by Ted Manna
American Reporter Correspondent
Castle Rock, Colo.
Oct. 14, 2007
NO LEFT TURN FOR MITT ROMNEY
DENVER, Oct. 14, 2007 -- What in the world is the GOP thinking?
In 21st Century newspeak, conservative Republicans are "centrist" and liberal Democrats are "progressive," so all candidates must tread lightly lest they rile the extremist fringes. Yet the two Republican presidential frontrunners, if nominated, threaten to decimate the party. The evangelical Christian right has threatened to form a third party if poll-leading Rudy Giuliani gets the Republican presidential nomination. Whole states could defect if Mitt Romney gets the nod, and even he believes he lacks name recognition in most of the country. It's as if the Republican Party is offering up a sacrificial lamb to the 2008 election altar in order to regroup for 2012.>
Romney, arguably the one candidate who most embodies core Republican values, made a rare stop in Colorado Thursday, and more than made up for his absence, answering tough questions, willingly, and winningly. He defended his stance on controversial campaign issues in an open "Town Hall" forum at the University of Denver Law School, his 15th event in Colorado, compared to 462 appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire. He is no sacrificial lamb. With a $200-million personal fortune, a 300-watt smile that melts resistance and the rugged good looks of a made-for-tv frontrunner, he is an unbelievable salesman and the consummate diplomat - no mean set of attributes in today's world. Like his father, former Michigan governor and 1968 presidential candidate George Romney, for him the road to the White House runs through the governor's mansion - as it has for three other former governors named Bush, Clinton and Carter.
Republicans have history on their side, at least as they see it. Both Romney and Giuliani say know how to run a government, compared to the two Democratic U.S. Senators they seem most likely to face off against. They both know what it's like to look at the bottom line and sharpen a pencil, but while Giuliani claims he adheres to a conservative fiscal approach, his views on abortion and traditional family values are decidedly liberal. Romney, elected a Republican governor in heavily Democratic Massachusetts on the basis of his pro-choice stand on abortion and his support of same-sex partnerships, now places himself solidly among the ranks of the Christian right on both of these issues, while distancing himself from the mistakes of the current Administration. It's decidedly the better place to be for someone who wants to win the votes of conservative Republican primary voters. "I don't think for a minute that the American people want to turn left with Big Brother, big taxes and big government," he told the American Reporter in an interview before the forum. "I am not planning on being a sacrificial lamb. I am planning on winning this election." Romney believes his strength lies in getting people to know him and that voters will make their decision based on "who will actually keep us safer and who will make sure we have a stronger economy with good jobs," not on "the sins of the past," he said. "I'm not happy with some of the things the Republicans have done in Washington and the Congress," he confessed, "but the change is going to begin with us." Romney, widely recognized for his accomplishments in the business sector and as head of the Olympic Games (he replaced the head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics after a huge financial scandal) and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, admitted getting his message out is harder because he is not a "household name."
His focus will be on the early primaries, hoping to build momentum to the nomination. That and working to forge an alliance between the powerful conservative right wing of the party, whose support helped elect President George W. Bush in the last two elections, and the huge group of undecided voters in the "purple states," he said. "The states that are deep blue will stay deep blue," he said, "and the states that are bright red will stay bright red. I think I can win those key purple states like Michigan because of my views on manufacturing, and other states like Colorado. "I was encouraged by the fact that James Dobson [leader of Focus on the Family] said he could not support Mayor Giuliani or [ex-Sen.] Fred Thompson, but is keeping the door open to supporting me. That's about as good as it gets at this stage and I hope we get more and more support as time goes on." Romney did not flinch from answering some hard questions on immigration, gay rights, the war and veteran's benefits, and health care and showed he is aware of the problems facing the country as it seeks to lead the rest of the world, citing three major issues facing us now - radical jihad, Asia and domestic problems. Romney said he believes a strong America is best for peace, and that means strength in family values, the economy and the military. "America's heart is sound and strong," he told a packed audience of mostly white, well-heeled students and supporters. "America's best days are ahead of her. Our technology leads the world. We have great capital resources. "We simply have to have leaders who will tell us the truth, lay out a vision of where we have to go and actually lead us to get there." The overwhelming question on everyone's mind, however, remains whether Romney can rise above the religion question - he is a Mormon, a controversial religious minority. He is like Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in that respect. They are all blazing new paths in the political world not because of what they believe but because of their gender, race and religion. The former Governor, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and Baker Scholar at Harvard Business School, has amassed an impressive list of supporters here in Colorado, including former Congressman and U.S. Senate nominee Bob Beupreaux, former governor Bill Owens and Bruce Benson, a fundraiser and former gubernatorial candidate. In remarks to The American Reporter after the Forum, Beaupreaux professed a friendship and admiration for the candidate he is now advising and supporting. "He is the one candidate you wouldn't mind living next to you, " he said. "I like the guy and I think when people get to know him they will realize he has the skill-set to be the next president. "We don't worry about his being a Mormon here in the West because we understand the Mormon faith, the Mormon church and even more importantly, the Mormon people." Beaupreaux said he believes there are only two viable candidates left in the Republican race - Romney and Giuliani. "Fred Thompson has peaked. [U.S. Rep.] Tom Tancredo, I love him, I respect him for what he did for the immigration issue. but he can't win. John McCain is done. Who wouldn't want to vote for Mitt Romney?"