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Archive for December, 2007

Politically speaking, 2007 started on a depressing note. The 2006 midterms were a conservative’s nightmare. Way back then, I wrote something out of anger to vent my frustration with the GOP product. The next day, I wrote a couple more posts about the path forward. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t confident in how the GOP would respond. It’s equally safe to say that I was confident that picking fights with Democrats would help rally the base.

I couldn’t have predicted that the year would end on a totally different, more positive, note.

The thing that got it started for me was reading Michael’s account that Maggie Kelliher ruling Laura Brod’s tax cuts weren’t germane to the tax bill they were debating. Suffice it to say that that didn’t sit well with me. Shortly thereafter, I told Leo, King and Andy that I’d gladly fight alongside any legislator that was fighting for core GOP principles.

Little did I know that I’d have alot more fighting to do that session.

Shortly after that, I attended a townhall meeting co-sponsored by Tarryl, Steve Gottwalt and Grandpa Larry. After the meeting, Tarryl talked with Leo and I. Suffice it to say that she didn’t keep the promises that she made that day. After the meeting, Leo, Steve & I went for lunch, where Leo & I got a chance to learn more about Steve. Suffice it to say that Leo & I were impressed with Steve’s command of the issues.

In February, a group of legislators visited St. Cloud to plot the overthrow of the DFL. Attending that day were Matt Dean, Laura Brod, Denny McNamara and Greg Peppin. The St. Cloud contingent consisted of SD-15 BPOU co-chair Jeff Johnson, King Banaian and myself. The thing we stressed was that we’d like to be sent onto the battlefield but we demanded that the legislators give us lots of ammunition.

They certainly didn’t disappoint with that. Boy, did they not disappoint with that.

Another highlight was the fight that our people waged on the House Permanent Rules debate. One Republican after another submitted intelligent, common sense amendments, only to be shot down by Tony Sertich, who kept sending the amendments to the Rules Committee that he chairs. Suffice it to say that those amendments didn’t even get a hearing.

The one amendment that should’ve gotten passed was the amendment saying that the entire House had to vote to increase their per diem. Larry Haws voted to send that to the Rules Committee, sparing himself the decision of voting himself a taxfree pay raise or voting against his party. A profile in political courage it wasn’t.

In retrospect, Tony Sertich shouldn’t be the only person I indicted.

Another GOP amendment that should’ve passed was the Fair Notice Rule. Fair Notice would’ve required a finance bill to be given to legislators the night before the vote, the theory being that they’d have the opportunity to read the bills. Sertich defeated that, implementing a rule requiring only 2 hours notice. That figured into events later in the session in a pretty dramatic way.

Another highlight of the session was watching our Goalie swat shot after shot aside. For his stalwart goalkeeping, I awarded Gov. Pawlenty with the Vezina Trophy, the NHL’s award for outstanding goaltending. In fact, I think a case can be made for Gov. Pawlenty as the Hart Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s MVP. Personally, I think a stronger case can be made for Marty Seifert for the Hart Trophy.

Speaking of awards, Steve Gottwalt is this year’s Calder Trophy winner. Steve was a freshman in name only. Watching him make his case for true health care reform and education sanity was a delight.

The ‘I Want To Disappear’ Award

There’s only one candidate for this award and her name is Tarryl Clark. Tarryl didn’t want a high profile Senate leadership position, at least not if it meant being teamed with Larry Pogemiller. Unfortunately, no one else wanted the job so Tarry got stuck with the title.

The original plan was to have Tarryl be the face of the Senate DFL. Many of us were skeptical that that’d last. Our skepticism was finally rewarded during the closing days of the session when Pogie got his head handed to him by Gov. Pawlenty & the House GOP caucus.

Because of the ‘Pogie Effect’, Tarryl is now damaged goods heading into the 2010 midterms. As part of the leadership, she voted for each of the outrageous tax increases and each unsustainable spending increase. Rest assured that that’ll haunt her in 2010, whether she runs for re-election or if she runs for governor.

Chaos Is My Middle Name Award

There’s only two candidates for this ‘trophy': Tony Sertich and Maggie Kelliher for their prominent roles in the end of session trainwreck. By all accounts, that was the most disorganized end of session of the last half century.

