From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/us/politics/05barton.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=David%20Barton&st=cse
By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: May 4, 2011
ALEDO, Tex. — In an unmarked office building in this ranching town, among thousands of Revolution-era documents and two muskets with bayonets, David Barton might seem like a quirky history buff. But the true ambition of this slender man in cowboy boots is to use America’s past to remake its future, and he has the ear of several would-be presidents.
Mr. Barton is a self-taught historian who is described by several conservative presidential aspirants as a valued adviser and a source of historical and biblical justification for their policies. He is so popular that evangelical pastors travel across states to hear his rapid-fire presentations on how the United States was founded as a Christian nation and is on the road to ruin, thanks to secularists and the Supreme Court, or on the lost political power of the clergy.
Through two decades of prolific, if disputed, research and some 400 speeches a year on what he calls the forgotten Christian roots of America, Mr. Barton, 57, a former school principal and an ordained minister, has steadily built a reputation as a guiding spirit of the religious right. Keeping an exhaustive schedule, he is also immersed in the nuts and bolts of politics and maintains a network of 700 anti-abortion state legislators.
Many historians call his research flawed, but Mr. Barton’s influence appears to be greater than ever. Liberal organizations are raising the alarm over what they say are Mr. Barton’s dangerous distortions, including his claim that the nation’s founders never intended a high wall between church and state.
“I’ve met with several of the potential candidates this time, always at their call,” Mr. Barton said of the Republican presidential hopefuls. They usually seek specific advice, he said: whom to hire or contact in a particular state, how best to phrase a sensitive point.
And they are apt to get their policy recommendations with his special twist. “I keep being amazed at how much the founders wrote about issues that we’re dealing with today,” Mr. Barton said in his library the other day, in this small town west of Fort Worth. “Can you believe it, James Madison opposed a bailout and stimulus plan in 1792!” he said, pointing out a Congressional debate over subsidies for the codfish industry.
Among the possible Republican presidential candidates who seek his advice are Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Representative Michele Bachmann.