Cusack for President Circa 2001

The website was not endorsed by the actor John Cusack. This was a draft, volunteer campaign designed to promote community service.
Content is from the site's 2001 - 2002 archived pages.


Like Lloyd Dobler said in 'Say Anything': "I'm looking for a dare-to-be-great-situation."

Here is your chance to be great in your own community. Give something back in the name of 'John Cusack for President'. We can't think of a better way to prove that we're serious. Ready for action?

It's Time To Get On Up!

Ready for your own "dare-to-be-great" situation? Some of your fellow Cusackians have already made a mark throughout the country over the holiday season (visit the community service gallery for a look at what folks are doing.

Now it's your turn. We are calling all willing campaign leaders to get up and get a little busy. A huge part of the Cusack for President campaign is about getting out and into the community and spreading the gospel of CFP!

How's It Work?

Here's the new system gang. Think Mary Kay without the pink cadillacs - and without a Mary Kay... :)

Be a Block Captain: You take a community service pledge to do ten hours of service for any group you want between now and December 15, 2002. Then you tell us what you did and maybe, just maybe, you win fabulous prizes.

Create a Cusack Chapter: Organize a group of folks to get busy - in your community, on your campus, in your neighborhood or at your place of reflection.

Or Simply Wear The Colors: Sign up for action alerts. Stay alert. Do stuff when you can. And buy stuff from our gear store - cuz the money goes to good causes. Read past action alerts

And check out what Cusack volunteers have already been up to in the Community Service Gallery.

Ongoing Community Service

There's a lot of folks who still need your help in New York and Washington.



So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya…

The word has come down from the Big Guy that he wishes that this campaign would stop —and we must respect these wishes.

So folks, as they say, that's a wrap.

Lots to Be Proud Of…

The Cusack campaign started in August, 2001 as the first “billboard campaign” at Junction-City.Com – a hub for progressive culture and politics.

A testament to the appeal of actor John Cusack—and the absence of real leadership at the top –the campaign generated a lot of press and better yet, community service activity on over 170 campuses. The winner of this year’s volunteer prize for the best community service project. A new Patagonia jacket to: Mike Gillette, University of Oregon, for his leadership with the University of Oregon’s beach clean up efforts.

The hottest items: Cusack for President t-shirts. T-shirt profits raised over $11,000 for these good causes:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Schoolhouse Foundation
Public Campaign
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition


The best press: Making Harper’s Index and The Associated Press

What’s Next?

So is there life after this campaign? Well folks, that’s up to you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Stay in Touch. Sign up for the Daily Feed at Junction-City, where the Cusack campaign all began.
  • Help register voters and support Rock the Vote. They need street team leaders
  • Keep up the community service efforts via or another local group in your area.
  • Look for love and activism at
  • Want to run John’s sister? Learn how to elect Joan Cusack or another qualified woman in 2008 by visiting
  • Still want another actor candidate? Well, gotta say we like what John’s old pal Tim Robbins has to say lately. Check out his speech to the National Press Club.

Still Can’t Let Go?

Drop us a line. We’re here to help.


Community Service Gallery

Cusack Campaign chapter leaders are helping their communities even as they work to get 100,000 Americans to stand up and say, "run, John, run."

Want to get involved in community service and organize your own Cusack chapter?
New York Cares for Cusack
After years of making excuses (i.e. "I'm too busy, too poor or too shy" to volunteer), Amelia decided the Cusack Campaign was just the boost she needed. She got into the swing of things by volunteering at New York Cares, an umbrella organization for a wide variety of volunteer activities in the NYC area. In her first day as a volunteer, Amelia not only had fun taking some disadvantaged children ice-skating at Wollman Rink, (a scene central to Cusack's latest movie, Serendipity) but she learned a lot too. "I watched as my new 12-year-old friend four times lent a helping hand to strangers who had fallen on the ice... and it was her first day on skates herself!"

Amelia sees community service as an opportunity for average folk to convince Mr. Cusack to run for the presidency by becoming such a superforce of goodwill that he will be proud to take part.