Tony Sertich gets strong consideration for this ‘Award’ for his role in defeating the Fair Notice Amendment that would’ve kept order in the House that last week.

Ultimately, though, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher gets the vote because her decisions led to the chaotic finish. The buck must stop there.

Who Cares About the Constitution Award

The DFL is this award’s winner. They ignored the state’s Constitution by never setting spending targets. As a direct result of their ignoring the Constitution, they opened the door to the chaotic final week. Had they set spending targets and passed the tax bill first, the chaos that followed wouldn’t have happened.

Frankly, I’ve never seen such incompetence and brazenness . Simply put, they need to be fired from their majority status. Minnesota can’t afford that type of irresponsible behavior, especially with us facing a slowing economy.

Quote of the Year Award

By far, this is the most difficult award to pick. I can’t forget Steve Murphy’s quote:

“I’m not trying to fool anybody,” said Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, sponsor of the measure that would increase funding for roads and transit by $1.5 billion a year once it was fully implemented in the next decade. “There’s a lot of taxes in this bill.”

I can’t forget Cy Thao’s quote, either:

“When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.”

Foul-mouthed Sandy Pappas’s quote shouldn’t be ignored either:

Higher Education Chairwoman Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said college and university funding is far from enough. “We are starving higher education,” she said.

We certainly can’t forget King’s favorite:

You don’t celebrate getting out of Weight Watchers by going over to the all-you-can-eat buffet. So our message to the Legislature is: ‘Push away from the table. Put your fork down.’

At the end of the day, I love them all so I’m exercising my right as owner of this blog to say they all win.

As we head into 2008, conservative activists have plenty of reasons to be energized, starting with the House GOP’s strong leadership team, headed by Marty Seifert. When we look back 5 years from now, their performance will be seen as the pivot point for the turnaround.

With a new year ahead comes new challenges. Thanks to Seifert, Brod, Emmer, Dean & Co., we have the ammunition & motivation with which to fight & win this year’s battles.

Finally, this year is testament to Ronald Reagan’s great saying:

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we don’t care who gets credit for what.

Let’s go forward with that attitude.

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Based on this article, it’s apparent that Chelsea Clinton didn’t inherit her dad’s political skills. Here’s the proof:

Sydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and “kid reporter” for Scholastic News, has posed questions to seven Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they’ve campaigned across Iowa this year. But when she approached the 27-year-old Chelsea after a campaign event Sunday, she got a different response.

“Do you think your dad would be a good ‘first man’ in the White House?” Sydney asked, but Chelsea brushed her question aside.

“I’m sorry, I don’t talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you’re cute,” Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.

Doesn’t that sound eerily similar to Hillary? That’s cold. It shouldn’t have been difficult for Chelsea to give a cheesy answer to this student. Instead, she turns on her ice lady ‘charm’ and creates a distraction for Hillary.

Here’s what makes this all the more confusing:

Such is the paradox of Chelsea as she campaigns across Iowa in the closing days before the state’s caucuses Jan. 3.

Tall and attractive, Chelsea cuts an impressive figure on the campaign trail; she plunges enthusiastically into the crowd after her mother’s speeches, shaking hands and posing for pictures while asking, “Are you going to caucus for my mom?”

She’ll talk with Hillary’s supporters but she won’t talk with a student? What kind of priorities does she have?

But onstage, Chelsea never speaks; she stands next to her mother and applauds but utters not a single sentence and doesn’t even say hello. And reporters covering the campaign have been put on notice that Chelsea is not available to speak to them. An aide follows the former first daughter as she works the crowd, shushing reporters who approach her and try to ask any questions.

That paragraph reinforces Hillary’s image that she’s afraid of the press. Why else would she plant questions in the audience? Now Hillary’s graduated from planting questions to keeping Chelsea away from middle school student ‘reporters’.

How pathetic is that, especially from the supposed smartest woman on the planet?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Part of Fred Thompson’s appeal is his not mincing words. That’s the focus of this article. Notice what they’ve spotlighted as their main caption:

“They’re all NEA, MoveOn.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats,” Thompson said in the video posted on his campaign Web site. “They’ve allowed these radicals to take control of the party and dictate their course.”

