In a surprise announcement Thursday while in Hong Kong at Forbes magazine's annual Global CEO Conference, Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone, a self-proclaimed "liberal Democrat", expressed his intent to support President George W. Bush in the upcoming election, according the Asian Wall Street Journal.
The shocker comes on the heels of the Dan Rather-60 Minutes Memogate fiasco and Viacom's recent indecency troubles with the FCC.
Explaining his political shift, Redstone told executives at the conference that he looks at the election from what's good for Viacom. "I vote for what's good for Viacom. I vote, today, Viacom."
"I don't want to denigrate Kerry," he continued, "but from a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are not bad people. But from a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."
Redstone's Bush-backing comes as a surprise to most who remember Redstone as co-chairman of Edmund Muskie's presidential campaign in 1972, and a close friend of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. In Monday's New York Sun, the paper quoted the Federal Election Commission, saying that Redstone had donated a total $50,000 to the Democratic Party since 1998, and had also donated the maximum $2,000 to the John Kerry presidential campaign, after supporting Al Gore in 2000.