Cats for Cusack
Erika is a second-year veterinary student at the University of Florida in Gainesville and she believes it is her duty to preserve all life, as well as to improve both health and quality of life while doing so. That is why she volunteers with Operation Catnip, a non-profit organization dedicated to the spay-and-neuter of feral cats in north central Florida. This program not only prevents thousands of unwanted births of feral cats in the community each year, but also creates a healthier feline community by preventing the spread of feline diseases such as FeLV and FIV. Operation Catnip is an important volunteer organization, not only for the cats, but also for the human community, for it lessens the burden of having to feed them, decreases the chance for zoonotic disease spread, and decreases the taxpayers' cost of over 8,000 forced euthanasias each year at the local animal shelter.


In the following photos, in her role of Anesthesia Technician, Erika administers an anesthetic agent to a feral cat who will be prepped and taken to surgery.


Amazing Grace
Ryan is the chapter leader at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York and he and his band, Amazing Plaid, are shown here playing at a charity concert at The State University of New York at Albany, to help raise money for victims of the September 11th attacks.



Volunteers in Vermont
Catherine has been a longtime volunteer at her local schools in northern Vermont. For many years, she headed the Reading Is Fundamental project for one school in Enosburg Falls. She's also involved in a volunteer-based teaching project in the school called ELF (Environmental Learning for the Future) and every month teaches a program focusing on a certain aspect of environment and wildlife. In addition, Catherine directs elementary school drama productions and sings at her local opera house.

Of the Cusack for President campaign, Catherine says, "I believe this campaign is going in a wonderful direction and am glad I can be part of it. Here in Vermont we are very community-oriented, as small towns can be, and I know the Cusack campaign will be an impetus for more community work."

Worth A Thousand Words
Bianca teaches American Sign Language to the parents of deaf children and thus is helping improve communication, not only between parents and children but in the community at large.

Community Spirit
Improving community relations is part of what the Cusack for President campaign is all about. Kudos to each of the above chapter leaders for their leadership qualities -- and for showing us all how easy and satisfying it is to help people, animals, and the environment.





The University of Oregon chapter of Cusack for Prez drove out to Florence in September to help out in the statewide beach clean up. Like a team of Cusacks out of “The Sure Thing”, we headed for the West Coast, cleaning the coast all morning, and retiring for salmon fingers at lunch. Here we are, flying the colors!




The Latest News Article

Students Pitch Cusack For Prez

No one votes less than college-age people -- only one-third of all 18- to 25-year-olds voted in the 2000 presidential election.

Perhaps the issue is options. Maybe students want a better candidate, one concerned with their concerns. One with guts. One who would stand out in the rain. "If Ronald Reagan can be president," said John Cusack for President founder Dan Carol, "why not a good actor?"

In fact, "Why Not?" is the official slogan for the grassroots effort to draft actor John Cusack to run for president. The fledgling campaign is supported through the Internet and by makeshift campaign offices on 127 college campuses, including Yale University and the University of New Haven.

"We've got more grassroots support for John Cusack than Joe Lieberman has for president," jokes the founder.

The organization is part fan club, part activist group focused on community service. It sells T-shirts with a silhouette from the movie "Say Anything" -- it's Cusack holding a boom box over his head.

The Cusack group is part of a nonprofit organization known as Junction City that seeks to engage people in politics through humor. They chose Cusack in an effort to find someone who identified with their self-described "liberal progressive politics."

"He made the tough decisions in 'Grosse Pointe Blank.' He couldn't be bought in 'Eight Men Out.' He's cooler than John Malkovich. And we like his politics so far," touts the website

Cusack, boyishly charming for a 36-year-old, has not responded to the movement publicly. This detail does not bother the campaign managers, because they see the program as a volunteer campaign designed to promote community service. A small disclaimer affirms that Cusack for president is not endorsed by the actor.

Anyone can join, becoming a block captain or a campus chapter leader, as long as they have both a first and last name and take the pledge online: "I pledge to have fun, recruit Cusack supporters, and complete 10 hours of community service work between now and Labor Day 2002."

Megan Nogasky of Greensburg, Pa., and her roommate signed up to coordinate a chapter at Yale, where she is junior. "It was more for fun than anything else," she said.
Nogasky is one of four coordinators of the Yale chapter of the America Reads program, which enlists college students to tutor second- to fourth-graders in New Haven in reading. Like many supporters, she found the site by looking up Cusack on the Internet after watching one of his movies.