He added, “I am asking my fellow Republicans to vote for me not only for what I have to say to them, but for what I have to say to the members of the other party—the millions of Democrats who haven’t left the Democratic party so much as their party’s national leadership has left them.”

Picture how that’d sell with the disenchanted conservatives that sat the midterms out. Think how that’d sell with what I call Lieberman Democrats. Think how the Nutroots would react to that and the positive impact that’d have on the election for Republicans.

Here’s what I mean with that last sentence. We want the Nutroots to be shooting their mouth off because we win anytime our base is fired up and the Nutroots are the face of the Democratic Party.

As I’ve said here, here, here and here, it isn’t 2006 anymore. Unlike 2006, I believe that the GOP base will be energized this year, especially if Fred’s the nominee. In fact, I think that Fred’s the only candidate that can get the GOP base fired up.

With the GOP base will be fired up, the next thing we should want is for the Nutroots to shoot their mouth off. The more they spout off, the better our candidates look. Frankly, the best strategy for us when they’re spouting off is to get them a louder bullhorn.

The other thing I like about Fred’s full frontal assault is that it tells common sense Americans that we want to get rid of the impediments to excellence that the liberals have built. Right now, we’re fed up with Washington. Telling voters that we intend to turn up the heat on these organizations is a winning message. Frankly, Fred and Rudy are the only people that’ve talked about that, with Fred having talked about it far more than Rudy.

You certainly don’t hear Obama or Clinton talking about getting rid of these bloated bureaucracies. I haven’t heard John McCain or Mike Huckabee talk about changing Washington. I just now read something that Mitt Romney intends on changing Washington, something that I’m skeptical about. (Guys who sign socialized health care aren’t generally the change agents we need.)

At the end of the day, Fred’s the only person with the credibility and the wherewithal to change Washington. That’s why his assault on the nutty wing of the Democratic Party is so refreshing.

It’s time we gave Fred the opportunity to ridicule Democrats for the next eight years.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Earlier this year, we heard about two military veterans announce their candidacies for elected office here in Minnesota’s Second and Third Districts as Democrats. Based on Mark Brunswick’s article, some inside the DFL think that all it takes to win elective office is a Bronze Star resume:

Sarvi campaign manager Eileen Weber said Sarvi’s service will effectively neutralize Kline’s military stature.

“If there is a picture of John Kline standing with a soldier who won a Bronze Star, well, we have our own candidate who has his own Bronze Star,” she said.

As Mr. Brunswick points out, it takes more than a military background to win elections:

Yet if recent history is any gauge, vet status is no guarantee of victory. In 2006, Democrats heavily recruited veterans, and most of those who became known as the “Fighting Dems” went down to defeat. A lack of campaign experience was widely blamed.

One of the successful exceptions was DFLer Tim Walz, a retired command sergeant major with the Minnesota National Guard, who defeated Republican Gil Gutknecht in the First Congressional District. Walz served in Italy with his battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

John Kline is more than just a retired soldier. He’s a fiscal conservative who opposes tax increases. Democrats think that a military resume makes their candidates bullet-proof. It doesn’t. It simply means that they’ve served in the military. It doesn’t even mean that these vets are national security experts. It doesn’t even mean that they aren’t pacifists:

One sign of the complexities facing veteran candidates is that both Sarvi and Madia find their nuanced views on Iraq are often a hard-sell to ravenous DFL delegates eager for a quick and complete pullout.

Both Sarvi and Madia advocate pulling most troops out of Iraq but say an immediate withdrawal would be unwise. Madia advocates a force of American troops, with assistance from a multinational force, to protect workers and diplomats who remain and to prevent ethnic cleansing. Sarvi advocates tying military funding to a concrete exit plan from the Pentagon and says the Bush administration’s focus on Iraq (with Kline’s support) has hurt U.S. foreign policy elsewhere. He adds that human rights
violations against detainees in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison have compromised American values.

I’m betting that Madia won’t make it to the general election because he’s running against anti-war Terri Bonoff. That puts him at odds with DFL activists. That’s what’s making Teri Bonoff the DFL’s darling.

