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Another Huckabee Gaffe!A Second Romney Ad Hitting McCain On Immigration

Saturday, December 29, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Lester Holt asked Governor Huckabee about border security and Pakisitan this morning. The former Arkansas governor’s reply included the wrong assertion that Benazir Bhutto had been running for president of Pakistan when she was assassinated:

HOLT: Governor, are you saying the main reason for a border fence is to keep out Pakistani terrorists and not illegal Mexicans?

HUCKABEE: No, not at all. And if the context of my statement would be completely examined, I said, “How does this affect people in Iowa today?” Because sometimes people look at the assassination of Prime Minister Bhutto and they say, “How does this affect me?” The fact that the former Prime Minister and Presidential candidate was assassinated in Pakistan, it does touch the world. I was simply drawing a line to say that there are no ways we can isolate these world events from our own lives. And the fact that violence in Pakistan, a very unstable situation there, does have an effect upon us here in America. that’s exactly what I was bringing home. And that point is quite valid.

A third consecutive day of foreign policy pratfalls isn’t a way of locking down a base vote in a time of international crisis.

Keeping the pressure on the increasingly angry sounding McCain campaign, Team Romney released another ad on the Arizona senator’s record on illegal immigration.

The Romney camp also released two e-mails on McCain.

The first –originaly posted this morning but which I tookdown because of its code’s impact on the site– read:

Campaign Launches Negative Personal Attack
To Avoid Addressing Substantive Issues

“Senator McCain has a troubling history of neglecting substantive issues and getting personal in his attacks against those who happen to disagree with him. It’s the McCain way.”-Romney Spokesman Kevin Madden

Sen. McCain Cannot Explain His Positions, And So He Launches Negative Personal Attacks:

Sen. McCain Can’t Address Criticism Of His Tax And Immigration Policies Because He “Has No Good Response.” “Both responses by McCain have this in common — they fail entirely to address the substance of Romney’s criticism. The reason, of course, is that McCain has no good response. He did oppose tax cuts, support for which does lie at the essence of Reagan conservatism. Similarly, he did support comprehensive immigration reform and his line on that support now is a grudging acknowledgement that the American people (though not necessarily McCain) want border security first.” (Paul Mirengoff, “Romney’s Point,” Power Line Blog,, Posted 12/27/07)

Sen. McCain Complains That Discussing Policy Positions Is “Attacking.” SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “If there’s any doubt that we’re doing well, it’s when Mitt Romney starts attacking.” (National Review Online, Posted 12/28/07)

And Now, Sen. McCain Has Launched A Negative Personal Attack On Gov. Romney. “‘I begin the ad by indicating he’s an honorable man,’ Mr. Romney said. ‘I believe he is a good person. I make no attacks on his character, no attacks of a personal nature whatsoever. I’ve just seen the text of his ad. It’s obviously of a very different nature. It’s an attack ad. It attacks me personally. It’s nasty. It’s mean-spirited. Frankly, it tells you more about Senator McCain than it does about me that he’d run an ad like that.'” (Marc Santora, “McCain Ad: Right Back At Ya, Mitt,” The New York Times‘ Caucus Blog,, Posted 12/28/07)

Launching Negative Personal Attacks Is The McCain Way-As Seen In The 2000 Campaign:

In 2000, Sen. McCain Ran An Attack Ad Comparing Then-Gov. Bush To Bill Clinton. SEN. MCCAIN: “I guess it was bound to happen. Governor Bush’s campaign is getting desperate, with a negative ad about me. The fact is, I’ll use the surplus money to fix Social Security, cut your taxes and pay down the debt. Governor Bush uses all of the surplus for tax cuts, with not one new penny for Social Security or the debt. His ad twists the truth like Clinton. We’re all pretty tired of that. As president, I’ll be conservative and always tell you the truth. No matter what.” (McCain 2000, Campaign Ad, 2/9/00)

To watch the 2000 campaign ad, click here:

Gov. Romney: McCain’s Latest Attack Is Reminiscent Of The 2000 Campaign. “‘It’s reminiscent of what he did against George W. Bush in 2000, which as you recall, he accused President Bush of twisting the truth like Bill Clinton,’ he said. ‘Again, this is the kind of nasty, personal attack, which really doesn’t have a place in this process.'” (Marc Santora, “McCain Ad: Right Back At Ya, Mitt,” The New York Times‘ Caucus Blog,, Posted 12/28/07)

These, On The Other Hand, Are Substantive Facts-Not Negative Personal Attacks:

FACT: In 2001, McCain Was One Of Only Two Republicans To Vote Against The $1.35 Trillion Bush Tax Cut. The bill lowered marginal rates, eliminated the marriage penalty, and doubled the child tax credit. (H.R. 1836, CQ Vote #170: Adopted 58-33: R 46-2; D 12-31; I 0-0, 5/26/01, McCain Voted Nay)