Other chapters have held concerts to raise money for Sept 11 victims. "C4P" at the veterinary school at the University of Florida committed time with Operation Catnip, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spaying cats in north-central Florida.

Carol is a veteran of the Clinton campaign in 1992, when he was a research director for the Democratic Party. By then he had also been involved in a T-shirt campaign that accused the elder President Bush of spending too much time on foreign policy. It said, "George Bush Went to Rome, and All I Got Was This Lousy Recession." The back of the shirt featured two dozen of Bush's state visits, listing them as though it were a rock band tour shirt. The shirts called it the "Anywhere But Here Tour."

The group's entire revenue comes from the online sale of $25 college friendly "Action Packs," which include a T-shirt, bumper sticker and a Frisbee.

Top slogans include: "John Cusack for President: He'll Stand Out in the Rain for You!"

Since the launch in February, the site has had more than 120,000 visitors.
"Half of the country doesn't vote or care about politics," said Carol. "But if you can crack a smile on their face, you can get them interested."

The campaign has donated more than $6,000 to Public Campaign, a nonprofit group that supports "smart state and federal campaign finance reform."

Other past beneficiaries include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a champion of civil liberties and privacy protection online.

Currently, all donations go to the School House Foundation, a nonprofit group in New York City that provides funding and organization to build new schools.

"John [Cusack] has been on our board of directors since day one," said the group's executive director, Samara Rifkin. "We can reach him on a moment's notice, and he is always very helpful.

"If Cusack were a candidate, his positions could be gleaned from the following press reports:

  • Hate crimes: He and Stevie Wonder agreed they "could never vote for a man who was opposed to signing a hate crimes bill like George W. Bush did in Texas after the dragging death of James Byrd Jr." (11/4/00, Chicago Defender, an alternative weekly)
  • Gun control: "I think the [National Rifle Association] has got a stranglehold on this country, and it's horrible. Assault rifles on the street and all this about the right to bear arms. You can go hunting -- you don't have to go hunting with an AK-47. It's just filling the pockets with graft." (E! Online Q&A;)
  • Affirmative action: Cusack said he didn't want a president who didn't know the difference between affirmative action and affirmative access. (11/4/00, Chicago Defender)
  • Violence in movies: "I think it's interesting that the people who attack Hollywood for being violent never seem to attack Arnold [Schwarzenegger] or Bruce [Willis], the right-wing guys. They always tend to attack Oliver Stone, as if he's the only one who has made violent films. Mostly he's made films about politics." (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 4/16/00)



The Latest Press Release

"Cusack for President" Campaign Signs up 5,000th Block Captain; Ramps up Effort to Promote "Community Service That's Kinda Fun"

Arianna Huffington: "A Joke With A Potent Punch-line"

Washington, D.C.) - Cusack for President, a grassroots effort to draft actor John Cusack as a candidate for president, today celebrated the enlistment of its 5,000th block captain, making it bigger than any presidential campaign for a declared candidate. The campaign also announced a stepped-up effort to channel existing and future activist energy into "community service that's kinda fun."

"America needs a sure thing, and we're looking forward to marching with John Cusack to Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond," said Dan Carol, principal of political consultancy CTSG ( and campaign manager of the Cusack effort. "But in the meantime, while Mr. Cusack decides whether to throw his hat into the ring, we're going to start making changes from the ground up - and we'll be doing it through community service activities that are good for our country, and fun for our volunteers at the same time."

Since launching last year, the campaign has already channeled its ever-growing base of activists into a range of community service activities, including "New York Cares," "Cats for Cusack," and "Amazing Grace," a charity event for the victims of September 11th. The common thread of these activities has been - "do good, while having a great time." learn about these and other examples). To spur further efforts, the campaign has launched a community service "get busy" online center, and is offering "Cusack Action Packs" to inspire its volunteers. In addition, $6,000 in profits from campaign t-shirt sales have been donated to the cause of campaign finance reform. Another $2,500 came from a successful promotional stunt by the anonymous owner of a Manhattan rug cleaners service that donated proceeds from their online sweepstakes to promote community service in the Big Apple with a hilarious series of fund raisers aimed at tourists in Times Square. A number of us later used their rug cleaning services. One of my colleagues was especially impressed by that Agara specializes in cleaning Antique Oriental, Pakistani, Afghan, Chinese,Persian, Indian, Turkish, handmade rugs. He had several antique Oriental rugs repaired after being cleaned. He said the rugs looked like new which might have been a slight exaggeration considering they were over 100 years old- family heirlooms. Yet when I actually saw the rugs at his home they looked amazingly great. Hats off to Agara rug cleaners!

