Iowa Public Television

 

Rep. Tom Tancredo

posted on June 8, 2007

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Henderson: COLORADO CONGRESSMAN TOM TANCREDO HAS BEEN ON THE FRONT LINES IN THE BATTLE AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. HE'S MADE IT THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. WE DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGN OF 2008 WITH CONGRESSMAN TOM TANCREDO ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, JUNE 8 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS KAY HENDERSON.

Henderson: THE ISSUE OF IMMIGRATION, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, HAS BEEN ROILING THROUGH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS. THIS PAST WEEK THE U.S. SENATE SPENT MUCH OF ITS TIME DEBATING A BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE ON THE ISSUE BUT COULDN'T COME TO AGREEMENT. REPUBLICANS DON'T AGREE WITH REPUBLICANS, AND DEMOCRATS AREN'T AGREEING WITH DEMOCRATS EITHER. CONGRESSMAN TOM TANCREDO IS ONE REPUBLICAN WHO'S BEEN HAMMERING AWAY ON THIS ISSUE FOR NOT MONTHS BUT YEARS. HE HAS SAID HIS OWN REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT IS WRONG ON THIS ISSUE AND HAS SAID AMNESTY FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY IS UNACCEPTABLE. CONGRESSMAN TANCREDO, WELCOME TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION AND 'IOWA PRESS.' THANKS, GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

Henderson: ALSO WITH US AT THE 'IOWA' PRESS TABLE ARE TODD DORMAN OF 'THE LEE ENTERPRISES' NEWSPAPERS IN IOWA AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE 'ASSOCIATED PRESS.'

Glover: CONGRESSMAN TANCREDO, THE SENATE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO COME TO AGREEMENT --

Tancredo: ALLELUIA.

Glover: IS THAT BILL DEAD UNTIL AFTER THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

Tancredo: OH BOY, ALL I CAN DO IS SAY I HOPE SO. IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES I WOULD SAY YES, UNDER USUAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THESE ARE NOT USUAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THE PRESIDENT IS QUITE COMMITTED TO IT, AS YOU KNOW. BUT THE DIFFICULTY THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE, I THINK, IS THAT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ANY EASIER -- IT'S NOT GOING TO GET ANY EASIER FROM THIS POINT ON TO CREATE A BILL THAT WILL GATHER ENOUGH SUPPORT TO LET IT GET THROUGH. SO MY GUESS IS THAT IT'S PROBABLY FINISHED FOR THE YEAR AND PROBABLY FINISHED FOR THIS CONGRESS.

Glover: AND YOU BASE YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ON MAKING IMMIGRATION A CENTRAL ISSUE AS THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN HAS DEBATED -- OR BEGAN DEBATING THE RUN UP TO THE 2008 ELECTION. HAVE YOU SUCCEEDED IN THAT?

Tancredo: I THINK SO. WELL, I SUCCEEDED IN GETTING THE DEBATE?

Glover: MM-HMM.

Tancredo: OH, I BELIEVE SO. I CAN'T TAKE ALL THE CREDIT, BUT I THINK THAT I HAVE BEEN MARGINALLY SUCCESSFUL IN MOVING THIS ISSUE. BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IT HASN'T HAPPENED OVERNIGHT. I'VE BEEN IN CONGRESS NINE YEARS. I STARTED TALKING ABOUT THIS THE DAY I CAME TO CONGRESS, ACTUALLY STARTED TALKING ABOUT IT LONG BEFORE I GOT TO CONGRESS. IT HAS BEEN A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE TO ME FOR QUITE SOME TIME. ACTUALLY WHEN I WAS TEACHING SCHOOL WAY BACK -- WAY BACK, 19 -- I STARTED IN 1970 IN COLORADO. AND IN 1976 THE COLORADO LEGISLATURE PASSED THE FIRST BILINGUAL EDUCATION ACT OF ANY NATION -- I MEAN ANY STATE OF THE NATION. AND I WATCHED KIDS BEING TAKEN OUT OF CLASSROOMS, KIDS WHO WERE DOING WELL BEING TAKEN OUT OF CLASSROOMS AND PUT INTO SPANISH SPEAKING CLASSROOMS AND ONLY BECAUSE THEIR LAST NAME WAS HISPANIC. THAT WAS A TRAVESTY. I BEGAN LOOKING AT THE ISSUE THEN. I BECAME AWARE THAT IT WAS REALLY MUCH MORE OF A POLITICAL ISSUE THAN AN EDUCATIONAL ISSUE, AND THAT LED OVER A COURSE OF TIME TO MY CONCERN.

