Early life and political career
Tancredo was born in Denver, Colorado to Adeline Lombardi and Gerald Tancredo. Both sets of his grandparents immigrated from Italy. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in political science. While in college, Tancredo was active with the College Republicans and a conservative, nonpartisan organization, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). Tancredo was in favor of the Vietnam War and spoke in support of the conflict as a Republican student activist. He became eligible to serve in Vietnam after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado in June 1969. Tancredo has said he went for his physical, telling doctors he'd been treated for depression, and eventually got a "1-Y" deferment. In 1976, while teaching history at Drake Junior High School in Denver, he ran for and won a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. He served two terms (1977–1981) and was one of the leaders of a vocal group of conservative legislators opposing the policies of Colorado Governor Dick Lamm. During the 1970s, Tancredo pioneered opposition to bilingual education, an issue that would remain a feature of his political orientation.
After Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, Tancredo was appointed by the President to be the regional representative in Denver for the Department of Education. He stayed on from 1981 until 1992, through the first Bush administration, and pared the office's staff from 225 to only 60 employees. In 1993, he became president of the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank based in Golden, Colorado, serving there until his election to Congress. He was also a leader in the Colorado term limits movement.
After Dan Schaefer decided not to run for a seventh full term in the 6th Congressional District in 1998, Tancredo narrowly won the five-way Republican primary and went on to victory in November. He is only the second person to represent the 6th District since its creation in 1983 (former astronaut Jack Swigert was elected as the district's first congressman in 1982, but died before taking office). Despite his promise to serve only three terms in Congress, he later decided to run for a fourth term and won re-election.
A former Roman Catholic, Tancredo is now a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Tancredo is married to Jackie Tancredo. They met at Drake Junior High School as teachers, and married in 1977. They have two children and five grandchildren.
After the Columbine shooting in Colorado, Tancredo gathered resources in order to respond to the Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia. Colorado students made thousands of cards and letters for the Russian children, which Tancredo and his wife passed out to the survivors of the shootings. Tancredo also presented a poster from the Columbine high school students. The poster was displayed on one of the walls in the Beslan school.
Tancredo has said that abortion "compromises the sanctity of life" and "attacks the most vulnerable among us: unborn boys and girls." He does not support the granting of federal funds to "any organization that promotes abortion." He voted in favor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and in favor of legislation requiring parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion. He received a 0% on the NARAL report card, indicating that he votes in Congress on the pro-life side of this issue.
In the first Republican debate held on May 3, 2007, Tancredo agreed that the U.S. Supreme Court should repeal the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, adding that it would be "the greatest day in this country's history."
Tancredo says on his website "The innocent unborn enjoy a God given right to life. Roe is a scar on the moral and intellectual history of the country; but, contrary to popular belief, overturning it would merely permit and not require states to prohibit abortion. To protect life, we also need to educate the public about the second victim of abortion, the mother who is subject to potential life long medical and emotional scarring."
Tom Tancredo is perhaps best known for his opposition to illegal immigration. According to his supporters, he represents the majority of American citizens who support strict enforcement of current U.S. immigration laws. In May 1999, Tancredo founded the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus. He served as its Chairman until January 2007, then turning the chairmanship over to Brian Bilbray
He has received press attention for seeking the deportation of individual illegal immigrant families, such as that of Jesus Apodaca, a high school honor student who publicly complained about having to pay the out-of-state tuition rate at the University of Colorado at Denver because he and his family were not legal residents in the United States.
Tancredo criticized the Denver Public Library system for purchasing reading materials written in Spanish and for offering space for classes to be held for these library users. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper defended the library's policies, as did Congresswoman Diana DeGette.
Tancredo's outspoken advocacy for immigration reform, and particularly his criticism of President George W. Bush's border security controls, have reportedly made him persona non grata in the White House. According to Tancredo, he and Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, got into a "screaming match" after Tancredo claimed that "if the nation suffered another attack at the hands of terrorists able to skirt immigration laws, the blood of the people killed" would be on Bush's and Congress’ hands. Rove responded by calling Tancredo "a traitor to the party" and "a traitor to the president," and warned him to never "darken the doorstep of the White House." Tancredo responded that "the president’s position on immigration is going to hurt [him]. I want the president to win [the 2004 election]. I am not doing any of these things or saying any of these things because I want to hurt the Republican Party or the president". National Review's David Frum wrote that "[n]o issue, not one, threatens to do more damage to the Republican coalition than immigration".
In an interview, Tancredo said his falling out with the White House has lasted. "One reason I am persona non grata at the White House is not just because of immigration," he said, "but because I refuse to support him on his trade policy, his education policy, Medicare and prescription drugs initiatives.... Here was a Republican Congress increasing government to an extent larger than it had been increased since Medicare had come into existence." Tancredo reported that his career in Congress was threatened by the leadership because of his stances. "I was called into Tom Delay’s office because I was supporting Republican challengers to Republican incumbents. I had a group called Team America that went out and did that. He called me and said to me, 'You’re jeopardizing your career in this place by doing these things.' And I said, 'Tom, out of all the things you can threaten with me that is the least effective because I do not look at this place as a career.'"
Tancredo founded the Team America political action committee in 2004 in order to raise contributions for congressional candidates who opposed illegal immigration. Because of campaign law requirements, Tancredo was forced to resign from Team America PAC. The PAC was noted for targeting incumbent Congressman Chris Cannon in the 2006 Republican primary.
On February 3, 2005, Tancredo presented what he proclaimed an "American Patriot Award" to New Ipswich, New Hampshire, Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain for "'taking an extra step to help protect our country’s borders'".
Tancredo said he intends to visit New Hampshire and Iowa, declaring that Bush should “[understand] the threat illegal immigrants pose to the country's security.” Tancredo claims that federal prisons are overflowing with illegal immigrants, some of whom aim to "harm people." Tancredo has said that such individuals "need to be found before it is too late. They're coming here to kill you, and you, and me, and my grandchildren".
Tancredo was an early critic of H-1b expansion. However, his recent votes in that area have been only slightly more restrictive than the average member of Congress and earned a C+ from Americans for Better Immigration, a project of NumbersUSA, in that area of immigration policy.
In 2005, Tancredo sponsored legislation to eliminate H-1B visas for temporary workers.
Americans for Better Immigration has awarded Tancredo a career score of 100% and a career grade of A+ for his opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens , his efforts to eliminate the automatic granting of citizenship to the babies of illegal aliens and for his support of the interior enforcement of United States immigration laws. In 2007, they awarded Tancredo a "Congressional Immigration Reduction Grade" of A+.
On July 30, 2007, Tancredo "criticized Congressional Democrats for eliminating a requirement that anyone applying for Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) services provide proof of U.S. citizenship". Acccording to Tancredo, "[t]he new Democrat plan would raise taxes and make it easier for illegal aliens to obtain taxpayer-funded medical benefits".
Tancredo has made it a point in all of his public speeches to differentiate between those who enter the United States legally and those who come illegally. Many people are surprised when Tancredo frequently attends naturalization ceremonies to support new citizens for "doing it the right way".
He was one of only 33 congressmen to vote against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act because he asserted that its requirement of multilingual ballots would result in a costly unfunded mandate. He was one of a handful of Republicans who voted for a bill proposed by Maurice Hinchey and Dana Rohrabacher to stop the Department of Justice from raiding medical marijuana patients and caregivers in states where medical marijuana is legal, citing states' rights concerns.
On the other hand, he has suggested state legislators and mayors should be imprisoned for passing laws contrary to federal immigration law. He also supports the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban gay marriage nationally, and defended this position by stating a constitutional amendment is the "last resort" to neutralize judicial activism that would legalize gay marriage in courts.
The National Taxpayers Union has awarded Tancredo a grade of A for each year he has served in Congress. Tancredo was awarded a grade of A for votes he cast in 1999 to 2006 inclusively. . Additionally, Tancredo received the National Taxpayers Union's "Taxpayers' Friend Award" in 1999 to 2006 inclusively as well  The award is given by the NTU to those members of Congress that are among "the strongest supporters of responsible tax and spending policies".
Congressman Tancredo's position on Iraq is: "America’s noble sacrifice has purchased Iraqis a precious opportunity for democratic change; it is now up to them to ensure success. Setting the President’s ‘November benchmark for shifting control’ as an actual timetable for disengagement will let regional powers and Iraqi factions cooperate to forge a new balance of power."
Tancredo sponsored the Sudan Peace Act. The Sudan Peace Act says "A viable, comprehensive, and internationally sponsored peace process, protected from manipulation, presents the best chance for a permanent resolution of the war, protection of human rights, and a self-sustaining Sudan". The Act passed the House of Representatives with a 359-8 vote, was passed unanimously in the Senate without amendment seven days later, and was signed into law on November 21, 2002.
Tancredo introduced the Mass Immigration Reduction Act. The act would have imposed an indefinite moratorium on immigration to the United States. About 300,000 total legal immigrants would have been allowed into the country annually for at least the first five years of the act and, after that, until such time as there were fewer than 10,000 illegal immigrants entering per year. When those conditions were met, immigration would only have been allowed at whatever level the president and both houses of Congress agreed would have no adverse impact on wages, housing, the environment, or schools. When last introduced in 2003, the bill had 11 cosponsors. Organizations that have endorsed Tancredo's bill include: NumbersUSA, Population-Environment Balance, Carrying Capacity Network, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Negative Population Growth, and the American Patrol. Tancredo introduced the bill in 1999 (H. R. 41), 2001 (H. R. 2712), and 2003 (H. R. 946). Tancredo did not re-introduce the bill in 2005, but in 2007 he proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to "establish English as the official language of the United States," (H.R. 19).
In 2005, Tancredo introduced a resolution calling on the President to recognize the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and to abandon the One-China policy. He has been critical of the People's Republic of China. This has since been modified and reintroduced as H. Con. Res. 73.
Conservative Political Action Conference
On February 9, 2006, Tancredo addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual conference of the American Conservative Union, speech not available). In a poll conducted of those attending the conference, 5% predicted that Tancredo would be the 2008 nominee.
Fellow Republican State Treasurer Mike Coffman refused to share the stage with Congressman Tancredo at a pro-war rally for the Iraq war in 2003 because of Tancredo's failure to serve in Vietnam. Mike Coffman is a former Marine who was deployed to the first Persian Gulf conflict more than a decade ago. After leaving a Colorado capitol stage in what he described as a personal protest Coffman said "I just didn't feel (Tancredo) had the moral authority to send other young people off to war when he was not willing to go himself." In 1970 after Tancredo's student deferments ran out, he appealed his 1-A draft status, which would have put him at the top of the list for draft eligibility during the Vietnam War. Tancredo was then given a 1-Y status, which put him at the bottom of the list after he reported that he had been treated for mental illness as a teenager. Tancredo said he was diagnosed with depression when he was 16 or 17 and received medication for five years for panic attacks and bouts of anxiety and depression. Because of Tancredo's draft record, Coffman said he specifically asked organizers of the rally whether Tancredo would be speaking.
Tancredo's position on illegal immigration (and on other issues) has brought him some criticism.
On September 11, 2006, in Columbia, South Carolina, Tancredo spoke to a gathering of the "Americans Have Had Enough Coalition", which he had helped found. The League of the South also invited its own members to attend the event, describing Tancredo as their "guest". According to reports, the room in which Tancredo spoke had a prominent picture of Robert E. Lee and was draped with Confederate battle flags. At the closing of the event, men dressed in Confederate military uniforms reportedly began to sing "Dixie".
Several days later, Tancredo came under heavy criticism from a group of Denver ministers for attending the function, which followers of the League of the South also attended. In his defense, Tancredo said, "I gave it [the same speech] in probably five or six different venues, this was just one, all of them were open to the public. I don't check people at the door for their private thoughts."
Tancredo also received negative publicity when the Denver Post reported that two illegal immigrants were among the crew hired to remodel his basement. Tancredo said that he could not have known their immigration status — they were subcontractors hired by the contractors he had hired.
In a November 19, 2006 interview with WorldNetDaily, Tancredo referred to the city of Miami, Florida as a "Third World country." His comments drew strong criticism from numerous political leaders and organizations, including Florida Governor Jeb Bush who, in a letter to the congressman, called Tancredo's remarks "naive." Bush told reporters, "What a nut. I'm just disappointed. He's from my own my party. He's a Republican. He doesn't represent my views." Bush said he moved to Miami with his Mexican-born wife in 1980 because of its diverse cultures, and adds "it's just as American as suburban Denver." Tancredo replied in a letter, "I certainly understand and appreciate your need and desire to try and create the illusion of Miami as a multiethnic 'All American' city," he said. "I can also appreciate ... that the cultural and ethnic diversity of the city offers many advantages to its residents. However, it is neither naďve nor insulting to call attention to a real problem that cannot be easily dismissed through politically correct happy talk."
On December 12, 2006, Tancredo was publicly announced by the Rotary Club of Miami as its guest speaker. The next day, the event was canceled by the restaurant. News reports said, "The manager of the restaurant where Tancredo was to speak, the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne, said Wednesday that the owners didn't want him to appear on Thursday in order to keep up the integrity and reputation of the business. The manager also said staff members objected to working the party where his immigration talk was supposed to be held, some customers threatened to boycott the restaurant, and the restaurant had received bomb threats." Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa said "What is more 'Third World country' than threatening to bomb the place?" Tancredo referred to Miami as having been taken over by "thugs" and "separatists" and declared that "I knew speaking your mind could be dangerous in Havana — I guess it's equally dangerous to do so in Miami. Apparently, there isn't much of a difference between the two anymore."
In another incident, student protests against a Tancredo speech scheduled to be given at the Michigan State University College of Law on November 30, 2006 turned violent. Protestors tried to block Tancredo's speech and police were called when protestors pulled a fire alarm prior to the speech on immigration policy. Michigan State University College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom sponsored the event. Protestors targeted their violence against student backers of the event. According to Tancredo, one of the student backers of the speech "was spit on, one was kicked, and one was punched". Protestors interrupted the speech with loud shouting. Tancredo said protestors organized on the Internet social networking site Facebook and "declared ahead of time on facebook that they would not allow me to speak".
A journalist at RedState has criticised Tancredo for helping to found Planned Parenthood in the 1960s. Tancredo was financed by anti-immigration activist John Tanton, founder of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR was criticised for supporting sterilizations and RU-486 for third world women the one-child policy. FAIR received 1.5 million from a white supremacist group, Pioneer Fund. 
Hypothetical U.S. response to a nuclear attack
During a 2005 radio interview on Orlando talk-radio station WFLA AM 540, Tancredo responded to a questioner asking about the hypothetical U.S. response to a nuclear attack on U.S. cities by al-Qaeda, by saying that one possible response would be to retaliate by "taking out" Muslim holy sites (specifically, Mecca) if it were clearly proven that Islamic terrorists were behind such an attack. Several days later, in an interview on CNN together with James Zogby, Tancredo said that the attack was mentioned merely as a hypothetical response and insisted that there was nothing for which he should apologize. However, during a more recent townhall meeting in Iowa (July 31, 2007), Tancredo said that a threat to bomb Mecca and Medina was "the only thing I can think of" that could deter a nuclear terrorist attack. This statement drew substantial criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations , as well as State Department spokesman Tom Casey, who stated that "To somehow suggest that an appropriate response to terrorism would be to attack sites that are holy and sacred to more than a billion people throughout the world is just absolutely crazy." During the Fox broadcast Republican Presidential Debate on May 15, 2007, he made a statement in passing that the root cause of Islamic terrorism is “a dictate of their religion.” In September of 2007 Tancredo defended his remarks: "I still believe it is something we must consider as a possible deterrent because at the present time there are no negative consequences that would accrue to the people who commit a crime such as a nuclear, chemical or biological attack."
Race-based congressional caucuses
Tancredo spoke out on January 25, 2007, against the continued existence of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Republican Congressional Hispanic Conference. "It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a color-blind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race. If we are serious about achieving the goal of a colorblind society, Congress should lead by example and end these divisive, race-based caucuses."
2008 Presidential election
In February 2005, Tancredo announced he would seek the Republican nomination for president if all other candidates failed to address the illegal immigration problem. He had already visited early primary states such as New Hampshire. In July 2005, Tancredo confirmed that he was moving towards a presidential run. A quote from Tancredo's speech in 2007 to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was as follows::
If you want to call me a single-issue candidate, that's fine, just so long as you know that my single issue is the survival and the success of the conservative movement in America.
On January 16, 2007, Tancredo announced that he had formed an exploratory committee on seeking the presidential nomination of the Republican Party. He said that the Republican Party needs someone who can offer America a "common sense agenda".
A spokesman for Tancredo's exploratory committee has confirmed that he will not run on a third party platform, and that "they've had no intention to run as a third-party candidate, ever, and we'll never consider that because he's a Republican, period".
On April 2, 2007, Tancredo announced that he will run for President in the 2008 election. This announcement was made on 1040 WHO Talk Radio in Iowa. He denounced other Republican candidates for their lack of consistency on the illegal immigration issue, the issue on which Tancredo will run. In early April, he also participated in what was billed as the first online presidential debate, against fellow Republican and presidential candidate Duncan Hunter
In a May 3, 2007 debate among the ten candidates for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination, Tancredo was one of three who raised their hands when asked if anyone did not believe in the theory of evolution.
On August 10, 2007, Rep. Tom Tancredo's presidential campaign reportedly was the victim of an e-mail hoax on the eve of the Republican Party straw poll in Ames, Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports that a hoax e-mail sent on Friday to almost 500 Tancredo supporters told them — falsely — that chartered busses to ferry them to the daylong events had either been cancelled or delayed.
On September 5, 2007, during a visit to Concord, New Hampshire, Tancredo made it clear that he supports strictly enforcing immigration laws and deporting all illegal immigrants. He believes so-called sanctuary policies provide safe havens for criminals. Tancredo also mentioned his support of the building of a fence between Mexico and the United States, and that Mayors and city councilors who adopt sanctuary city policies should face criminal charges. He urged New Hampshire Governor John Lynch to veto an upcoming immigration bill and demanded the ouster of the bill's sponsors.
On November 13, 2007, the Tancredo campaign released an ad called "Tough on Terror" in which a hypothetical terrorist attack occurs in a shopping mall. The ad blames inept border security for the attack and flashes images of an injured child and a wrecked train. A voiceover comments, "There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs ... the price we pay for spineless politicians who refuse to defend our borders against those who come to kill." 
Individual contributions make up the most of the campaign cash that Tancredo has received thus far, being about 97% of his total pocketbook. PAC contributions have been low, only around $75,500, of the $1,311,869. He has granted himself $200 for his campaign and has received no federal funding. $88,457 of his money comes from interest from the campaign's bank accounts and loans from outside sources. It should be noted that the majority of Tancredo's funds are not disclosed .
- ^ See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/11/28/tancredo-delights-in-rivals-trying-to-out-tancredo-tancredo/ http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=208686&Disp=28&Trace=on http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_12/007685.php http://civilliberty.about.com/od/usrepresentatives/p/tom_tancredo.htm http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,287385,00.html
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- ^ "Rocky omitted Tancredo's reneging on term-limits pledge in reporting he's a possible replacement for Allard" Nov 17, 2006, Colorado Media Matters
- ^ "'Break That Pledge,' said the Lord" Christopher Brauchli, May 1, 2004, The Daily Camera
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- ^ "On The Record", Denver Westword, August 5, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
- ^ http://tancredo.house.gov/issues/issue_righttolife.shtml
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- ^ Preserving Life
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- ^ http://www.conservative.org/archive2/2008potus.asp American Conservative Union Rankings
- ^ http://www.conservativesbetrayed.com/gw3/articles-latestnews/articles.php?CMSArticleID=959&CMSCategoryID=19
- ^ Online Presidential Debate 1.1
- ^ http://www.timesdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070513/NEWS/705130336/-1/COMMUNITIES
- ^ Hoax aimed at Tancredo's straw poll chances
- ^ http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,311279,00.html
- ^ http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008-presidential-candidates/finance/2007/q1/tom-tancredo/
- ^ http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00006103&cycle=2008
- The Washington Post Company, Campaign Finance, <http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008-presidential-candidates/finance/2007/q1/tom-tancredo/>. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
- The Center for Responsive Politics, 2008 Presidential Election: Tom Tancredo Campaign Money, <http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00006103&cycle=2008>. Retrieved on 2007-10-30
- In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security. WND Books, 2006. (ISBN 1-58182-527-7)
- Official sites
- Website for the 2008 Presidential Election
- Official Congressional website
- H.R. 946 The Mass Immigration Reduction Act of 2003
- Documentaries, topic pages and databases
- Tom Tancredo's biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Tom Tancredo's voting record maintained by The Washington Post
- Federal Election Commission — Tom Tancredo (President) (House) campaign finance reports
- On the Issues — Tom Tancredo issue positions and quotes
- OpenSecrets.org — Tom Tancredo (President) (House) campaign contributions
- PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer — Vote 2008: Tom Tancredo
- Tom Tancredo Ranking in Spartan Internet Political Performance Index Weekly
- Project Vote Smart — Tom Tancredo profile
- SourceWatch Congresspedia — Tom Tancredo profile
- Tom Tancredo at the Open Directory Project
- Genealogy of Tom Tancredo
- July 1,2007 interview, Rocky Mountain News
- Interview with Tom Tancredo at Right Wing News
- Tom Tancredo talks about his book In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security
- Tancredo on the Record by Amanda Griscom Little
- Media coverage
- Run, Tom, run! by Jane Chastain
- Onward and upward: looking to 2008 by Ken Marotte
- Denver Post Column: "Tancredo for president in 2008? Well, why not?"
- Congressman: Destroying sites option if U.S. attacked
- mp3 audio file of "bomb holy sites" radio interview(alternate site)
- Rating by League of Conservation Voters
- Rolling Stone Article on Tom Tancredo
- NPR tackles Tancredo by Brent Bozell
- Tancredo's anti-immigrant credo gaining by James P. Pinkerton
- Tancredo's Raw Truth About Terrorism by Diana West
- He supports Tancredo's 'strong anti-illegal immigration campaign' by Gary Kastrup
- Why The Immigration Debate Matters by Jane Roh
- Tancredo for president by Joseph Farah