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Starbucks CEO Plans Nonpartisan Political Town Hall With 'No Labels' Group -- But Are We Sure About That?


"I feel a personal responsibility to create a public dialogue and make a voice for people who feel like they can't be heard."

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will be hosting a national town hall on Tuesday. (AP File Photo)

It started last month when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz called on other CEOs to halt contributions to U.S. political campaigns until the nation's leaders become financially disciplined and stop their political wrangling.

Now, he said he wants to give a voice to all citizens by holding a national telephone forum on Tuesday, to be hosted by nonpartisan group No Labels.

No Labels formed late last year to provide a voice for the country's moderate, independent voters and to try to find nonpartisan solutions to the country's problems.

But some have questioned whether the organization is not just another liberal group masquerading behind its well-intentioned "No Labels" name. For one thing, its list of prominent members certainly trends Democratic, and several of its main Republicans are no longer in office.

Rush Limbaugh blasted the group shortly after they launched last year:

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Combined with Schultz's own avowed liberal politics and his more than $115,000 in past donations to Democrats, it stands to reason whether this forum -- the same week as the GOP debate and president's jobs speech -- could have an agenda of its own after all, even with careful statements to the contrary.

Schultz talked about his concerns to Fox News last week:

Schultz is running ads in the New York Times and USA Today ahead of the event, featuring an open letter that urges Americans to participate in the forum and insist politicians end their hyper-partisan behavior.

"We must send the message to today's elected officials...that the time to put citizenship ahead of partisanship is now," he said in the letter.

Here is how the group is advertising the event on their web site:

Schultz said he was moved to hold the forum after receiving hundreds of e-mails and letters from citizens who were struggling to find jobs, keep their homes or send their children to school given the economic conditions.

"It looks like we struck a nerve with so many people," Schultz told the Associated Press. "I feel a personal responsibility to create a public dialogue and make a voice for people who feel like they can't be heard."

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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