Glover: AND THAT LED TO THIS CAMPAIGN. AND YOU ARE AT LEAST PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING THIS WHOLE ISSUE OF IMMIGRATION TO THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. HAVING SUCCEEDED IN BRINGING THE ISSUE OF IMMIGRATION TO THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF YOUR CAMPAIGN?

Tancredo: WELL, TO WIN. THE FACT IS THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS REALLY GOING TO BE THE ULTIMATE DETERMINATE OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS ISSUE. BRINGING THE DEBATE FORWARD IS ONE THING. GETTING A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WHO WILL ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT IS QUITE ANOTHER. YOU CAN FORCE THEM INTO TALKING ABOUT IT, WHICH WE'VE DONE. THAT'S GOOD. I MEAN THIS LAST DEBATE, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU SAW IT, BUT WE SPENT PROBABLY 70 PERCENT OF THE TIME TALKING ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, WITH AT LEAST OF EIGHT OF THE PEOPLE ON THAT STAGE SAYING, I'M GOING TO -- BY GOLLY, I'M GOING TO OUTDO TOM TANCREDO ON THIS ISSUE. THAT'S GOOD. THAT'S FINE. I'M HAPPY THAT IT'S THERE. BUT WE REALLY DO HAVE TO SORT OF MAKE IT NOT JUST A PART OF THE RHETORIC THAT GOES ON DURING A CAMPAIGN BUT TRY TO WORK IT INTO THE ACTUAL MEAT OF THE CAMPAIGN. WILL THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ACTUALLY ENFORCE THE LAW? THIS IS THE QUESTION. BECAUSE WITHOUT IT, FRANKLY, ALL THE TALK IN THE WORLD AND ALL OF THE BILLS THAT WE CAN PASS, EVERY SINGLE LAW THAT WE CAN PASS, EVERY LAW THAT I'D INTRODUCE IF I HAD THE ABILITY TO SIMPLY PASS EVERYTHING I WANTED, WOULD BE WORTHLESS. THE PRESIDENT WOULDN'T ENFORCE IT, AS THIS PRESIDENT CHOOSES NOT TO DO.

Dorman: SHIFTING FROM THAT ISSUE TO SOME POLITICS FOR A MOMENT, THIS WEEK RUDY GIULIANI AND JOHN MCCAIN BOTH ANNOUNCED THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE IOWA STRAW POLL.

Tancredo: I HEARD THAT.

Dorman: WHAT ARE YOUR -- WHAT YOUR PLANS FOR THAT EVENT?

Tancredo: MY PLANS ARE TO DO EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE HEADING TOWARD, AND THAT IS TO RUN AS HARD AS WE CAN HERE IN IOWA. AND I'M GOING TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO SPEND A LITTLE MORE TIME HERE THAN I HAD ANTICIPATED BECAUSE A FEW DAYS AGO I ANNOUNCED -- WHEN THIS BILL LOOKED LIKE IT WAS GOING TO PASS THE SENATE, I ANNOUNCED THE FORMATION OF SOMETHING WE CALL 'SAVE AMERICA, KILL THE BILL.' AND I WAS GOING TO SPEND SOME OF MY TIME, ANYWAY, GOING OUT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, TRYING TO GO INTO INDIVIDUAL MEMBER'S DISTRICTS AND RAISE THE RABBLE, IF YOU WILL, AND GET THEM TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS TO CHANGE THEIR ELECTED OFFICIAL'S POSITION ON THE ISSUE IF THEY WERE AGAINST IT. WELL, IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE I'M GOING TO HAVE TO DO THAT NOW, AND SO I'M HAPPY TO BE ABLE TO SAY THAT I'M GOING TO BE HERE A LOT MORE OFTEN AND WE INTEND TO MOVE FORWARD WITH IT INTO THE STRAW POLL.

Dorman: GIULIANI'S ADVISORS HAVE KIND OF DUBBED THE STRAW POLL A SIDE SHOW --

Tancredo: HE WAS GOING TO LOSE.

Dorman: -- THAT MAY EVEN DETRACT, I GUESS -- THEY'RE SAYING IT WILL DETRACT FROM THE CAUCUSES AND IT TAKES RESOURCES AWAY. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE CRITICISMS OF THAT?