Notes columnist and political analyst Arianna Huffington: "Cusack for President is a joke with a potent punch-line. It's a fun, cool way for young people to connect to community service and make a difference." Cusack for President. Seriously.

"There's something about John Cusack that people just love," said Carol. "Call it the 'Dobler Effect,' but people are rallying behind him. And they've seen his leadership characteristics: After all, he made the tough decisions in 'Grosse Pointe Blank' and he couldn't be bought in 'Eight Men Out.'"

With over 5,000 volunteer block captains signed up and Cusack chapter leaders now located on more than 100 campuses, the Cusack for President campaign now has the greatest geographic organizing reach of any of the major presidential contenders. The campaign also estimates that over 75 million people have already paid to see films starring John Cusack - more people than voted for George Bush, Tom Daschle, and Dick Gephardt combined in the last election.

About Cusack for President

Cusack for President is a grassroots effort to draft actor John Cusack as a candidate for president, and to reshape the definition of "community service" in the meantime. With thousands of block captains already recruited from across the nation, the campaign already has more volunteers than any of the major potential candidates. While waiting for Cusack to accept the mantle and declare his candidacy, the effort is parlaying its growing activist energy into grassroots service activities across the nation.

Gaining Momentum

Things are taking off -- the Cusack for President campaign has been featured in publications from as far away as Australia and Iceland, in print by the LA Times, the New York Times, and E!Online, and on BBC radio in England. More importantly, more than 4800 folks (!) have stepped up, raised their hands and said they are ready to organize in their neighborhood - if and when the call comes. Thank you.


The campaign was recently featured in the November issue of On Magazine and in October's Entertainment Weekly.

Read Press Clips

"Ronald Reagan did it, Warren Beatty thought about doing it, so why not John Cusack for president?" -- New York Times

"Stumped for a candidate? How about Cusack for Prez?" -- USA Today

"Citing his stand against corruption in "Eight Men Out," his tough decisions in "Grosse Point Blanke," and the fact that he's, well, "America's Sweetheart," the Cusack campaign has taken off like a grassfire in the Hollywood hills. So far, over 3500 block captains have signed up at the campaign's electronic headquarters,, and the little-campaign-that-could has been covered everywhere from the NY Times to the BBC." --

"Cusack turned 35 on June 28, so he's eligible to run. We don't know how he feels about a future in politics, but he has not had anything good to say about the Bush administration."


Press Clippings Archive

"And the [Cusack for President Campaign's] slogan? How about a riff on a classic Cusackian line: "He's looking for a dare-to-be-great situation."" -- EOnline.

"Cusack White House Campaign Gathers Momentum on Web" -- Yahoo! News

"Some 200 people have volunteered to assist in the Cusack for President campaign since the idea was put forth on the internet in April [2001] ..." -- BBC News

John Cusack challenges Bush? John Cusack has played his share of characters with strong opinions in movies like Say Anything and High Fidelity. Maybe that's why one political consultant is trying to encourage Cusack to consider a run for president.

"About 1,700 people, via a "Cusack for President" link, have thrown their support toward a future Cusack presidential ticket. According to Carol, that's "way more than Joe Lieberman!" -- Chicago Sun-Times

Some actors get nominated for Oscars. John Cusack has a small but scrappy group of supporters who think he should be nominated for something else -- president of the United States." -- The Oregonian

Additional clippings found in:
The National Journal
The Edmonton Sun
San Antonio Express-News  
The Houston Chronicle
The Ottawa Sun
St. Louis Dispatch
The Hotline
The Seattle Times The Columbus Dispatch
The International Herald Tribune
Scripps Howard News Service
The Spokesman-Review
The Miami Herald
Buffalo News
The Toronto Star