Iowa GOP Lincoln Unity Dinner — Tancredo, Gilmore, Brownback, Thompson & McCain

The previous post below was the "live blog" about the first batch of Republican presidential candidates who spoke this evening to the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Unity Dinner in Des Moines.  There was a prayer, and now the 1000 people in the hall are eating their pork loin meal. 

Now, back for the after-dinner "Round II" of presidential candidates:

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo:

"Tom Tancredo could not be here tonight.  I’m St4eve King," Tancredo began, alluding to his likeness to western Iowa’s Republican congressman   

He mentioned a joke that Conan O’Brien told.  O’Brien listed how much all the Democratic presidential candidates raised — and that Tom Tancredo had raised two children.  "But what Conan was confiding that night is that it’s far more important to have raised money or children for that matter.  Well, I don’t believe it.  I won’t believe it, then if that’s true then corporate America has won and great people of this country have lost."

Americans have paid a high price….(for)…a "gutless" congress, according to Tancredo.  He then launched into immigration issue.

"We are destroying the concept of citizenshpi…We are the last best hope of civilization and that hope is being sold to the highest bidder in Washington," he said.

"What can I do? The answer to me is I will run for president of the United States. "Friends, we have many good men in this race.  Many have also recently converted to our cause." (There was an audible ahhh from the audience).  "But their conversations have occured not on the Road to Damascus but on the road to Des Moines."

"They have spent a lifetime on the other side….These candidates now want us to believe that they’ve seen the light but I think they lack the political courage to solve this crisis."

As president, what will you do about 20 million illegal immigrants?…(Their) answers are always amnesty…They look for other ways around it…fines they would impose…"This is an outrageous public policy that will only encourage more illegal activity."…Why should they wait and go through all of the brain damage, to work through the materials, to spend the money to get here the right way…when others come here the wrong way.  It’s lousy public policy."  The audience applauded.

"There is an answer to this question.  The solution I bring to you is very controversial and people cringe."…(It is) "summed up in three words:  enforce the law." The audience applauded.

"If we enforce the law…and we can….we simply choose not to…and if we go after employers that are creating the magnet that pulls people in….we do not have to round people up and put them on trucks…if you enforce the law, people who are here illegally go home…because the job is no longer available and if they don’t you must deport them because that is the law." The audience applauded.

"I’m afraid that the great american melting pot is broken….We refuse to make our immigrants learn English…These people are looked on as cheap workers for big business."

"There is some irony here when we are told we need these workers to support an aging society, yet we have allowed"..(innocent babies to be killed in abortions).  "Instead, of course, we are seeking to replace the missing with an imported servant class."

"Too many Democrats want more Democratic voters and too many Republicans want big business campaign contributions."  The audience applauded.

"As president, I will secure the borders…fight to make English the official language"…(but) never amnesty for illegal aliens. 

Talked about border agents convicted of shooting illegal at the border.  Promised to grant pardon to those agents if he’s elected president. There was loud applause for this.

"I will guarantee you that I will prosecute the law….I will guarantee that illegal workers will never get Social Security checks."…He rejected a North American union…"By the way, unless the United Nations stops becoming simply a debating society for anti-Ameridan rhetoric, I’m going to show them the door." (Even louder applause.)

Talked about appointment of judges to SupCo.

"We are a nation at war.  It’s not a war we started nor is it a war against terrorism…we are at war against radical Islam….it’s not a war we started.  It’s a war we must finish and it’s tough when your enemies are psycopaths and your allies are the French." (Big laughter from crowd.)

"Everything we are…is under attack….Our leaders…refuse to do their jobs."  He says the country threatened…."We cannot afford to fail.  This is our culture.  Fight for it.  This is our country.  Take it back.  Thank you."

Most everyone stood to applaud.

Next, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore:

"I want to congratulate you," he began.  "…It seems like the entire nation still respects the Iowa Caucus."

Gilmore suggested he’ll be back to Iowa next week with an announcement.

He talked about his biography.  Got his first applause when bragging he’ll celebrate his 40th wedding anniversay next week.

Next, came his shot at Fred Thompson.  Gilmore said he’d been elected chief prosecutor in VA, emphasis on elected.

"Many people, you know, will tell you know what they really want is somebody who’s played a prosecutor on t.v.," Gilmore joked.  But I don’t think so.  I think the American people would rather have the same thing, somebody who’s actually stood up in a courtroom and stood up for the people as a real prosecutor."

Talked about terrorism, 9/11.  He was governor of Virginia on 9/11.  "The second state attacked on 9/11 was Virginia because the Pentagon is in Virginia," he said.

"I understand what it means to be in the firing line when terrorism is visited on our communities," Gilmore said.

He touted his conservative credentials, and then took a swipe at three rivals – by marrying their names in the following bite, seeming to morph Rudy Giuliani, John McCain & Mitt Romney into one person, too:

"Rudy McRomney is not a conservative and he knows he’s not a conservative," Gilmore said.

The crowd kind of gasped.  A few laughed.  A few applauded. One guy near the press area said "Wow," very loudly.

"I absolutely believe that the people of the United States are entitled to someone who will be truthful and will give you integrity," Gilmore said, near the end of his speech.  Gilmore described himself as a consistent conservative…."not someone who’s come just recently to the cause."

Gilmore then lobbed some verbal shots at the Democratic candidates.

He closred with his analysis of "Republicanism."

"If we stand for freedom…and safety for all Americans, then we will win this race," Gilmore closed.


Next, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback:

"Tonight I get to wind up in my home state of Kansas where we have a lot of snow."

Showed two props:  a piece of carpet made from corn (corn products are good) and the Internal Revenue Code (IRS is  bad).

"This should be taken behind the barn and killed with a dull ax," Brownback said, to applause and laughter.

I’m the son of a Kansas farmer…running on party principles of faith, family, freedom.

"They are the path forward for us as a country," he said. "…We shpould celebrate them, not walk away from them."

The most impressive person I ever met — a little woman…who cared for millions of people…Mother Teresa.  She was a lady of faith.  We gave her Congressional Gold Medal — she asked if she could melt it down and sell the gold and give money to the poor…We suggested auctioning it…She was powered by faith…When she left, she told me about her faith in three words:  All for Jesus.

"It was faith that powered her and faith is a good thing…it’s not something that we should rum out of the public square," he said.

"We’re in a time of trial and peril." ..We’re fighting a war against Islamic facists.  For the sake of our children…I beseech you not to lose this war.  Please, we can’t do that.

Marriage between a man and woman must survive.

"What Don Imus said is wrong and I’ll let others determine whether the punishment and the crime fit, but for goodnes sake, let’s stop having billion dollar record companies target market the same language to teenagers through music.  Is that right?" The crowd applauded.  "I think we need to shine a light on some in the entertainment industry and the music industry in particular that profit from celebrating and glorifying the degrdation of women.

"I call on musicindustry companies…to pull all their music that uses the same words that Don Imus was fired for," he said.  Lots of applause.  "If we did it in one place, it should bwe done in another and maybe some of the corporate executives of these companies should have some of their bonuses cut for using suc demeaning vulgarities to make profits while hurting kids," he said.  More applause.

He said there’s a central conservative truth:  culture and not politics determines the future of a society.

"We need a culture that does not corrode and does not corrupt, but one that uplifts and affirms in order to encourage goodness so that we might continue our greatness."

Pro-life message;  "Let us as a party never lose our respect or willingess to fight for the least of these.  It’s a central principle around which we have built this party."

"We are party based on principles, not personalities. and that’s why I run.  I run to carry these principles forward." 

Next, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson:

"I don’t know about you, but I was there listening to all of the speakers,and you know something I was proud to be a Republican.  I was proud to be a Republican," Thompson began.

"I was proud because we have talent in this party and I am so sick of those pessimists in congress, those liberal Ds who get up in the morning who suck grapefruit all day.".

"We got beat the last election.  We went to Washington to change Washington and I think Washington changed us." (Denounced profligate spending.)

Talked about his biography….told joke with punchline coffee good for you now, especially for you drinkers, because it coats your liver.

Another joke, punchline "eat and drink what you like, speaking English is apparently what kills you,"

Republican party…needs to get back to big ideas….Republicans, you know, sometimes get in a little fear, a little afraid of doing things….Democrats run like conservatives….and Republicans are the true conservatives….

Talked about governorship of Wisconsin.  "I’ve always been the underdog and I always out-work and out-organize and that’s why I’m in Iowa," Thompson said.  "I’m here every week to see you, look you in the eye and tell you I’m for real. I’m a consistent conservative."

Talked abou welfare reform, school choice, outlined his Iraq plan.

"I look beyond whether or not the surge is right or wrong.  I look around and see nobody is talking about how to build the peace or build Iraq," Thompson said

"A common sense Republcian plan that will build the peace in Iraq and help to stailize the Middle Eat," .

Talked about the power of medical diplomacy, his tax plan…

Talked about members of his family who’ve battled cancer, of his daughter serving as a surrogate mother for his other daughter (who couldn’t conceive because of cancer drugs)…..

"We need to continue our principles, our ideas and our ideals,"

Ended with Irish blessing.  Lots of applaudeing.

And finally, Arizona Senator John McCain:

"Well, thank all of your hardy souls.  Told the Gabor joke…the I’m from Arizona joke….the I didn’t want to be VP in 2000 joke.

"Thank you for your tenacity and your battling of fatigue and I will make relatively brief remarks."

(He did!)  After briefly talking about his pro-life record, he launched into a discussion of Iraq.

"I want to talk to you, obviously about….this twilight struggle against the force of evil…people who have taken an honorable religiousn and perverted it." 

"We will be fighting them in many places in the world.  We will never surrvender.  They will."  Audience applauded.

"Right now I’m sure you know the battle ground….is in Iraq and things are tough.  this war has been mismanaged very badly…but the fact is we are..and we can and will prevail….it’s tough. it’s hard,.  it’s difficult….they’re not safe, but they’re safer." 

"There are some signs of success…and let’s remember what kind of an ememy we have.  Their ultimate goal is not Iraq.  Their ultimate goal is us…and if we leave, they will follow us home."

"My friends, this is a great evil that we are facing.  The Democrats want to withdraw.  .There is no way that we couuld prevail if we announced a date for withdrawal…There’s only one commander in chief and that’s George W Bush and I support him." Applause.

"If the Democrats really awnted to stop, they have the authoritiy to cut off funding tomorrow but they won’t do that because then they would have responsibility for the consequences."

He closed with the story of a soldier — a Navy Seal — who was awarded the Purple Heart. 

During a visit to his hospital room, the soldier grabbed McCain’s hand, thanked him for supporting the troops and saying we could dwin the war in Iraq.

"I’ll take his word for it and I’ll take my responsibility….Thank you and God bless," McCain said in closing, as the crowd rose to its feet.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.