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Patrick Davis explains independent expenditures in Iowa to support Mike Huckabee

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
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HH: I’m joined now by one of my good friends in the Rocky Mountain state, Patrick Davis. He is one of the country’s preeminent political consultants. He’s done more campaigns than I can remember. He usually wins. He’s extraordinarily talented. And for you Huckabee people out there, he loves Mike Huckabee. So since the Governor won’t come on the program, is doing the big Huck Duck, I thought we’d go find Patrick. Patrick, welcome to the program.

PD: Thanks, Hugh, good afternoon, nice to talk to you again, my friend.

HH: Good to chat with you. Now Patrick, you are not working for Mike Huckabee. I want to make that clear, because that would be against the law. You’re running an independent expenditure committee on his behalf, correct?

PD: That’s correct. We have endorsed Mike Huckabee. The organization is called Common Sense Issues. You can visit our website at www.trusthuckabee.com. That’s TrustHuckabee.com.

HH: TrustHuckabee.com. And people can give unlimited amounts of money to you, right? That if they want to help Huckabee and they’ve maxed out, they can give you money?

PD: They could. People can give unlimited amounts of individual money to Common Sense Issues.

HH: Is Common Sense Issues A 527, Patrick?

PD: No, Common Sense Issues is a 501c4 qualified non-profit.

HH: Okay. And that allows you to participate in campaigns, though?

PD: It allows us to participate in campaigns. Of course, we have to, if we’re going to spend independent expenditure dollars, we do have to report those dollars to the Federal Election Commission, and we have.

HH: And you have no connection with the Huckabee campaign?

PD: None at all. We are completely independent from the Huckabee For President campaign.

HH: Now I said, I was rapping on Patrick’s knuckles yesterday, and was glad to have him today, because the allegation’s out there he’s doing some push polling in Iowa about the Governor, and contrary to Rudy Giuliani, et cetera. Patrick, what’s your side of the story?

PD: My side of the story is that these are not, in your words, push polls. We call them personalized educational artificial intelligence calls, because it’s voice recognition technology. These calls are a two-way communication between the voice recognition technology and the person on the other end of the line, unlike push polling that is a one-way communication. During the call, and I offered, I don’t know if you got the offer, but you were offered an opportunity to hear one of these calls, Hugh. If you still want to do it…

HH: I did not get that. I would love to.

PD: If you still want to do it, you can do it after the call. That’s fine.

HH: Great.

PD: But during the call, a participant has a two-way dialogue with this artificial intelligence technology, to answer simple yes or no questions, which leads them through the script. Everybody’s experience with this technology is going to be different. By responding to questions asked by the technology, participants then determine how the issues are discussed. This technology allows the citizens, individuals all over Iowa, to learn more about important issues. And our whole goal here is to determine the issues that are important to the people in Iowa.

HH: Does the voice recognition program include statements about candidates other than Huckabee? For example, Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice?

PD: It does, yes.

HH: What kind of statements does it make about Rudy?

PD: It says, it talks about Rudy’s record, and comparing it to where Mike Huckabee’s record is on some common sense conservative issues like abortion, traditional marriage.

HH: What does it say about Rudy on marriage?

PD: It talks about the fact that he opposes a federal traditional marriage amendment.

HH: Does it call him pro-gay or anything like that?

PD: I don’t know the answer to that. I’ll check the script, but I don’t know the answer to that off-hand.

HH: What kind of statements does it make about Romney in particular? Does it ever mention the word Mormon or Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

PD: No. That’s not our style. We do not talk about a person’s religion in these calls. There’s…some calls were made a week or so ago that were reported in the press about people making calls about Mitt Romney’s religion. That’s not our style.

HH: You had nothing to do with those calls?

PD: We had nothing to do with those calls. Our calls started in Iowa on Sunday night.

HH: How big of a buy did you make?

PD: Well, I’ll tell you, we called Democrats, Republicans and independents all over Iowa. As of today, we have identified tens of thousands of Iowans on issues, and where they stand with the candidates for president. You know, a quarter of what we do with these calls is just collecting the date. Three quarters of what we do with this data is how we use it, and what we’re going to do with it, which is to turn pro-Huckabee supporters out to the Caucuses on January 3rd.

HH: Now is it fair to say, Patrick Davis, that negative information is in these calls about the other candidates other than Huckabee?

PD: Well, I think that’s in the eyes of the beholder.

HH: But it would be fair to characterize it that way, wouldn’t it?

PD: Yeah. If you’re a passionate supporter of some of Mike Huckabee’s opponents, you may not like hearing these facts that we’re presenting.

HH: Okay, that’s what I want to focus in on. What facts are you presenting about Rudy?

PD: We are presenting the fact that he walked in the gay rights parade in New York City, that he opposes a federal marriage amendment.

HH: Okay, what negative facts are you putting out about Ron Paul?

PD: None.

HH: You don’t give Ron Paul the time of day on your calls?

PD: Yes, that’s true.

HH: What negative facts are coming out about Romney?

PD: We compare Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee on just being inconsistent. Let me put it this way, we make the comparison that Mike Huckabee is the only consistent conservative in this campaign, as compared to all of his opponents, including Mitt Romney.

HH: Do you call Mitt Romney a flip-flopper?

PD: No. Well, no, we don’t call, we don’t use that term.

HH: That’s what I was wondering, because it’s really all about what facts you use. Factual assertions, I don’t know if I could call it negative campaigning, but it is going negative, and Huckabee has asked you to stop. Have you stopped?

PD: We have not stopped, and in fact, because we are completely independent of the Huckabee For President campaign, that includes directing our actions.

HH: Okay, and are you doing this in New Hampshire as well?

PD: We may.

HH: Have you made any other purchases, or any other investments in states other than Iowa?

PD: No, we haven’t yet, but we’re really only into this since Thursday of last week. We put up our website last Thursday.

HH: How much have you raised?

PD: Well, we reported to the Federal Election Commission that we’ve spent independent expenditures of nearly $40,000 dollars.

HH: Okay, forty grand. And will you tell our audience how much you have on hand that you’re prepared to spend between now and the Caucuses?

PD: No.

HH: (laughing) Patrick, why not?

PD: Well, it’s one of the beauties of being a 501c4.

HH: Do you have to disclose to where your funding comes from?

PD: We do not have…unless we spend that money in an independent way, like we are in independent expenditure in FEC speeches, vote for/vote against, expressly advocating for a person’s election or a defeat. And we have already filed with the Federal Election Commission.

HH: Who’s your biggest donor?

PD: Well, it was filed. His name is Mark West.

HH: And what’s Mr. West’s….oh, we’re out of time. Patrick Davis, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you in person. It’s been fun on the radio. I appreciate your candor, and I appreciate your coming on. It’s TrustHuckabee.com.

End of interview.

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