Resigns from the Campaign - 12-20-07


Bill Berkowitz
January 26, 2007

Tom Tancredo's mission

The Republican congressman from Colorado will try to woo GOP voters with anti-immigration rhetoric and a boatload of Christian right politics

These days, probably the most recognizable name in anti-immigration politics is Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo. Over the past year, Tancredo has gone from a little known congressman to a highly visible anti-immigration spokesperson. "Tancredo has thoroughly enmeshed himself in the anti-immigration movement and with the help of CNN talk show host Lou Dobbs, he has been given a national megaphone," Devin Burghart, the program director of the Building Democracy Initiative at the Center for New Community, a Chicago-based civil rights group, told Media Transparency.

Now, Tancredo (website), who has represented the state's Sixth District since 1999, has joined the long list of candidates contending for the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination. In mid-January Tancredo announced the formation of an exploratory committee -- Tom Tancredo for a Secure America -- the first step to formally declaring his candidacy. While his announcement didn't cause quite the stir as the announcement by Illinois Democratic Senator Barak Obama that he too was forming an exploratory committee, nevertheless Tancredo's move did not go completely unnoticed.

While voters' concerns over the war in Iraq and the GOP's "culture of corruption" predominated in the 2006 midterms, Tancredo will be doing his best to make immigration an issue for the presidential campaign of 2008.

Tancredo tosses his hat in the ring

Previously Tancredo had said that if others took up the immigration issue he would not become a candidate. "Unfortunately, no one in the top tier conveys a concern about this issue," Tancredo said at the time of his announcement. He was especially critical of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain -- who, along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, are the GOP's early frontrunners -- for co-sponsoring guest-worker legislation with Senator Ted Kennedy that Tancredo called "the McKennedy bill."

In a field bursting with conservative candidates, Tancredo will be counting on his anti-immigration credentials and ties to anti-immigrant organizations to win support from GOP primary voters. And if he can't win, he hopes to at least convince other GOP candidates to follow his lead on the immigration issue.

According to the Des Moines Register's David Yepsin, Tancredo "could be a real factor in Iowa's leadoff 2008 caucuses." After all, as Yepson pointed out, such right wing stalwarts as Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes all "ran strong caucus races in Iowa." And while they all lost, "they had an impact by forcing the leading candidates to speak to their issues -- and by energizing new people to get involved in the process."

"While Tancredo has to be ranked as the longest of presidential long shots," Yepson noted, "he has the potential to pull the Republican field of candidates to the right, particularly on his signature issue of curbing illegal immigration."

A spokesperson for the Washington, DC-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a longtime anti-immigration organization, "believes ...Tancredo will have the support of a lot of ordinary Americans now that he has officially announced his intention to form a 2008 Presidential exploratory committee," OneNewsNow, a Christian News Service sponsored by the American Family Association, recently reported.

Susan Tully, national field director for FAIR, said that Tancredo "has a tremendous following," as "80 to 90 percent of Americans think illegal immigration is a problem." According to OneNewsNow, Tully "believes these concerned citizens will be pleased and excited over the congressman's plan to make immigration the campaign's 'number-one issue.'"

Tully allowed that while Tancredo "will never have the money that the other candidates are going to have, and he's never going to have the party support ... he has the people's support, and it's going to take a grassroots effort."

Credibility on social issues challenged

Tancredo has insisted that immigration is only one of many traditional family values issues that he is concerned about. According to the Des Moines Register, Tancredo "said he has a long record of support for pro-life and pro-family causes, opposition to gay marriage and fiscal discipline. 'I have a lot of credibility on those conservative principles. I don't see anybody at this time who puts all that together. It's more than just the immigration issue.'"

A recent report in the American Spectator, however, directly challenged Tancredo's anti-abortion credentials. Written by someone calling himself "The Prowler," the story titled "Tancredo's Dubious Allies" maintains that the congressman has taken a substantial amount of money from pro-abortion contributors.