Tancredo: HE WAS GOING TO LOSE. HE WAS GOING TO LOSE. MCCAIN WAS GOING TO LOSE. THAT'S IT. THEY DON'T WANT TO BE -- WHEN YOU'RE ONE OF THE TOP THREE, RIGHT, AND YOU'RE THE SUPERSTARS, YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE THE STRAW POLL. IT ALMOST TAKES YOU OUT IMMEDIATELY. YOU HAVE TO WIN THAT ONE. AND I'M IN THE LUXURIOUS POSITION, IN A WAY, OF NOT HAVING TO WIN IN ORDER TO BE -- IN ORDER TO MAKE MY CASE. BUT THEY DID. THEY HAD TO WIN AND THEY WEREN'T GOING TO, SO THEY PULLED OUT. IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT, REALLY. I KNOW -- NOBODY IS GOING TO SAY -- THEIR TEAM ISN'T GOING TO COME IN AND GO, YOU KNOW WHY WE'RE OUT OF THE IOWA STRAW POLL? YEAH, WE WEREN'T GOING TO MAKE IT SO WE'RE GOING TO PULL OUT OF THIS, BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

Glover: TO BE CLEAR, JUST TO RECAP, YOU ARE CONTINUING YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN FULL BORE, YOU'RE RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY NOMINATION, AND YOU'RE GOING TO COMPETE HARD IN THE STRAW POLL. ARE YOU GOING TO TRY TO ORGANIZE BLOCKS OF PEOPLE?

Tancredo: YOU BET.

Glover: SO YOU'RE GOING TO DO THE BEST TO TURN OUT PEOPLE YOU CAN.

Tancredo: EVERYTHING I CAN. BILL SALIER, WHO IS OUR CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN HERE IN IOWA, IS GREAT AND IS ENERGETIC. PROBABLY IF I WANTED TO PULL OUT, I COULDN'T. HE WOULDN'T LET ME. HE'S A VERY DYNAMIC GUY AND I HAVE NO DESIRE TO PULL OUT.

Glover: AND THERE'S SPECULATION THAT YOU HAVE A COUPLE OF ULTERIOR MOTIVES IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: ONE, YOU'VE MADE IT VERY CLEAR FROM THE BEGINNING YOU WANT TO BRING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION TO THE FORE AS THE REPUBLICANS DEBATE THEIR NOMINEE; AND TWO, THERE'S SPECULATION YOU WANT TO RUN FOR THE SENATE IN COLORADO. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO SAY YOU'RE USING YOUR PRESIDENTIAL RACE AS A STOCKING HORSE FOR A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS?

Tancredo: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT ABOUT THE FACT -- AND I AM QUITE CLEAR ABOUT IT. I TELL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME EXACTLY WHAT I FEEL AND WHAT -- YOU KNOW, WHAT ACTUALLY GOT ME TO THIS POINT. AND THAT WAS THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ISSUE. IT PROPELLED ME TO THE POINT OF ACTUALLY DECLARING A CANDIDACY. BUT ONCE YOU DECLARE THE CANDIDACY, YOU REALLY DO HAVE TO RUN. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR YOU JUST BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MAKE A STATEMENT. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SAY, LOOK, I AM NOW RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND THAT MEANS THERE ARE A LOT OF ISSUES WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT EVEN BEYOND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, BUT I'M GOING TO MOVE THAT TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE CAMPAIGN. THE SENATE RACE IN COLORADO, I REALLY HONESTLY HAVE NOT -- ESPECIALLY -- ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT -- IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE ONE COMING UP, NO, THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NO -- ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE THAT I WILL RUN FOR THE SENATE SEAT THAT'S COMING UP IN THIS NEXT ELECTION. BOB SCHAEFFER HAS ALREADY ANNOUNCED. HE'S A GOOD FRIEND AND I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO SUPPORT HIM.

Glover: SALAZAR?