FACT: In 2003, McCain Was One Of Only Three Republicans To Twice Vote Against The $350 Billion Bush Tax Cut. The comprehensive bill lowered taxes by $350 billion over 11 years-including increasing the child tax credit and eliminated the marriage penalty. (H.R. 2, CQ Vote #179: Passed 51-49: R 48-3; D 3-45; I 0-1, 5/15/03, McCain Voted Nay; H.R. 2, CQ Vote #196: Adopted 50-50: R 48-3; D 2-46; I 0-1, 5/23/03, McCain Voted Nay)

FACT: In 2002, McCain Was One Of Only Two Republicans To Twice Vote Against Permanent Repeal Of The Death Tax. (S. 1731, CQ Vote #28: Adopted 56-42: R 45-2; D 11-39; I 0-1, 2/13/02, McCain Voted Nay, H.R. 8, CQ Vote #151: Motion Rejected 54-44: R 45-2; D 9-41; I 0-1, 6/12/02, McCain Voted Nay)

FACT: McCain Sponsored An Immigration Plan To Allow 11 Million Illegals To Remain In The U.S. “The McCain plan — which is being put forward in the U.S. House by Arizona GOP Congressmen Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe — allows the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. to stay in the country if they apply for legal status and pay a $2,000 fine.” (Mike Sunnucks, “Napolitano, Hayworth Criticize Bush On Illegal Immigration,” The Phoenix Business Journal, 2/1/06)

  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Called The McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill “Amnesty.” “[McCain] has also teamed up with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.), a liberal Democrat, on an immigration bill that many conservatives despise. ‘It would have legalized and provided a path for citizenship, which is amnesty, for 66.1 million people,’ said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has called Kennedy and McCain ‘amnesty mercenaries.'” (Michael D. Shear, “McCain Fighting To Recapture Maverick Spirit Of 2000 Bid,” The Washington Post, 3/15/07)
  • Manchester Union Leader Editorial: McCain-Kennedy Proposal “Would Encourage Border Jumping.” “Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy have a bill that, surprise, includes a generous guest worker program that would encourage border jumping. Illegals who register would have to pay a fine and taxes, but they would get to stay here and apply for permanent residency. That sure beats waiting at the border and hoping to be let in.” (Editorial, “Turnstile Security,” The [Manchester, NH] Union Leader, 3/27

The second, blasting McCain for an appearance on Hannity & Colmes where McCain asserts he’d vote again against the Bush tax cuts, reads:


“‘The Bush tax cuts were a driving force behind the economic prosperity of the last couple of years and a cornerstone of a pro-growth philosophy,’ said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. ‘Not only did Senator McCain oppose these cuts, he aligned himself with the likes of Ted Kennedy in his rhetorical attacks in 2001 and 2003. Four years later, American taxpayers still have not heard the Senator disavow his misguided statements and votes.'” (“John McCain’s Record on Economic Issues,” The Club For Growth, 3/12/07)

Watch Sen. McCain says he’d still vote against the Bush tax cuts:

Sen. McCain Says It Was NOT A Mistake To Vote Against The Bush Tax Cuts…

NATIONAL REVIEW‘S RICH LOWRY: “Senator, things are really heating up on the campaign trail. If you don’t mind, I want to ask you a domestic policy question, a straight talk question, if you will. In retrospect, was it a mistake for you to vote against the Bush tax cuts?” SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “No, because I had significant tax cuts, and there was restraint of spending included in my proposal.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 12/28/07)

…But Now Says The Tax Cuts Need To Be Made Permanent…

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “So these tax cuts need to be made permanent. Otherwise, they would have the effect of tax increases.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 12/28/07)

…Yet Given The Chance To Do It Over Again, Sen. McCain Would Still Vote AGAINST The Bush Tax Cuts:

RICH LOWRY: “Senator, specifically on tax cuts, even those these tax cuts help the economy grow, the deficit, which you were concerned about at the time, has actually gone down. So if you had it to do over again, you still would still vote against the Bush tax cuts?” SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “Well, actually the deficit is still significant, but spending is out of control. …” RICH LOWRY: “But you’re saying you stick by your vote. It was the right thing to vote against the Bush tax cut?” SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “Yes, Rich, perhaps I’m speaking in a different language to you…” RICH LOWRY: “I’m persistent, if nothing else.” SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “…as part of those tax cuts. As a part, I would have restrained spending. And if we would had restrained spending, as we should have, as part of that package, then we would be talking about further tax cuts today. And I want to add, these tax cuts must be made permanent. They must be made permanent.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 12/28/07)

New Hampshire’s independent voters may want McCain-Kennedy-style immigration “reform,” and they resent the Bush tax cuts.

But New Hampshire’s Republican voters are not that out of step with the party’s center.

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