A staffer for one of Tancredo's colleagues in the House of Representatives told "The Prowler" that Tancredo is "going to paint himself as a mainstream conservative. But the folks he's associating with are not part of the mainstream."

According to the American Spectator, "campaign finance reports" show that "one of Tancredo's biggest financial backers has been the family of Dr. John Tanton, the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform," and "one of the most prominent conservative financiers of Planned Parenthood in the United States, having helped found in the mid-1960s the first Planned Parenthood chapter in northern Michigan."

Tancredo has "accepted more than $20,000 from the FAIR PAC and personal donations from Tanton between 1996 and 2006," the American Spectator reported. "Over the past ten years, according to Federal Election Commission reports, FAIR has provided more than $15,000 to Tancredo campaigns and PACs. Tanton has given Tancredo $7,000, while donating $28,000 to FAIR's political action arm."

A consultant for a Republican House member from a western state told the conservative magazine that "Republicans and social conservatives need to be asking Tancredo some tough questions. I don't believe he's a pro-life candidate, not by a long shot, and the people he's associated with, who back him, are not part of the mainstream. To disavow these people now is just too late."

Tancredo's Christian nation

A Right Web profile described Tancredo as "a social conservative aligned with the Christian Right, [who] is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush administration's war on terror, including the Iraq War. A consistent supporter of the Pentagon and U.S. defense industries, Tancredo has become a leading spokesperson in the House for an Iran regime change."

Tancredo started his political career in Colorado's House of Representatives in the late 1970s, "where he teamed up with other social conservatives and new right advocates--a group that then-Governor Dick Lamm called "House crazies"--to push for a number of socially conservative polices, including slashing taxes and cutting social services," Right Web pointed out. After serving two terms, Tancredo, a former junior high school history teacher in Denver, "was appointed in 1981 to head the regional office of the Department of Education in the Reagan administration."

Four years later he "distribute[d] to teachers a speech by a former colleague that called for a 'truly Christian educational system' and bemoaned the 'godlessness' in a country founded as a 'Christian nation.' Despite the ensuing controversy, Tancredo kept his position and was reappointed by President George H. W. Bush in 1989."

From 1993 to 1998, Tancredo served as president of the Independence Institute (website), described by Right Web as a Golden, Colorado-based "right-wing think tank .... [that] weighs in on an array of state issues, including government spending, education policy, and social issues. Its Board of Trustees includes Jeff Coors of Coors Brewing, a philanthropist involved in right-wing foundations established by the Coors family, including Castle Rock Foundation."

Five months after coming to Washington, Tancredo formed the House Immigration Reform Caucus whose mission statement says that "The caucus gives members an opportunity to address the strong concerns about immigration that constituents have relayed to them. It also exists as an outlet for members and staff to discuss how current laws and regulation pose a threat to the security of America." (For more on the Immigration Reform Caucus see here.)

Raising his national profile

Over the Memorial Day weekend in 2005, Tancredo delivered the keynote address to about 400 attendees at an anti-immigration confab in Las Vegas. According to a report by Leonard Zeskind, the author of a forthcoming book on the history of the white nationalist movement for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Tancredo is a "ubiquitous presence" at anti-immigration "rallies and meetings."

To Tancredo, California's Proposition 187 was the "primal scream of the people of California," which he described as being under "political, economic, and cultural siege," Zeskind reported. He also pointed out, in his November 2005 piece for the American Prospect magazine titled "The New Nativism", that "Tancredo trades on his role as a Capitol Hill insider to enhance his standing in a far-flung movement. And in Congress his reputation far exceeds his backbencher status, precisely because of his standing among angry Middle Americans.

"In Las Vegas, Tancredo was alternately humble and proud, comic and serious. He distanced himself from President Bush with a quip about the Minutemen's border watch the previous April. 'The same day the president was calling them vigilantes, I was in Arizona calling them heroes,' he gloated."

In his extensive profile of Tancredo, and his ties to the anti-immigration movement, Zeskind maintained that the Colorado congressman "epitomizes an ominous overlap between seemingly respectable Republican anti-immigration activists and the white nationalist movement."

