogs. Do you understand why they teach their followers to think of Fox as a bunch of right wing liars?

      • Lea says:

        Per this article-VanderSloot said his life changed forever on April 20. That’s when President Obama’s campaign created the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era

    13. Roger S. says:

      Why is Obama undeserving of any support? — Because he hasn't earned it. Support is something a president must EARN, by deeds advancing the common wealth. What has he given in 3 1/2 years? Basically the same talking points repeated ad nauseam and tailored to the prejudices of whichever group he just happened to be addressing. That's not presidential. That's not leadership. That's simply pathetic.

      But, this newest "action", his enemies' list, is utterly over the top. Going forward, he's no longer worthy even of respect, despite his high office, upon which he himself has brought calumny. Wasn't president Nixon the last "publisher" of such a list? Mr. BHO is a walking, talking, disgrace to the office he holds. He ought to suffer a similar fate to Mr. Nixon's. "High crimes and misdemeanors"? Isn't the measure just about full? Impeachment, anyone?

      Mr. Van der Sloot: Great job! Stay the course! Latinate: "Illegitimus non carborundum"! God bless!

    14. David Felsenthal says:

      I'm glad Frank Vandersloot is speaking up and not letting the President get away with this!

    15. ray morris says:

      I am doubtful Republican supporters need worry because it is extremely unlikely…..but what I would love to see is for the President to "Man up"…..admit his judgement and subsequent hurtful actions were inappropriate in the extreme and apologize to Mr. Vander Sloot and the other 7 individuals named on the so-called "enemies list" and, indeed, to the American people. This would,no doubt, create quite a stir on both sides of the aisle and think what Democratic "Spin Masters" could do with such a refreshing example of integrity……Fantasy ? Undoubtedly………But if we could all put our politics aside, shouldn't that be what all of us, as free people, should be teaching our children SHOULD happen?

    16. Michael Mc says:

      Before anyone criticizes or puts a tax paying businessman on a black list, I suggest they look in their own back yard! At least Mr. VanderSloot pays taxes on his profits. It appears his company is a privately held S Corp and he pays taxes on the profit.

    17. Linda/RN says:

      Isn't it sad that our United States COMMANDER IN CHIEF would allow even ONE of the US citizens … people he had sworm to protect… to be treated in such a manner. Thank you Mr. Vandersloot for opening MY eyes in a HUGE way, and a special thank you to all the journalists who got the TRUTH to us…. As US Citizens, we CAN NOT allow this to happen….. Who will Obama "target" next? Linda/RN

    18. Onetolove says:

      Blair: Vandersloot is correct. Although Richard Nixon had an Enemies List, those names were kept private until they were leaked. Even Nixon, along with every single other U.S. President, had enough sense to avoid publicizing his Enemies List. Only President Obama has had the audicity to publicize the list. His list is un-American and shameful.

    19. Deb says:

      We better pay attention to what our President is trying to do! Thank you Frank for standing UP for what we ALL should believe in.

    20. Mary Riendeau says:

      It is good for the public to know the kind of dirty tactics Obama is resorting to try and get re-elected.
      My personal experience with Frank VanderSloot – he is a man of his word, who has the courage of his

    21. I just can't believe what I just saw. I believe in Frank and his company and I introduce it to others everyday. I love his company and what it has done for my family. I am not rich yet from it but he gives me the opportunity to be. I have a child with Autism that is pretty severe and I really can't return to work. I left an 11 year career for him and even tried to pick up a couple part time jobs. It just doesn't seem to work. To have a man that is willing to share his profits with the American people that have the same problems as me is so wonderful. I can't that him enough and hope that one day I get to shake his hand and say thanks. The Government is not helping us. Frank even bought a baseball stadium that was closing and saved it. I can't believe the President would do that to someone.

    22. YEISON RAMIREZ says:

      He seguido su trayectoria y visto su reputación y es digno de admirar y es un ejemplo a seguir, gracias por dedicar su vida ayudar a la gente común a salir adelante en la vida.
      que Dios siga bendiciendo su vida cada dia mas para que usted tenga las fuerzas y los recursos de seguir bendiciendo a otros.

    23. Resurrecting the American Dreams in large part means placing high esteem and value on Free Enterprise. Aside from the institution of marriage, Free Enterprise is the heart and soul of America.. We should not look at successful wealthy business men and women as enemies. Remember, it's these people who employ and offer health insurance/life insurance benefits for people who need jobs! So we need more of them. Like Frank said…no country every has taxed themselves into prosperity.. I am proud to be affiliated with Frank's company since 1995.

    24. Rocky Wines says:

      It's obvious to me that so many people today especially much of our younger generation have a sense of entitlement and privilage. They feel the playing field is no longer level and the deck is stacked against them even if they work long and hard. It seems this administration is determined to foster this misguided, destructive way of thinking with continued assaults on not just free enterprise and business in general but now on specific citizens like Frank VanderSloot… a true entrapaneur and another self made American success story. I suspect VanderSloot might espouse the value in giving someone else a 'hand up' rather than a 'hand out.'

    25. rocky wines says:

      It's obvious to me that so many people today especially much of our younger generation have a sense of entitlement and privilage. They feel the playing field is no longer level and the deck is stacked against them even if they work long and hard. It seems this administration is determined to foster this misguided, destructive way of thinking with continued assaults on not just free enterprise and business in general but now on specific citizens like Frank VanderSloot. I suspect VanderSloot might espouse the value in giving someone else a 'hand up' rather than a 'hand out.'

    26. Mark Tajiri says:

      Frank VanderSloot is a highly principled man. I am personally grateful that he decided to fight for his hard earned reputation. He really is fighting for free enterprise and democracy for all of us. He is one of the most patriotic citizens that I know…

    27. Crazies says:

      This “article” is so biased it is ridiculous.

    28. I'm a LOOZER says:

      Wow! What a twist. Let's make this clear… It's not "EVIL" to become a successful person in America today. It just so happens that many successful people are just evil! Now whether Mr. VanderSloot falls under this catagory… I don't know. Though his implications in this latest, self produced, cheezy interview does not really support his arguement. Plus we all know how honest most multilevel marketeer's are… Here's 2 cents from the poor guy! Do us little crap people a favor… Continue to preach to your yes men, mainly on this board, and keep your creepy LONG ads off youtube. Thank you. 4 da rest of u… wat eeeever ;-)

      • Bobbie says:

        that's right, loozer! successful people that made their success through government and off peoples backs that are uninvolved are the evil ones! Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Harry reid, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama… get it, Loozer? Private sector takes NOTHING from you, LOOZER! it's your freedom of choice to do business with them!!! Government takes what they want whether you like it or not! GET IT, LOOZER?

    29. hereiam says:

      You don't make any sense at all. You throw out all sorts of stereotypes about rich people, specifically that "many successful people are just evil." I don't even know where to begin. Aren't most people trying to become successful? They are trying to work hard, be promoted and be the best employee or biz owner they can be. You can't correlate the two groups of people.

      Vandersloot seems like an upstanding biz leader to me (I watched his 30-minute presentation and heard his rags-to-riches story). He wasn't handed anything, and he grew up with nothing. So, when does the hardworking farm kid in poverty become the evil man – when he's grown his company? We need more people like him who have risen to the top out of nothing, learned how to work and who get involved with politics. I'll trust that type of famer/rancher over you any day.

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