As for Sarvi, he doesn’t stand a chance against John Kline. He’s this year’s sacrificial lamb being offered up for slaughter. MN-2 is John Kline’s seat for as long as he wants it.

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It’s a crisp appeal. For those who aren’t totally sold on their guy, I strongly suggest you take a long, hard look at this YouTube video. It talks about Fred’s underlying principles to governance, his national security qualifications, his stance on the judiciary’s construct, taxes and fiscal responsibility. In short, it’s a comprehensive case for who he’d be if he wins next November.

In the end, isn’t it more important to get the right guy with the right policies than it is to pick a guy with a big bankroll and little credibility?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s the title of this CNN Political Ticker article. Suffice it to say that it’s devastating in terms of undercutting Romney’s credibility. Here’s the biggest example of Romney’s credibility gap:

Romney started the year with a similar example of candor deficiency.

On Jan. 8, when he staged a “National Call Day” to kickoff his campaign, he called a news conference to herald his unprecedented one-day take of $6.5 million. When the multimillionaire was asked whether he might spend his own money on his campaign, Romney said that scenario “would be akin to a nightmare,” since he was relying on popular support for his campaign. He added that he reserved the right to donate, though.

In reality, Romney had already donated to his political committee at the time of the question. A campaign finance report he released in mid-April revealed he contributed a $2.35 million check by the time of his “nightmare” comment, starting the prior October.

He has gone on to loan a total of $17.35 million to his committee, although the total could be more. His next report won’t be made public until mid-January.

To have him say that donating to his campaign was a nightmare scenario after he’d written a $2.35 million check to his campaign is the type of thing that Team Clinton would pound him with. In the heat of a general election, the agenda media would join in in asking for a clarification.
That’s only one example of what CNN and MSNBC surely have waiting for him. Here’s another troubling quote that’s sure to make him look like a phony:

In April, Romney said, “I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life,” only to have aides reveal he had gone hunting only twice at the bookends of his life: once, during a summer visit to an Idaho ranch as a 15-year-old, and again, in 2006, when he participated in a big-donor excursion to a Georgia game preserve on behalf of the Republican Governors Association.

A subsequent check with state officials revealed no hunting license for Romney in any of the three states where he has homes, and Romney himself later confirmed he did not own any guns. The ones in his house, which he had mentioned publicly, were owned by his son Josh.

These quotes will be used to highlight his untrustworthiness. That’s their first step. Their next step will be to say that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be listened to because you can’t be certain that he’ll keep his promises. That’s something that’ll resonate with alot of voters, especially in the heartland.

That’s why I believe that Mitt Romney is an electoral disaster waiting to happen. Voters have seen too many politicians that are self-serving corruption machines. More than anything else, people are yearning for straight-talking candidates. That’s why McCain’s gathered momentum. It isn’t that people agree with him on all the issues. Clearly, they don’t. What they find appealing about him is that he’s a straight talker.

What’s odd is that Romney’s campaign would put out an advertisement criticizing McCain on immigration. That’s something else that the CNN article chastizes Romney about:

Similarly, Romney accuses McCain of backing an immigration bill this year that provided “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, even though it required them to pay fines and stand in line with legal immigrants if they wanted to become citizens.

Romney bases his criticism on the bill’s inclusion of a so-called “Z” visa that, once obtained, would have allowed illegals to remain indefinitely if they did not pursue citizenship. Among the bill’s backers was his party leader, President Bush. Yet in March 2006, Romney sounded sympathetic to the idea of integrating illegals into U.S. society.

“I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country,” Romney told The Sun of Lowell, Mass. “(T)hose that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.”

There isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between where Romney was as Massachusetts’ governor and where McCain was this summer. If there is a difference, I’d love to see someone explain it to me in 50 words or less because I don’t think it’s possible.

People talk about whether this election is a change election or an experience election. I think it’s both and neither. More than anything else, I think it’s a credibility election.