Zeskind pointed out how Tancredo's immigration caucus had grown to more than 90 members, and how "it promotes legislation to reduce legal immigration, plug the borders, and, in its own words, 'address the widespread problem of voting by illegal aliens.' It also seeks to pass legislation denying citizenship to children born in the United States if their parents are undocumented residents. This goal is explicitly contradicted by the Constitution, which declares that any person born in the United States is a citizen."

On a somewhat prescient note, Zeskind allowed that Tancredo"could well run in the 2008 presidential primaries." He had already made visits to New Hampshire and Iowa, where "he held three house party fund-raisers ...sponsored by local Christian Coalition activists." According to Zeskind, "Tancredo knows this constituency well, dating back to his days as a Colorado state legislator, and he has also spoken twice in Georgia at the Christian Coalition's annual conventions. His trip to Iowa was tightly managed by Bay Buchanan, and he seems to be following the path left by Bay's brother Pat in 1992 and '96."

A recent Denver Post editorial noted that "According to a Tancredo aide, his state director for New Hampshire led the charge for Pat Buchanan in 1996 when he defeated Bob Dole in that state's primary." In addition, Tancredo's Team America (website) -- "a political action committee dedicated to securing our nation's borders" -- is chaired by Bay Buchanan. Team America's mission "is to make this issue a significant part of the national political debate and to identify, recruit, and help elect to public office individuals who are committed to enforcing our laws and securing our borders."

Tancredo's new book "In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security," and Pat Buchanan's latest bestseller, "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America" are both prominently featured at the Team America website.

While Tancredo's campaign is a long-shot at best, "the temptation is to think that Tancredo's appeal is too narrow for the wide canvas of a presidential campaign," the Denver Post editorialized. "But those Pat Buchanan connections are a reminder that an insurgent effort can sometimes have a lingering half-life."

One of the most significant things that could emerge from Tancredo's campaign "is the further advancement of the anti-immigration infrastructure," Devin Burghart pointed out. "Much as we saw with the campaign of Pat Robertson in 1988 -- which led to the launching of the Christian Coalition -- the Tancredo run has the potential to create a more extensive national anti-immigrant political operation."


Thomas Gerard Tancredo (born December 20, 1945) is a nativist[1] American politician, and member of the Republican Party. Tancredo has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing the 6th Congressional District of Colorado. Tancredo rose to national prominence for his strong stance against illegal immigration. He is a declared candidate for the 2008 Presidential Race who is known for his hardline stance against both legal (in terms of rapid assimilation) and illegal immigration.[2]

Tancredo won re-election in 2006 against Democratic challenger Bill Winter by a 59%-40% margin. The district includes most of Denver's southern suburbs.

On October 28, 2007, Tancredo announced that he would not seek re-election to his Congressional seat.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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[6]. 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,[7][8][9] 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.[10] Tancredo is married to Jackie Tancredo. They met at Drake Junior High School as teachers, and married in 1977.[11] They have two children and five grandchildren.

Charity work

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."[12] 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,[13] 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."[14]

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."[15]

Immigration issues

Tom Tancredo is perhaps best known for his opposition to illegal immigration.[16] 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[17]

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.[18][19]

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.[20]

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.[21] 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."[21] 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".[22] National Review's David Frum wrote that "[n]o issue, not one, threatens to do more damage to the Republican coalition than immigration".[23]

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."[24] 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.'"[24]

Tancredo founded the Team America political action committee in 2004[25] 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.[26]

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'".[27]

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".[28]

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[29].

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 [30], his efforts to eliminate the automatic granting of citizenship to the babies of illegal aliens[31] and for his support of the interior enforcement of United States immigration laws[32]. In 2007, they awarded Tancredo a "Congressional Immigration Reduction Grade" of A+.[33]

Tancredo was the sponsor of a successful amendment to a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that would withhold federal emergency services funds from sanctuary cities. [34]

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"[35].

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".[36]

Tancredo has accepted over $20,000 in donations from John Tanton, founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Tancredo was also one of the most financers of Planned Parenthood.


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.[37] 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.[38]

On the other hand, he has suggested state legislators and mayors should be imprisoned for passing laws contrary to federal immigration law.[39] 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.[40]

Fiscal policy

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. [41]. Additionally, Tancredo received the National Taxpayers Union's "Taxpayers' Friend Award" in 1999 to 2006 inclusively as well [42] The award is given by the NTU to those members of Congress that are among "the strongest supporters of responsible tax and spending policies".[43]


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."[44]

Significant legislation

Tancredo sponsored the Sudan Peace Act.[45] 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)[46], 2001 (H. R. 2712)[47], and 2003 (H. R. 946).[48] 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).[49]

In 2005, Tancredo introduced[50] 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.[51]

Conservative Political Action Conference

On February 9, 2006, Tancredo addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference,[52] the annual conference of the American Conservative Union,[53] speech not available). In a poll conducted of those attending the conference, 5% predicted that Tancredo would be the 2008 nominee.

At the 2007 CPAC conference, held March 1–3, Tancredo was ranked sixth in the straw poll, with 9%, when first and second choices were combined.[54]



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.[55]


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

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".[56]

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."[57]

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.[58][59]

In a November 19, 2006 interview with WorldNetDaily, Tancredo referred to the city of Miami, Florida as a "Third World country."[60] 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."[61] 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."[62]

On December 12, 2006, Tancredo was publicly announced by the Rotary Club of Miami as its guest speaker.[63] 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?"[64] 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."[65]

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"[66].

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. [67]

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.[68][69] 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 [70], 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."[71][72][73] 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.”[74] 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."[24]

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."[75]


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.[76] A quote from Tancredo's speech in 2007 to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was as follows:[77]:

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".[78]

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".[79]

On February 13, the American Conservative Union issued ratings for potential presidential candidates for the 2008 election.[80] Tancredo took first with a lifetime ranking of 99 out of 100.

The website polled 525 people who attended CPAC 2007, and 88.1% believed that Tancredo would govern as a conservative. Newt Gingrich polled next at 87.9%.[81]

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[82]

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.[83]

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.[84]

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." [85]


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[86]. 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[87] .