Tancredo: SALAZAR, WELL, WHO KNOWS. AS I SAY, I'M RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT THE UNITED STATES AND, LET ME TELL YOU, IT TAKES -- THIS IS A GRUELING EXPERIENCE. AND WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH IT, WHO KNOWS WHETHER YOU EVER WANT TO RUN FOR ANYTHING ANYMORE, BUT WE'LL SEE IF THAT ALL UNFOLDS IN THAT WAY, PERHAPS. BUT I HAVE TO FOCUS ON THIS ISSUE. I MEAN I REALLY CAN'T THINK ABOUT THAT. IT'S NOT A STOCKING HORSE. I ASSURE YOU THIS, THAT THE REASON I'M DOING THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SENATE RACE. THAT I GUARANTEE YOU. YOU GUYS, IT'S BEEN MY EXPERIENCE IN THE YEARS THAT I HAVE BEEN IN POLITICS -- AND IT'S BEEN A LONG LIFE IN POLITICS. I WAS ELECTED TO THE COLORADO LEGISLATURE IN 1976. AND IT'S ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATING TO ME ABOUT THE KINDS OF PEOPLE WHO RUN FOR OFFICE. AND IT KIND OF BOILS DOWN -- IT'S NOT ALWAYS THIS CLEAR, BUT IT DOES SEEM TO BREAK DOWN INTO A COUPLE -- INTO TWO CHARACTERISTICS, ONE BEING THE PERSON WHO SAYS, LET'S SEE, I'VE DONE A LOT OF THINGS, WHAT DO I WANT TO DO NEXT, I WANT TO RUN FOR 'X.' FILL IN THE BLANK: COUNTY COMMISSIONER, STATE LEGISLATOR, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. ONCE THEY MAKE THAT DECISION, THEN THEY HAVE TO -- THEN THEY START THINKING ABOUT ALL THE THINGS THEY HAVE TO SAY AND DO AND BE IN ORDER TO GET THERE. IT'S JUST A PRAGMATIC DECISION: THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO; HOW DO I GET THERE. I HAVE TO TELL YOU I RUN FOR OFFICE AND ALWAYS HAVE, EVERY OFFICE -- EVERY TIME I'VE RUN AND FOR EVERY POSITION, BECAUSE ISSUES MOTIVATE ME. AND THE OFFICE IS THE PLACE YOU GO TO ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING DONE ABOUT THEM. I DO NOT DO THIS SIMPLY BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE MY NAME ON A BALLOT OR HAVE -- BE ABLE TO TELL MY GRANDKIDS, GEE, I RAN FOR PRESIDENT ONCE. I DO THIS BECAUSE I TRULY WITH ALL MY HEART BELIEVE IN ISSUES, THE BIG ONE OF COURSE BEING THE ONE WE'VE TALKED ABOUT.

Henderson: CONGRESSMAN, LET'S TALK SPECIFICALLY ABOUT YOUR CAMPAIGN. IF YOU COULD STEP BACK AND ASSESS YOUR RIVALS FOR THIS CANDIDACY AND PERHAPS LAY OUT A SCENARIO WHERE THIS GENTLEMAN NAMED TOM TANCREDO MIGHT INDEED WIN THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION BECAUSE, IF YOU LOOK AT THE PUBLIC OPINION POLLS, THERE AREN'T A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO KNOW TOM TANCREDO.

Tancredo: RIGHT. THAT'S OF COURSE TRUE BUT WHEN YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE, SOME STRANGE THINGS CAN HAPPEN. WHAT IF -- JUST WHAT IF YOU END UP WITH A LOT OF FOLKS WHO HAVE A LOT OF MONEY SPENDING A LOT OF TIME AND MONEY GATHERING SUPPORT BUT THEY DON'T GET ENOUGH IN TERMS OF THE DELEGATES AT THE END OF THE DAY AND YOU GO INTO A CONVENTION WITH A LOCK ON IT? WELL, THEN SOMEBODY WITH FEWER DELEGATES CAN MAKE AN INTERESTING MIX OF THINGS. WHAT IF WE GO INTO A CONVENTION FOR FIRST TIME IN FORTY YEARS THAT'S A BROKERED CONVENTION? A LOT OF THINGS CAN HAPPEN.

Henderson: SO DO YOU SEE THAT SCENARIO PLAYING OUT?

Tancredo: IT'S A POSSIBILITY. IT'S A POSSIBILITY.

Henderson: SO IN THAT SCENARIO, DO YOU WANT TO BE THE PLAYER OR DO YOU WANT TO BE THE NOMINEE?

Tancredo: WELL, ONE CAN MAKE YOU BE THE OTHER.

Dorman: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE CANDIDATES. RUDY GIULIANI, WHICH WE MENTIONED EARLIER, YOU SAY HE COULDN'T WIN THE STRAW POLL. OVERALL, CAN A CANDIDATE WITH HIS VIEWS ON ISSUES WIN THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION, PARTICULARLY A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE?

