Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
Regarded by many as the leading opponent of illegal immigration in Congress, Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado announced today he’s taking a step toward a presidential run with the launch of an exploratory campaign committee.
“I’m going to do so because I believe there is a void in the present panoply of people seeking that office,” Tancredo said this morning on the Fox News Channel program “Fox and Friends.”
Tancredo made the decision after a weekend visit to Iowa to promote his book – “In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security,” by WND Books – and take the pulse of voters in the state that serves as the first test for White House hopefuls.
The congressman said yesterday he’s fully aware he would be in an uphill battle against leading candidates such as Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“It’s delusional to suggest that this would not be anything but a David and Goliath situation, but after all, David won,” Tancredo told the Des Moines Register in an interview published yesterday. “Things like this happen in politics, but no matter what happens, it will force America to focus on these issues.”
Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa insists there’s room in the crowded Republican field for a staunch conservative.
“The repeated message from everyone is there’s still a void out there,” Espinosa told the Rocky Mountain News. “There’s no candidate out there who fits the bill. They don’t believe there’s a true conservative in the race yet.
“That’s the message he’s getting.”
Tancredo, who has launched a new website, TeamTancredo.org, says he’ll highlight other issues beyond immigration, such as energy policy, in a campaign he describes as “the common sense express.”
Joking, he told the Denver paper he wanted people to say, “Yeah, right on, darn right. That guy’s darn right.”
Espinosa emphasized Tancredo will not officially decide whether to enter the race for several months.
As WND reported last month, Tancredo engaged in a war of words with Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush over earlier comments to WND that Miami has become a “Third World country” because of uncontrolled immigration..
Last June, Fox News host Neil Cavuto said. leading into an interview with Tancredo, that “illegals coming into America are sure to be front and center in the next presidential election here and Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo certainly knows it. He owns this issue. And straw polls show that, if he were to run for president, he just might well be president.”
Cavuto asked Tancredo: “Over the months I have talked to you, as this immigration issue has heated up, your poll numbers have moved up. Will you run for president?”
The congressman responded: “Neil, I will run for president if I cannot get … any of the serious candidates to really take this on. My purpose is to make immigration the focal point of any national debate on a presidential election.”
Tancredo added: “Your responsibility as a candidate for president is to do every single thing you can to tell the people what you believe to be the greatest threats to the nation and how you would deal with them. And then, you know what? If they buy it, OK, you’re elected. If they don’t, you have done your best.”
The previous night on the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” show, Tancredo spelled out his view of the border issue: “Mexico is aiding and abetting an invasion of this country. They are part of the problem. In fact, they are creating situations along that border, using their own military, to protect drug trafficking into the United States, pushing their own people into the United States for a variety of reasons. It is an invasion.”
In his book, Tancredo says America is following in the tragic footsteps of Rome, and without strong, moral leadership; a renewed sense of purpose; a rededication to family and community; protecting borders, language and culture; the nation that once was “the land of the free and home of the brave” and the “one last best hope of mankind” will repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the past.