That isn’t the type of election that’d benefit Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It’s the type of election that favors Fred Thompson, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. I’m not suggesting that Obama isn’t honest. I’m saying that he’s so inexperienced that he doesn’t have credibility on the biggest issues of the day.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

One of the really delightful things about watching Fred Thompson’s campaign is seeing his candid opinions. They aren’t at all what you’d expect in the heat of a presidential campaign. Here’s the perfect example of Fred’s honesty from his appearance on FNS:

WALLACE: But, Senator, and you do point out that you have a considerable edge in foreign policy experience over Romney and Huckabee and Giuliani, but if voters are really looking at that, doesn’t John McCain have an edge over you?

He’s been at the center of every national security debate in this country for more than a decade.

THOMPSON: I can’t argue with that. John has vast experience. He served on the Armed Services Committee for longer than I served in the Senate, no question about that. I was able to serve in some areas that John did not serve in, but his overall service has been longer and he’s been involved for a long time.

I think that we have to have someone of experience in that area, and someone with sound conservative principles, and someone who has been there consistently for a long period of time.

John and I have some honest disagreements with regard to some domestic issues. We’ve looked at things a little differently over the years on some important things, so that has to be figured into the mix also. But if you’re strictly talking about national security, you certainly cannot avoid the fact that John McCain has vast experience.

When’s the last time you saw competitors for a presidential nomination talk in such respectful tones? I don’t remember the last time. If there’s anything that’s an automatic disqualifier for me, it’s a candidate’s lack of candor. If they aren’t consistent, if they’re evasive, then I won’t give them a second look.

You can’t argue that McCain or Thompson haven’t been candid. The only thing you can do is say that you disagree with McCain on the issues.

Another thing that’s clear from this interview is Fred’s respect for Mitt Romney isn’t the same as Fred’s respect for McCain:

WALLACE: Let me ask you about the other person who’s leading you in the polls. Do you think Mitt Romney is prepared to be president and has a consistent record as a conservative?

THOMPSON: Well, that’s two different questions. Clearly, as far as the conservative issue is concerned, he’s changed his mind and he’s changed his position on a lot of different things. Most of them have to do with basic conservative principles.

He went out of his way to point out that he was not to be affiliated with Reagan-Bush in times past, and now he quotes president Reagan at the drop of a hat. So he’s changed his basic philosophy with regard to a lot of things like taxes and the original immigration proposal, and I could go on and on as far as that’s concerned.

Difficult to pin Mitt down as to exactly what he does fundamentally believe and which of those beliefs he would stick with through thick and thin in the future when the strong winds are blowing.

Now, as far as…it’s not for me to judge a person’s fitness. It’s just objectively clear that Mitt does not have any foreign relation experience and doesn’t have any experience with dealing with matters of national security.

He’s got vast experience in the business community, been very successful, and I’m sure he’s been a good manager. So all of us have things to bring to the table.

And I point out my background. I’ve had an opportunity to help cut taxes and pass welfare reform, balance the budget, fight for conservative judges. I had a 100 percent pro-life voting record. I was on the Intelligence Committee. I chaired an important committee dealing with some of these problems.

I was the Republican floor manager for the homeland security bill, which I like to think has had something to do with the fact we haven’t been attacked again since September 11th. That’s my background.

After I left the Senate, Condoleezza Rice asked me to chair an advisory board to her, to advise her on international security matters. So I do understand the nature of the world we live in and the challenges we face.

What’s great about that answer is that Fred briefly explained his differences with Romney, then turned it around to state his qualifications for being a great president. He took a quick, though veiled, jab at Mitt’s flip-flops before taking the time to essentially say “I’m the right guy for this job.”

It’s interesting that Fred didn’t break Reagan’s Eleventh Commnadment. That’s the type of coolheadedness that we need as president.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

People have seen this Fred quote all day. Unfortunately, it’s taken badly out of context. Fred posted a clarification on his FredFile blog. First, here’s the out-of-context quote:

Fred Thompson said Saturday he does not much like the modern form of presidential campaigning and that he “will not be devastated” if he doesn’t win the election.

“I’m not particularly interested in running for president,” Thompson said, but rather he feels called to serve his country.

Here’s Fred’s answer in context:

Q: My only problem with you and why I haven’t thrown all my support behind you is that I don’t know if you have the desire to be President. If I caucus for you next week, are you still going to be there two months from now?

…In the first place I got in the race about the time people normally get into it historically. The fact of the matter is that others started the process a lot earlier this time than they normally do. I think it was for some of them when they were juniors in high school.