Tancredo: WELL, MAYBE A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE, IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE. I'M NOT SAYING IT'S OUT OF THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY, BUT IF YOU'RE A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE KIND OF BUT NOT ENTIRELY AND/OR A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE AT ONE POINT BUT NO LONGER, THAT MAKES IT EVEN MORE DIFFICULT I THINK FOR PEOPLE. I THINK IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR RUDY GIULIANI. HE HAS GOT CERTAINLY QUALIFICATIONS THAT FEW OTHERS UP THERE CAN BOAST OF. I MEAN HE WAS MAYOR OF THE LARGEST CITY THAT -- IN THE CITY THAT HAS GONE THROUGH AN ENORMOUSLY TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, AND I THINK EVERYBODY AGREES THAT HE WAS EXEMPLARY IN TERMS OF THE LEADERSHIP HE PROVIDED. AND SO HE'S GOT THAT GOING FOR HIM, AND THAT CAN GO A LONG -- EXCUSE ME -- A LONG WAY. BUT IN A REPUBLICAN PRIMARY, IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO TAKE MORE THAN THAT, AND IT'S GOING TO PROBABLY TAKE A CONSISTENT -- A CONSISTENT CONSERVATIVE SET OF POSITIONS.

Glover: CONGRESSMAN TANCREDO, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT IMMIGRATION, THE ISSUE THAT SPURRED YOU TO ENTER THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE. ONE OF YOUR RIVALS, ARIZONA SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, HAS BEEN CLOSELY ALIGNED WITH THE EFFORT TO MOVE THIS BILL THROUGH CONGRESS AND TO FIND A COMPROMISE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM. WITH THE CONGRESS UNABLE TO RESOLVE IT WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, IN ESSENCE SPURNING THAT PROPOSAL, HAVE THEY IN ESSENCE SPURNED JOHN MCCAIN?

Tancredo: I THINK THAT THE SILVER LINING IN THIS BILL AND THE FACT THAT WE'VE DEBATED THIS BILL AND THE FACT THAT HE HAS PUSHED IT SO HARD IS THAT IT PROBABLY MEANS THAT THERE WILL NEVER BE A PRESIDENT JOHN MCCAIN.

Glover: BECAUSE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS TURNED HIM DOWN ON IMMIGRATION, THEY REJECTED HIS --

Tancredo: EXACTLY. THIS BECAME ALMOST AS BIG AN ISSUE FOR HIM AS IT IS FOR ME IN A WAY. AND CERTAINLY WE'RE DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED. AND WHEN YOU LOSE -- I MEAN WHEN IT'S THIS -- WHEN YOU LOSE SOMETHING LIKE THIS, AND AS BIG AS HE LOST THIS THING, I THINK IT HAS GOT TO SEND A MESSAGE TO HIM AND TO A LOT OF HIS -- DID YOU SEE THE OTHER DAY, YESTERDAY I BELIEVE, HIS CO-CHAIR IN SOUTH CAROLINA QUIT, SAID, YOU KNOW, I'M SORRY ABOUT BUT I WAS HOPING HE'D KEEP HIS NOSE OUT OF THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE AND HE HASN'T AND I'M OUT OF THERE. I THINK THAT THIS IS SORT OF DETRIMENTAL TO JOHN MCCAIN'S CAMPAIGN.

Glover: AND WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A PRESIDENT OF YOUR OWN PARTY WHO SAYS THAT PEOPLE SUCH AS YOU WHO WORKED HARD TO TORPEDO THIS IMMIGRATION BILL ARE SIMPLY TRYING TO SCARE PEOPLE AND ARE ACTING AS DEMAGOGUES? HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

Tancredo: IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE ALSO, BECAUSE I HAVE SPENT NOW NINE YEARS IN CONGRESS TALKING ABOUT THIS, AND AS A RESULT HAVE HAD MY SHARE OF -- THERE CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE CALLED ME A LOT OF NAMES AND EVERYTHING FROM XENOPHOBE TO RACIST AND DEMAGOGUE. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN APPARENT TO ME THAT PEOPLE BEGIN TO USE TERMS LIKE THAT WHEN THERE'S NO LONGER AN INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENT TO MAKE, AND THAT'S EXACTLY THE WAY I FEEL WHEN HE SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THAT. HE BECOMES DESPERATE. THE PRESIDENT IS DESPERATE FOR A DOMESTIC POLICY WIN, DESPERATE. AND I BELIEVE IT IS BOTH ARROGANCE AND OBSTINANCE THAT PUSHES HIM IN THIS DIRECTION. SO THERE I GO, YOU KNOW, USING EPITHETS.

Glover: NOT EXPECTING TO MAKE TOO MANY STEAK DINNERS --

Tancredo: LISTEN, IN 2003 I GAVE AN INTERVIEW TO 'THE WASHINGTON TIMES' AND I WAS ASKED ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND I SAID IF WE HAVE ANOTHER EVENT LIKE THE 9/11 THAT'S PERPETRATED BY SOMEBODY WHO'S COME ACROSS THESE BORDERS WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION OR IS HERE OVERSTAYING THEIR VISA AND WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT AND IF WE'VE DONE NO MORE TO SECURE OUR BORDERS THAN WE HAD DONE UP TO THAT TIME, THEN THE BLOOD OF THE PEOPLE KILLED IN THAT EVENT WOULD BE ON THE HEAD OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND ON THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO HAVE REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. WELL, AS I LEFT MY HOUSE THE NEXT MORNING, I HAD AN INTERESTING PHONE CALL. WHEN I WAS DRIVING OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY, IT RANG. I LOOKED AT IT AND IT SAID WHITE HOUSE. AND I DON'T GET MANY -- I SAID HELLO. AND IT WAS KARL ROVE. WE HAD A TWENTY-FIVE OR THIRTY-MINUTE ANIMATED DISCUSSION ALL WAY TO THE OFFICE -- TO MY OFFICE IN THE CAPITOL. AND AT THE END OF IT HE SAID TO ME DON'T EVER DARKEN THE DOORSTEP OF THIS WHITE HOUSE. AND WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE OCCASIONAL CELEBRATORY EVENT LIKE A CHRISTMAS BALL, I HAVEN'T.

Dorman: YOU MENTIONED EARLIER A DESIRE ON THE PART OF REPUBLICANS TO FIND A CONSISTENT CANDIDATE. PART OF THE KNOCK ON FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY IS THAT HE HASN'T BEEN CONSISTENT ON MANY -- ON THE CORE ISSUES, IMMIGRATION BEING ONE OF THEM. DO YOU THINK THAT'S A FAIR CRITICISM OF THE GOVERNOR?

Tancredo: SURE. YEAH, IT IS. THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN I THINK ON VARIOUS SIDES OF THIS ISSUE AS HE HAS BEEN ON VARIOUS SIDES OF OTHER ISSUES. LET ME TELL YOU, GOVERNOR ROMNEY IS THE KIND OF GUY THAT IF YOU WERE TO SEND TO CENTRAL CASTING AND SAY, HELLO, SEND ME SOMEBODY THAT LOOKS LIKES LIKE A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THERE WOULD BE A KNOCK AT THE DOOR, IT WOULD OPEN, AND THERE WOULD BE MITT ROMNEY, THIS TALL, NICE LOOKING GUY AND PRESENTS HIMSELF VERY WELL. AND HE'S VERY SMART, VERY COMPETENT. BUT I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT TO ME HE -- YOU KNOW, AGAIN, YOU GO BACK TO, WELL, BEING SMART AND BEING COMPETENT AND BEING SHOWY, ARE THOSE THE QUALIFICATIONS THAT WE AS REPUBLICANS WANT? THEY'RE GOOD ONES, BELIEVE ME, AND THEY CAN BE A TREMENDOUS ASSET IN ANY CAMPAIGN. AND BY THE WAY, HE'S GOT MORE MONEY THAN, I DON'T KNOW, MIDAS. HE'S A VERY WEALTHY GUY. THAT'S A VERY GOOD THING. THERE'S NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT. BUT I THINK IT'S RELATIVELY SHALLOW. I THINK IT'S -- I CANNOT TELL -- WHEN I LISTEN TO HIM SPEAK, AS I SAY ALL THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT HIM THAT I'VE JUST SAID AND I DO BELIEVE ARE THERE, I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THERE'S MUCH DEPTH AND I DON'T THINK IT GOES VERY FAR AND I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S -- IT'S NOT BASED ON ANY SOLID SET OF IDEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES SO, THEREFORE, YOU CAN BE THIS FOR A WHILE AND THIS FOR A WHILE AND THAT FOR A WHILE. WELL, THEN HOW DO YOU KNOW -- HOW CAN I KNOW? EVEN WHEN HE SAYS THINGS LIKE 'I AM ABSOLUTELY OPPOSED TO GIVING AMNESTY NOW,' HOW DO I KNOW THAT THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE CASE IF HE WERE TO BE ELECTED PRESIDENT? IT'S WORRISOME FROM THAT STANDPOINT.

Glover: YOU'VE LABELED A KNOCK AGAINST ALL THREE OF THE TOP REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES. YOU SAID THE REPUBLICANS WON'T NOMINATE A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE, THAT JOHN MCCAIN'S CHANCES WENT DOWN WITH THE IMMIGRATION BILL, AND THAT MITT ROMNEY IS NOT A PERSON OF SUBSTANCE. DOES THAT LEAVE THE FIELD OPEN FOR A CANDIDATE LIKE FRED THOMPSON?

