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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Romney, Kyl, Cillizza, and The Archbishop of Canterbury

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Romney was swinging hard at Rudy on today’s show, and the transcript is posted here, and the audio will be here later tonight.  The mayor will be on tomorrow. With the first absentee ballots being cast in new Hampshire on December 10, don’t expect anything but punch-counter-punch from here on out.  Key graphs of the Romney interview:

HH: Okay, this judge issue, Mitt Romney, is it going to plague you in New Hampshire, is it going to hurt you in Iowa? 

MR: You know, there’ll be an attempt by some to suggest that all of the judges that someone appoints or votes for are somehow, that their decisions are somehow your responsibility. I just don’t think that’s the case. If you select somebody who is a known liberal, and they do liberal things, why, that’s maybe a different matter. But you have people in the United States Senate that voted for Ruth Bader Ginsberg that would certainly not want to be responsible for all of her decisions. And I don’t think it rises to that kind of level. And frankly, it was Mayor Giuliani who tried to do that. And of all the people who might have raised a question of judgment on selecting someone, Mayor Giuliani was not the one to do it, given the fact that he nominated someone to be the secretary of Homeland Security, who he knew was under investigation, and who has since pled guilty to crimes, and is under federal indictment on sixteen other potential crimes.

HH: Should the Bernie Kerik…or when Rudy urged Bernie Kerik on President Bush, should that a be a concern about his judgment for other people? And will that raise a question about whether or not you’ll get Soutered if can’t pick judges in Massachusetts? 

MR: You know, I didn’t make any comment about Bernie Kerik’s connection to Rudy Giuliani. I made no comment about Rudy Giuliani’s judgment in that regard. But when he came out and attacked me for a decision of a judge, that was a very different setting, and I responded that he was the last person I would have expected to make that kind of a statement. And I agree with Senator McCain on this, that it showed very bad judgment on Mayor Giuliani’s part to have somebody who had been implicated for political corruption being recommended to the President of the United States as the Secretary of Homeland Security. 


HH: And Governor Romney, yesterday, the Times of London published a story about the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, blasting the United States, heaping scorn on “the chosen nation myth of America,” meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God’s purpose for humanity, and saying that we had lost the moral high ground since September 11th. One of the jobs of being president is to respond to attacks like this, especially when they come from quarters which are surprising, like the Archbishop of Canterbury. How do you respond to such a broadside from a Church leader like this? 

MR: You know, it does point out that we’re very fortunate in our country not to have a state-sponsored religion… 

HH: Yes. 

MR: …because it would be a very difficult thing to have political leaders standing up and saying things of that nature if they were also religious leaders. And you know, I think you have to go through piece by piece, and say with him, he’s entitled to his opinion, but he’s certainly not speaking for God, and that this is a nation which has sacrificed more than any nation in the history of the Earth to preserve peace, and certainly has saved the bacon of people in Great Britain, and people in Europe generally, and the entire world doesn’t speak German today because of the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Americans. So it’s not a great place for him to be making that kind of comment, and today, we are one of the nations that’s taking the lead to keep the spread of violent, radical jihad from developing nuclear weaponry, and potentially threatening the existence of great civilizations.

And Arizona’s Jon Kyl, the obvious and compelling choice to replace Trent Lott as the Senate GOP’s whip was also on the program to talk about his candidacy and how the GOP’s Senate prospects look in November.  That transcript is here.  Key graphs:

HH: Is it fair to assume that if you are the Whip, along with Leader McConnell, that Democrats will get a very clear message about judicial nominees that what goes around comes around, and if it is President Clinton for two years, you, certainly having lived through this, won’t be forgetting how they treated our nominees? 

JK: Well, that’s true. And it’s not a matter of retribution or pure politics as much as it is trying to determine where, how the rules will work in the Senate. Where is the fulcrum here? Tradition has a big part to play. And if one party never confirms all of the judges from the other side, then the other party has to figure look, if that’s the way it’s going to be, then we can’t establish a different rule when the party is, or when the president of the other party is in control. So it’s a matter of both parties establishing the rhythm and the traditions of the Senate. And you can’t have a Democrat Congress not approving Republican nominees, and yet the president, when a Democrat comes in, we just willy-nilly approve all of his nominees. It just can’t work that way. 

HH: And you see, that’s what is thrilling to me about you being in that senior post in the leadership. You’re already in the leadership, but that Democrats can’t avoid that, and they can’t argue that with you when you’re on the floor. Now what about the idea of why we lost in ’06, Senator Kyl? How does that inform how you would be the Whip? 

JK: Well, it’s certainly going to make me as aggressive as I can possibly be in insuring that the Republican agenda is laid out there, and that the public as much as possible understands that we are going to back our words with actions. Last time, you know, it wasn’t a matter of ideology. The American people are basically in sync with where Republican officeholders are. But they didn’t view us as practicing what we preached. And to some extent, they were right. They didn’t think that government could do anything right, and after all, we did have the majority in Congress and the presidency, and they thought that we were spending too much money, and now granted, Democrats will always spend more than Republicans, but we were in charge, so you could put some of the blame of that to the Republicans. Well now, we’re not in charge. And it’s up to Republicans, and certainly the Leader and the Assistant Leader have a big role to play in demonstrating to the public that we are willing to abide by the President’s budget, to support his vetoes of bills that exceed his budget, and generally go back to a more frugal position, and stop all of this wasteful Washington spending. That’s just one example. We will also support him and the troops and a strong national security posture, which of course, the Democrats have not been willing to do.

And the transcript of my interview with the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza is here.  Key exchange:

CC: I do still think Republican primary voters are looking for a real conservative in the presidential race, and I’m not sure that they’ve found one. Is it Mike Huckabee in Iowa? Is it somebody… 

HH: Did you read Novak today? 

CC: I don’t know. 

HH: Did you read the Novak column today? 

CC: I did.

HH: It’s not Mike Huckabee (laughing). 

CC: It’s not Mike Huckabee (laughing). 



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