APPLAUSE

That is a very good question, not because it’s difficult to answer, because, but I’m gonna answer it in a little different way than what you might expect.

In the first place, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this if i didn’t. I grew up very modest circumstances. I left government, I and my family have made sacrifices for me to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I’m doing this. I figure that to be clean you’ve got to cut everything off. And I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a tv show, I had a contract with abc radio like I was talking about earlier and so forth. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing at all if he didn’t want to do it.

But I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president that they can have.

When this talk first started, it didn’t originate with me. There were a lot of people around the country both directly and through polls, liked the idea of me stepping up. And of course, you always look better at a distance, I guess.

But most of those people are still there and think its a good idea. But I approached it from the standpoint of a deal. A kind of a marriage. If one side of a marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, it probably ain’t going to be a very good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing. In this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, then you have an opportunity to do some wonderful things together.

I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that I have the background, the capability, and the concern to do this and I’m doing it for the right reasons. But I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president.

Nowadays, the process has become much more important than it used to be. I don’t know that they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don’t know that they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. But nowadays, it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure in the world we live in today it’s a terribly good thing if a president has too much fire in the belly. I approach life differently than a lot of people. People, I guess, wonder how I’ve been as successful as I’ve been in everything I’ve done. I won two races in TN by 20 point margins, a state that Bill Clinton carried twice. I’d never run for office before. I’ve never had an acting lesson and I guess that’s obvious by people who’ve watched me. But when they made a movie about a case that I had when I took on a corrupt state administration as a lawyer and beat them before a jury. They made a movie about it and I wound up playing myself in the movie and yeah I can do that.

And when I did it, I did it. Wasn’t just a lark. Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing well. But I’ve always been a little bit more laid back than most. I like to say that I’m only consumed by very, very few things and politics is not one of them. The welfare of our country and our kids and grandkids is one of them.

If people really want in their president a super type-a personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about for years how they could achieve the Presidency of the United States, someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning, I ain’t that guy. So I hope I’ve discussed that and hope I haven’t talked you out of anything. I honestly want – I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances than achieving the presidency under false pretenses. I go out of my way to be myself because I don’t want anybody to think they are getting something they are not getting. I’m not consumed by this process I’m not consumed with the notion of being President. I’m simply saying I’m willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it if I’m in sync with the people and if the people want me or somebody like me. I’ll do what I’ve always done in the rest of my life and I will take it on and do a good job and you’ll have the disadvantage of having someone who probably can’t jump up and click their heels three times but will tell you the truth and you’ll know where the President stands at all times.

Here’s a final shot at the USA Today correspondent:

Incidentally, the audience in Burlington broke into applause in the middle of my answer. The reporter wouldn’t know that because she wasn’t even there.

What’s interesting is the opening to the USA Today article and its first update:

Bill Theobald of Gannett News Service has been following Republican Fred Thompson around Iowa. In a dispatch today from Burlington, Bill quotes the former Tennessee senator as saying he doesn’t like modern campaigning, isn’t that interested in running for president and “will not be devastated” if he doesn’t win.

Update at 2:45 p.m. ET: Bill calls to clarify that Thompson said he doesn’t like the process of running for president but he does want to BE president. He told the Burlington audience he would not have given up his acting career and time with his family to run if that were not the case.

Question for my readers: How can you first put the incendiary comment into an article, then call the office and give them the real quote?

Count this as just one of the tricks that the Agenda Media will play to put a candidate on the defensive. Perhaps that’s why their readership is shrinking?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Mitt Romney’s foreign policy inexperience got exposed during his latest appearance on Hannity & Colmes. Here’s what he said that conservatives will find alarming:

LOWRY: Governor, how important is foreign policy experience? Because that was an issue out on the trail today, John McCain talking about how much experience he has working with these…these issues. Why shouldn’t voters turn to a candidate who’s been marinating in these kind of issues over the last few decades?

ROMNEY: Well, if we want somebody who has a lot of experience in foreign policy, we can simply go to the State Department and pluck out one of the tens of thousands of people who work there. They, of course, have been doing foreign policy all their careers.

