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The Tancredo Interview

Monday, April 2, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Tom Tancredo declared for the presidency today. His website is TeamTancredo.org.

Tom has been a guest on many occasions in the past, but has been dodging the show for some time, scheduling and then canceling appearances.  Today finally agreed to appear, and then showed up half-way through the segment.  he originally refused to stay longer but then agreed.

The Tancredo supporters are upset with me for bringing up Tom’s support of American Independent Party and Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist versus the Republican nominee now Congressman John Campbell in the ’05 special election.

They are also upset that I find it very irresponsible for Tom to run for president without ruling out another run for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, a move that telegraphs he wants the “fun” of running a single issue campaign while keeping his job security.

But mostly they are angry that I dare suggest the McCain-Kennedy bill be renamed McCain-Kennedy-Tancredo because of Tom’s pivotal role is securing its passage by leading the GOP majority of 2005-2006 into opposition of any legislation on the illegal alien issue last year.  Tom successfully turned up the rhetoric on an issue that matters an enormous amount to a relatively small percentage of voters, and mortgaged the majority to a single issue constituency.  Yes, Senator McCain’s blunder in co-authoring the ridiculous Senate bill with Ted Kennedy, but it was Tom Tancredo who did so much to make the issue radioactive for conservatives, many of whom overreacted to any idea of a bill that achieved enforcement, border security and regularization.

Now we are going to get little in the way of enforcement, less in fencing, and near amnesty.  We could have had three quarters of the pie and kept the majority, but we got zip and lost the majority.  Give credit where creditis very much due: Tom Tancredo made a lot of the music of 2006.  He wants an encore in 2007-08, and he wants job security to boot.

I’ll believe it when he cuts his ties to the 6th District.  In the meantime, a serious Republican should declare and start raising money in the 6th.  I don’t think Tom will win after his New Hampshire dance is done. 

The transcript of the interview will be posted here later, and the audio here.

UPDATE: From the transcript:

HH: I’ll get right to the chase. Is this a protest candid[acy] or is this is a real campaign?

TT: No, sir, it is for real. I mean, once you make the decision to do this, to actually announce, you’ve got to do, you can do everything you can to win the race. And if you just simply say I’m running because of an issue, one issue, and I want to make a statement? Forget about it. I do want to do that, and it is certainly an issue that propels me. But no, you have to do it 100%.

HH: Okay, then let me test that out. Have you endorsed someone to replace you in the 6th District in Colorado?

TT: No, I have not, and certainly don’t have to make that decision until I see if we can actually make it through these primaries.

HH: Are you ruling out reelection in the 6th District?

TT: No.

HH: Well then…

TT: I’ve got to see what happens. I’ve got to see whether we can make it through this thing. And I certainly…I can’t make that decision now.

HH: So you want it both ways? You want to run for Congress and the presidency?

TT: Well, I want to do my job as a Congressman while I am running for president, let’s put it that way, and we’ll make that decision later.

HH: But you haven’t ruled out, you know, getting wiped out in New Hampshire, and going back and keeping your job in Colorado?

TT: Correct.

HH: Well, doesn’t that tell a potential supporter that you’re not really in it for good, Tom, if you’re not willing to, you know, burn the bridges and do the Sherman thing, and say I’m in it, all in?

TT: Well, all in, you can be all in, can you not, and do exactly what I’m doing? I intend to live up to my responsibilities as a Congressman, I intend to fight as hard as I can for the nomination of the Republican Party for president of the United States. I think I can do those things.

HH: Yeah, but doesn’t it hurt the party to have the 6th District on hold when Democrats will target it…

TT: No.

HH: …and we need a candidate in there raising money. So you’re asking the party in Colorado to just stand around?

TT: Believe me, believe me, Hugh, the party, the 6th Congressional District will be fine, and we will keep it in Republican hands. That I can guarantee you. And it will be a good candidate, should I not pursue that particular course, I guarantee you that a good Republican candidate will succeed me in that district.

HH: All right. I think that’s having it both ways, but let me move on. GOP question, just two years and three months ago, Tom, you endorsed an American Independent Party candidate over the Republican nominee in a special election out here in Orange County. Is that material to a campaign for the GOP nomination, that you threw the Republican overboard just two years ago?

TT: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve said this before, that issues matter to me greatly. And you know, I have been a Republican all of my life, Hugh. And I mean, back in high school, when we had a…I remember a mock election with…this is in 1960, at Holy Family High School, had a mock election for president of the United States, and this was in a Catholic school, okay?

HH: But Congressman, that’s nice, but two years ago, you went AIG.

TT: …surprise…well…

HH: You threw the Republican overboard.

TT: The reason I have been a Republican all my life is because for the most part, everybody, when I’m looking for a candidate, that’s where I come down on.

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