  1. ^ See,2933,287385,00.html
  2. ^
  3. ^ Tancredo Not Seeking Re-election CBS News Oct 29, 2007
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Allard: No third term" M.E. Sprengelmeyer, January 15, 2007, Rocky Mountain News
  8. ^ "Rocky omitted Tancredo's reneging on term-limits pledge in reporting he's a possible replacement for Allard" Nov 17, 2006, Colorado Media Matters
  9. ^ "'Break That Pledge,' said the Lord" Christopher Brauchli, May 1, 2004, The Daily Camera
  10. ^ Sprengelmeyer, M.E.. "Churches out of step, Tancredo says", Rocky Mountain News, February 22, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-30. 
  11. ^ "On The Record", Denver Westword, August 5, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-05. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Preserving Life
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Ochoa, Julio. Teen sparks debate on immigrant rights. The Tribune. Retrieved on January 20, 2007.
  19. ^ INS Delays Deporting Honor Student. The Denver Channel. Retrieved on January 24, 2007.
  20. ^ Response from Denver Mayor Hickenlooper to Congressman Tom Tancredo on Spanish language Denver Public Libraries. letter (June 22, 2005). Retrieved on 22 March 2007.
  21. ^ a b Crowley, Michael (2005-03-28). On the Hill: Border War. The New Republic. Retrieved on 2007-04-18.
  22. ^ "Immigration Issue Yanked Off GOP Agenda", American Renaissance, August 31, 2004. Retrieved on 2007-03-13. 
  23. ^ "GOP, You Are Warned", NewsMax, January 10, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-03-13. 
  24. ^ a b c Interview with Tom Tancredo, David Shankbone, Wikinews, September 25, 2007.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Tancredo's Drudge campaign: Defeat amnesty, politicians M.E. Sprengelmeyer and Alan Gathright,, June 6, 2007, Rocky Mountain News
  27. ^
  28. ^ Tancredo seeks to make immigration a major issue in presidential race. U.S. Border Patrol. Retrieved on March 22, 2007.
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Tancredo pulls plug on 'sanctuary cities' Even Democrats throw support behind amendment to nix funds to local governments shielding illegals"
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Who Really Stalled the Voting Rights Act Renewal Duke Falconer
  38. ^ Federalism up in smoke Mike Krause
  39. ^ Wang, Beverley. Tancredo targets N.H. 'sanctuary state' bill. Associated Press.
  40. ^
  41. ^ National Taxpayers Union reports: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  42. ^ NTU's Taxpayer Friends in the House for: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  43. ^
  44. ^ Tom stands for America
  45. ^ (H.R. 5531).
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^|/bss/d110query.html|
  50. ^ H. Con. Res. 69
  51. ^ H. Con. Res. 73
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^ Coffman Left Rally To Protest Tancredo; Lawmaker Supports Iraq War But Didn't Fight In Vietnam, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) March 27, 2003
  56. ^ Zaitchik, Alexander. "Congressman addresses hate group", Southern Poverty Law Center, September 11, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-30. 
  57. ^ Jessup, Terry. "Denver Pastors Call For Tom Tancredo's Resignation", CBS4 Denver, September 14, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-30. 
  58. ^ "Anti-Immigration Rep. Accused of Hiring Illegal Workers", Fox News, September 20, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-03-13. 
  59. ^ "Tancredo on Immigration", Immigration Daily, September 20, 2002. Retrieved on 2007-03-13. 
  60. ^ Kovacs, Joe. "The New World Disorder: Bush Doesn't Think America Should Be An Actual Place", WorldNetDaily, November 19, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-9-9. 
  61. ^ Bush, Jeb. "Letter to Tancredo from Jeb Bush", Rocky Mountain news, November 28, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-30. 
  62. ^ Tancredo, Tom. "Letter to Jeb Bush from Tancredo", US Congress, November 29, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-30. 
  63. ^
  64. ^ "Some Disappointed Tancredo Cancelled Speech", CBS4 Miami, December 16,2006. Retrieved on 2007-9-9. 
  65. ^,1299,DRMN_15_5212244,00.html
  66. ^
  67. ^ Wolf, Leon H. "Tom Tancredo's Unsavory Backers."
  68. ^
  69. ^,1299,DRMN_15_3935487,00.html
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^ Sprengelmeyer, M.E.. "Tancredo rules out 3rd-party candidacy", Rocky Mountain News, January 30, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-30. 
  80. ^ American Conservative Union Rankings
  81. ^
  82. ^ Online Presidential Debate 1.1
  83. ^
  84. ^ Hoax aimed at Tancredo's straw poll chances
  85. ^,2933,311279,00.html
  86. ^
  87. ^


Official sites
Documentaries, topic pages and databases
Media coverage

Tancredo Announces Decision to Exit Presidential Race

CQ Transcripts Wire
Thursday, December 20, 2007; 4:06 PM
TANCREDO: ... you know, for the past 10 years I have dedicated my public life to warning the nation of the perilous consequences of massive uncontrolled illegal immigration.

And while the people across this great country have come to understand the real and present danger that our open borders (OFF- MIKE) creates for us, this message, unfortunately, has fallen on deaf ears in the highest office of the land.

And without a president who is committed to securing the nation, we will always, of course, remain jeopardy.

And so, in spite of what we knew at the time were incredibly long odds, I made the decision to become a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America.

And as I admit, it is -- it was certainly then -- and we've always known the odds were enormous against that happening, but nonetheless I felt committed to pursue that particular agenda.

But nonetheless, I felt committed to pursue that particular agenda. And I am happy to say I am ecstatic about the fact that we can say we have made remarkable progress along those lines.

And I have to thank every single person who has worked on this campaign from day one, through all the miles that we've travelled together throughout Iowa and New Hampshire and states in between, it's really been my pleasure -- my deep and abiding pleasure and it's something I will always treasure; the fact that so many good folks have worked so hard in this endeavor.
And we have made, as I say, great progress.

In fact, according to Newsweek, the Tancredo campaign has already won. And just this month, The Economist, The New Yorkers, The Wall Street Journal, and even The New York Times have grudgingly accredited our campaign with forcing the issue of immigration to the forefront of the national debate and, more importantly, with forcing nearly every Republican presidential candidate to commit themselves to an immigration plan that calls for securing our borders, enforcing our immigration laws.

And even the Democrats, by the way, are tortured by the fact that a misstatement on the issue, like, for instance, suggesting support for Governor Spitzer's plan to giver driver's licenses to illegal aliens will cost them dearly in the polls.

Who would have thought this could have happened six months ago, a year ago? I mean, it's beyond anybody's wildest expectations that we have been able to, with the help of America, really, get our national leaders to pay attention to the issue.

As I say, I am, indeed, pleased about -- as to how this issue has ripened. But for the same reason that I launched the campaign, I must now end it.

While several of the candidates appear to be committed to our cause, there are others whose records as public servants are abysmal on this issue. They have been on the other side of the battle for years and encouraging and even inviting, in a way, illegal immigrants into the country.

I fear that remaining in this race, when I know I cannot win, could contribute to the nomination of one of those candidates. We have done too much. We have come too far. The stakes are way too high for me to allow that to happen.


And so today I'm doing two things that I believe are in the best interests of this cause, and that cause is, of course, a secure America.

I am withdrawing from the race and I'm endorsing Governor Romney for president of the United States.

Throughout the campaign, I've learned a great deal about the candidates. I've certainly been impressed with Governors Romney -- Governor Romney's ability to solve very complex problems. And I believe he is a man of personal integrity and great character.

I think he would bring honor to the Oval Office.

So I am happy to do this -- this thing in two parts today and hope that we will continue the momentum that we have developed over the last year and a half throughout this campaign.

Again, it is with every ounce of sincerity that I have in my body to say to the people who have worked so hard that I love you and I believe with all my heart that we have made a difference in America.

And this is a great thing, guys. You know, all the miles we travel, all of the speeches you give and all of the time you spend away from your family, and you say, is it worth it? You know, I know I'm not climbing in the polls, I know that it's going to be tough, I know that others will take the issue. And of course that was, in a way, what we were hoping would happen.

But if you look at it, if you think about it, it's enormous the amount of progress we have made, something, I must admit to you, that stuns even me at this time. And it's because of you. It is because of you and your dedication. And I love you all for it, I really do. And I appreciate it with all my heart.

So, anyway, thank you very much for your time and attention, for coming here today, and I'll be happy to try to address any question you might have.


TANCREDO: I know that we will be in some way supporting the effort. I do not know at this point in time exactly what that will be. Frankly, it has not been discussed.


TANCREDO: We sure have.

QUESTION: ... where you have pointedly criticized Mitt Romney, questioning many times whether he has flip-flopped on other issues, and also questioning whether his rhetoric on this issue (OFF-MIKE).

TANCREDO: Well, it is undeniably the fact that we have met, that we have talked, and that, you know, you've got to do this. Again, go through the criteria, establish exactly what it is that you are looking for in a president. And as I say, I am convinced that he will do the things he said he will do in the areas that I -- specifically in the areas that I pointed out.

And there are things that we still disagree on. But you know what? There are things that I wish I could have gotten all the candidates to agree with me on, and that's not there.

I mean, if you look at it the way I presented it; if you go through the criteria, I think you come to the conclusion -- certainly, I have -- that I believe he will now -- I believe that he'll do what he says he'll do.

I'm not asking him to do more. I'm not asking him to do things that he is opposed to. I'm just asking him, and I believe he will do the things that I have laid out here.

And remember that the last part of that criteria is very important -- "and go the distance."

I mean, somebody's going to win this race. You know, somebody's going to be the president of the United States. It's not going to be me. So, really, what you're looking for is that person that you can hope and pray that will carry on -- and I do that. I put my faith there.

Maybe, you know, sometimes we're all in the position that, you know, later on, we think, gee, you know, if he didn't do it exactly the way I told him, then we're disappointed.

I know all those things are possible. But the reality is this. At this point in time, he is the best hope for our cause. And it is the cause. That's what motivates me. It is. It's not Tom Tancredo. It's all the things that we worked so hard for.

I just -- I cannot just leave them. I cannot just walk away and say, well, you know, it's -- you know, I'm finishing this race and you guys (inaudible) anything you want. Well, of course, everybody can. I'm sure we don't have full commitment, even with our own people, on this issue.

I've just done the best that I can do, in trying to discern what's best for this country and who will, in fact, have the best shot at carrying on. And he's the guy.


TANCREDO: Well, for one thing, of course, I have called for a "time out" on immigration. He does not -- her certainly does not agree with that aspect of it. Of course, none of them do. There isn't a single candidate that has agree with me on that issue. And that's one thing, of course.

And that's the one thing that comes to mind immediately.


TANCREDO: No, he has not. I mean, we have taken matching funds. We will not be using them all. We will return -- (inaudible) works, we will return a pretty significant chunk because we're not going to use them.

But we don't (inaudible).

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Have you thought more about that?

QUESTION: Explain why you felt that it was right to drop out now (OFF-MIKE).

TANCREDO: Well, as I said, it is apparent to me I cannot win this race. It's also apparent to me that the -- there are folks who are in the race who are -- even though they are -- even though they have rhetorically said the right things -- we've now forced them into that -- I'm not sure they're there beyond that.

And I say that -- like Governor Huckabee, for instance, and certainly Senator McCain. Those two, they have records. This is really -- one of the things, very important things that it came down to for me. Because anybody can say anything, and we've all heard it from these microphones -- "Yes, I'm with you. Yes, I'm there." Well, you've got to look, then, what's the record? What have these people done? When they had the chance, what did they do?

And at least, Governor Romney, to his credit, when he was governor of the state, he actually did something that I don't consider to be politically correct in the state of Massachusetts, and that is to stop driver's licenses for illegal aliens or to oppose giving in- state tuition to illegal aliens. I mean, I cannot find a motive other than the fact that he believed in it. What good would it have done him in that area?

On the other hand, you're talking about what happened in Arkansas, a totally different kind of situation. And certainly John McCain has been -- he's built a career in Congress in support of -- essentially of illegal immigration, of amnesty and all the rest.

So that's why I felt it's important to get out. I don't want to do anything that would -- that would aid them in their chances.


TANCREDO: Sure, sure, absolutely. It was important in making this decision. You bet your life it was.

QUESTION: Did any of the other candidates actively seek your endorsement? Did Governor Romney actively seek it or did you just call him?

TANCREDO: I have had communications with other candidates, yes. But I -- you know, they were private and that's the way I want to keep them.

QUESTION: Can you talk about any meetings that you've had or conversations (OFF-MIKE) you've had with Mitt Romney lately...

TANCREDO: I had one this morning. That's what I said.


TANCREDO: I really can't be any more specific than I have been. We went through a lot of issues. It was a lengthy discussion.

You know, when you're looking at somebody, you get a sense of what they're -- you know, what they're about.

And when you're looking across the table -- and we spent, like I say, a good hour or more in discussion. And some issues we did not come together on, but on the ones that I am, you know, absolutely committed to, I believe he is too.


TANCREDO: No. No. I had to clarify. What we did was clarify in my own mind exactly what he meant, exactly what he said, and what he intends to do.

QUESTION: Have you decided to endorse him...


OK. Thank you. And have a great Christmas, everybody.