But that’s not how we choose a president. A president is not a foreign policy expert. A president is a leader who understands how to make difficult decisions and does so in a way that brings together the best voices, that considers the upsides and downsides and predicts the credibility and the strength that America has always projected in circumstances like this.

First, a wartime president’s first instinct in facing a crisis like Pakistan’s shouldn’t be to “go to the State Department and pluck out one of the tens of thousands of people who work there.” That’s a horrible idea. The smarter idea would be to convene a meeting with your national security team, especially including the director of the NSA, the DCI, the DNI, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the vice president.

Secondly, wartime presidents are foreign policy experts. They must have a solid command of the details. In fact, we’d be getting a foreign policy expert as president if we elected Fred Thompson or John McCain.

Mitt Romney appears clueless when it comes to foreign policy. Here’s another statement that he made that boggles the mind:

One of our great foreign policy presidents was Ronald Reagan, who even though he had not spent years in the Senate, understood a vision of what we had to do to overcome the greatest threat of the last half of the last century, and was able to bring together the various experts and the various viewpoints and sort them through and take action that led America to be successful in that great…that great challenge that we faced then.

Ronald Reagan wasn’t the foreign policy novice that Mitt portrays him as. By the time Reagan started running for president, he’d studied the USSR for over a decade. During that time, he’d written about them and given speeches on them. He’d even devised a detailed plan to topple them. The truth is that his foreign policy skills were lightyears ahead of anyone else’s.

Another thing that must be refuted is that Ronald Reagan didn’t “bring together the various experts and the various viewpoints and sort them through” before making a decision. More often than not, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He had a very sharp mind. He also had an underlying philosophy. I’ve looked but I haven’t detected what Mitt’s underlying philosophy on foreign policy is. in fact, I’m not convinced he has an underlying philosophy on anything.

I haven’t seen proof that Gov. Romney has thought a fraction as much as Reagan had about foreign policy. In fact, this is Mitt’s attempt to downplay the significance of foreign policy because it’s his weakness.

No amount of advertising will prevent that from being exposed.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Here’s Hillary’s statement on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto:

“The world is once again reminded of the dangers facing those who pursue democracy and free elections in Pakistan and elsewhere, in areas that are rife with conflict and violence and extremeism and anti-democratic forces at work.”

“I have known Benazir Bhutto for a dozen years and I knew her as a leader. I knew her as someone was willing to take a risks to persue democracy on behalf of the people of Pakistan. She wrote a very moving autobiography which begins with the assassination of her father who was had been the leader of Pakistan and was killed as well.”

“I grieve for her family, particularly her two children. And I grieve for the people of Pakistan who deserve to have an opportunity to vote for leaders of their choosing, who deserve to have democracy take root in a country that has tremendous potential that is not being realized because their system of government has oppressed or undermined the abilities and talents of millions of Pakistanis.”

“And I hope that if their is any opportunity for the government and people of Pakistan to respod to this tragedy appropriately, it would be to move more steadfastly and determinately toward democracy. She has given her life for that hope.”

“And I know to the people of our country stand in solidarity with those who believe, as we do, in the rights of people to be heard at the ballot box. We’re about to see that begin in our own country in just a week, and so it is a particularly poignat moment for us to extend our sympathy and condolensces to the Bhutto family and to the people of Pakistan. And I certainly will do anything I can to support the continuing efforts to democratzie a very important and critical nation to the future of that region and the world.”

It’s a nice-sounding tribute to a fallen leader. Jim Hoft from Gateway Pundit points out that Hillary got some important facts badly wrong:

** Benazir Bhutto’s father was hanged- not assassinated.
** Benazir Bhutto had 3 children, not 2.

I’d say it’s a major mistake to say that a world leader’s father was assassinated when the reality is that he was hanged for “conspiring to murder the father of dissident politician.”

It’s amazing that the mighty NY Times hasn’t caught that gaffe. It’s even more amazing that a lowly pajama-wearing blogger hacking away at his keyboard got it right. The most amazing thing is that a top-tier presidential candidate in a major political party got something like that so badly wrong.

It’s a good thing we’ve got an Army Of Davids holding Hillary and the Agenda Media accountable.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative