Tancredo at ITR/ICA forum

Most of the media (myself included) missed the opening couple of minutes of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo because Mitt Romney held a media avail after his speech (and many of the people in the room left, skipping Tancredo’s and Hunter’s speeches).  (I’ll post on Romney’s avail later.)

Tancredo was praising people in the room for opposing the immigration reform bill in the Senate when we all returned.  Then, Tancredo criticized the tendency to market conservatism by marrying an adjective or prefix with the word conservative, as in "neoconservative" or "compassionate conservative."

Tancredo was especially harsh in his assessment of "compassionate conservative" George W. Bush. 

"A simple, inconvenint truth has emerged," Tancredo said, borrowing the title of the Al Gore movie. Tancredo criticized Bush not only for immigration reform, but for other initiatives, such as the prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.

Despite his previous statements, Tancredo then called himself an "unapologetic conservative," a declaration that got him applause from the crowd.

"…Genuine conservatism has nothing to apologize for," Tancredo continued.  "…It doesn’t need an adjective. It needs a leader."

"It needs a leader that will oppose abortion not just because Iowa Caucus-goers oppose abortion…but because God said: ‘I knew you when you were in the womb.’  He wasn’t talking about a mass of cells.  He was talking about you and you and you," Tancredo said, pointing to people in the audience.  The applause rose.

Tancredo said the country needs a strong national defense "because our enemies are psycho and our allies are the French."

Tancredo returned to immigration.  "The first part of illegal immmigration is illegal," Tancredo said, to applause.

Tancredo used his "road to Damascus versus road to Des Moines" line again to criticize rivals who he accused of making late conversions to conservative principles.

Tancredo grew huge applause for urging the audience to ask the other candidates the following:  "Are you willing to deport millions of people who are here illegally?…That is the law."

He criticized candidates who run campaign ads in Spanish.  He suggested Bush should go to the Justice Dept and get the agency to file criminal charges against mayors and city councilmen that turn their cities in to sanctuaries.

One of the loudest and longest snatches of applause from the crowd came when Tancredo promised that if he’s elected, he’ll pardon the INS agents who’re in prison for a confrontation with illegal immigrants at the US/Mexico border.  "Not a single one of these so-called top tier candidates will do it," Tancredo added over the rolling applause.

Tancredo declared himself the "real deal."

"With Bill Clinton already measuring the drapes in the White House, conservatives cannot afford to sit this one out," Tancredo said, to laugher and applause.

"Charge into the breach with me…This is our counry.  Take it back, " Tancredo concluded.

The forum sponsors then asked for specific answers to their six questions.  Tancredo was cut off as he answered the last, as his 30 minutes had elapsed.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. bjalder26 says

    Tom’s good on illegal immigration, but he just can’t stop criticizing other republicans. He sure doesn’t take after Ronald Regan.