Tancredo: WELL, HOW DO I KNOW IS HE ANY OF THOSE THINGS? I MEAN FRED THOMPSON I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT EXCEPT WHAT I'VE SEEN IN HIS ROLE ON TELEVISION. HE PLAYS A GREAT D.A. WHEN HE WAS IN THE SENATE, HIS VOTING -- I SHOULD TELL YOU, HIS VOTING RECORD ON IMMIGRATION IS LOUSY. HE SUPPORTED -- AT ONE TIME HE SUPPORTED THE -- SUPPORTED ABORTIONS IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER. ONCE AGAIN, WHAT'S HE ALL ABOUT? I GUESS WE'LL HAVE TO SEE. I REALLY DON'T KNOW. HOW CAN I KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM THAN ANYBODY AT THIS TABLE? I DON'T REALLY KNOW -- I'VE NOT HAD THE ABILITY TO SIT DOWN AND TALK TO HIM ON A ONE-TO-ONE BASIS. BUT I GUARANTEE YOU THIS, IF HE GETS IN, HE IMMEDIATELY BECOMES THE SUPERSTAR. BUT WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO SUPERSTARS. SOMETIMES THEY BECOME NOVAS.

Dorman: BUT IF THE CONSERVATIVE WING OF THE PARTY KIND OF MAKES ALL OF THESE CANDIDATES PASS THIS SERIES OF LITMUS TESTS ON ALL THESE ISSUES, DO YOU RISK MOVING THE PARTY SO FAR RIGHT THAT YOU ALIENATE THIS LARGE GROUP OF VOTERS IN THE MIDDLE OF A GENERAL ELECTION?

Tancredo: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING BUT, YOU GUYS, I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF VOTING FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS. I JUST AM. I CAN'T HELP IT. I RECOGNIZE FULLY WELL THAT THAT'S THE MOTIVATING FACTOR FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. THEY SAY I JUST WANT TO WIN, WHO'S THE GUY THAT CAN WIN THIS, AND I'M GOING TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY ON ALL OF THESE OTHER FLAWS THAT MIGHT BE THERE FROM AN IDEOLOGICAL STANDPOINT. I UNDERSTAND THAT -- AND ESPECIALLY OF COURSE IF YOU'VE GOT A CANDIDATE THAT YOU'RE OPPOSING -- IT COULD BE, LET'S SAY, HILLARY CLINTON, FOR INSTANCE. THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO SAY, I'LL SAY AGAIN, GIVE ME WHATEVER, JUST GIVE ME SOMEBODY WHO CAN BEAT HILLARY CLINTON. AND I DO UNDERSTAND THAT MOTIVATION, BUT WHAT I'M HOPING FOR IS THAT WE HAVE SOMEBODY, THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY CAN PUT SOMEBODY UP THAT HAVE PEOPLE WHO -- THAT PEOPLE RESPOND TO IN A WAY LIKE THEY DID WITH REAGAN, WHERE YOU REALLY WANTED TO VOTE FOR THEM. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? IT WASN'T THE IDEA THAT I'M GOING TO VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE HE'S JUST THAT MUCH -- BUT HE COULD POSSIBLY DO IT. HE'S BETTER THAN THE OTHER GUY BUT NOT GREAT. I'M HOPING -- AND I HOPE I OFFER THAT TO PEOPLE, BUT IF I DON'T, I HOPE THEY FIND IT IN SOMEBODY. WHOEVER ANY OF THOSE CANDIDATES ARE, I WANT THEM TO BE ABLE TO GO TO THE POLLS VOTING FOR A REPUBLICAN BECAUSE THEY REALLY WANT THAT PERSON AND THEY'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT.

Glover: WELL, LET'S PLAY THIS POLITICAL GAME ONE MORE STEP DOWN THE ROAD. AS TODD MENTIONED, THERE IS SOME PRESSURE ON THE REPUBLICAN FIELD TO MOVE TO THE RIGHT TO ACCOMMODATE THE CONSERVATIVE BASE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Tancredo: WHICH IS ALWAYS THE CASE DURING A PRIMARY.

Glover: IF YOU GO TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, YOU'RE FINDING KEY PEOPLE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY -- HILLARY CLINTON, BARACK OBAMA -- ARE MOVING TO THE LEFT. BOTH OF THEM VOTED AGAINST FUNDING THE WAR. A SIGNIFICANT --

Tancredo: THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS IN PRIMARIES.

Glover: SO WHAT'S THE DANGER OF HAVING A RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN AND A LEFT-WING DEMOCRAT, AND THE MIDDLE OF THE ELECTORATE JUST LEFT OUT CREATING ROOM FOR A THIRD PARTY?

Tancredo: WELL, THIRD PARTIES, IF THEY COULD BE BENEFICIAL IN THE PROCESS, I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM SEEING ONE DEVELOP. IT DOESN'T BOTHER ME TO THINK THAT THAT'S A POSSIBILITY, BUT I DON'T KNOW TO WHAT -- I'M NOT POSITIVE THAT I CAN SEE THE GREAT ADVANTAGE, BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS, OF COURSE, IS THAT AS YOU KNOW, HISTORICALLY, WHENEVER THAT OCCURS, ONE OR THE OTHER PARTY SORT OF CAPTURES THE ISSUES THAT THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE OR THIRD PARTY IN GENERAL BRING TO THE FORE. AND SO IT HASN'T BEEN ALL THAT SUCCESSFUL IN THE PAST. AND IF YOU CAN'T DO IT WITH A GUY AS RICH AS ROSS PEROT, WHERE DO YOU GET -- HOW DO YOU GET THE FINANCIAL ABILITY TO GET THE THING DONE? I DON'T THINK YOU CAN START A THIRD PARTY ON A SINGLE ISSUE, AND I DON'T THINK IT'S ALL THAT HELPFUL. I DON'T THINK THAT IT REALLY WORKS. SO, NO, WE'LL PROBABLY PLAY THIS THING OUT JUST THE WAY WE HAVE IN THE PAST, AND HOPEFULLY WE WILL SEE THAT IF YOU START OUT -- I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES PEOPLE CYNICAL ABOUT POLITICS IS JUST THE PHENOMENA YOU JUST DESCRIBED. YOU START OUT WAY OVER HERE TO THE RIGHT AS A REPUBLICAN AND WAY OVER HERE TO THE LEFT AS A DEMOCRAT AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU MOVE IN AND EVERYBODY GOES, WELL, WHAT HAPPENED. I REMEMBER WHEN HE SAID THIS WHEN HE WAS OVER THERE. I REMEMBER WHEN SHE SAID THAT WHEN SHE WAS OVER HERE, MAKING AN ASSUMPTION NOW ABOUT WHO MIGHT BE AHEAD AND, YOU KNOW, ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST -- THEY'RE JUST HYPOCRITICAL.

Glover: WE'VE ONLY GOT ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS. LET'S LOOK AT CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, WHICH WE ALL UNDERSTAND MAY BE EITHER CONVENTIONAL NOR WISE, BUT THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS YOU HAVE A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT WHOSE APPROVAL RATINGS ARE IN THE TOILET. YOU DON'T EVEN APPROVE OF HIM.

Tancredo: NO, I CERTAINLY DON'T.

Glover: AND IT'S GOING TO BE, THAT CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SAYS, A REALLY GOOD DEMOCRATIC YEAR NEXT YEAR. IS IT THE REPUBLICAN INTENT TO JUST GO DOWN WITH A TRUE BELIEVER?

Tancredo: WELL, I ALWAYS -- I DON'T WANT TO END UP PROVIDING EVEN A FOUR-YEAR TERM FOR SOMEBODY LIKE HILLARY CLINTON. I JUST DON'T. SO I AM NOT WILLING TO SAY THAT I'M GOING TO THROW MYSELF INTO THE BREACH, YOU KNOW, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ESPOUSING REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES, GOOD SOLID REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES, WHO CAN WIN AN ELECTION EVEN AGAINST A HILLARY CLINTON.

Henderson: I'M SORRY, BUT WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

Tancredo: I UNDERSTAND.

Henderson: THANK YOU, CONGRESSMAN TANCREDO, FOR SHARING YOUR VIEWS. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS,' WE CONTINUE OUR FOCUS ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 2008, BUT WE SHIFT TO THE DEMOCRATS. JOHN EDWARDS, THE FORMER SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN 2004, WILL JOIN US AT THE 'IOWA PRESS' TABLE. JOHN EDWARDS ON THE NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS' AT OUR REGULAR IOWA PRESS AIRTIMES: FRIDAY EVENING AT 7:30 AND SUNDAY MORNING AT 11:30. THAT'S THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' I'M KAY HENDERSON SITTING IN FOR DEAN BORG. DEAN WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK. WE HOPE YOU WILL AS WELL. THANKS FOR JOINING US ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

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Tags: campaign 2008 Congress immigration Iowa politics presidential candidates Republicans Tom Tancredo