Tancredo: unite under English
"We need to unite the country, and one of the things that would do it is English," Congressman and presidential hopeful Tom Tancredo told a breakfast gathering at Lakeshore Cafe in Storm Lake Wednesday. "I have nothing against people being bilingual, but if you want to be an American citizen, then I think you should know English."
Tancredo was accompanied by Bay Buchanan, the former head of the U.S. Treasury. Like many candidates, Tancredo is looking for a boost in the Iowa straw poll, and hopes his message against amnesty for illegal immigrants strikes a timely chord with Iowans.
"The poll is important because it is part of the whittling process," Tancredo said. "Many of candidates will drop out because they are unable to continue or don't have the support, and I certainly don't plan to be one of them."
Tancredo said he receives comments all the time about how similar he looks to District Five Representative Steve King.
"Steve is a very close friend of mine, before he came to congress I felt like I was all alone but now it's like I've been cloned," Tancredo said with a chuckle. "Reporters get a us mixed up all the time, there have been times that I start interviews and halfway through I realise that they think I'm Steve King and I've told him that there are times that I could get him into so much trouble."
Tancredo focused on his key issue of illegal immigration.
"I don't want it to sound like I think that all the people immigrating are terrible monsters because they aren't. But we need to have them come over legally," Tancredo said. "I have been to numerous swearing-in ceremonies for new American citizens and I always tell them two things - first 'Welcome to America' and second, 'Thank you for doing it the right way."
The congressman of Colorado believes that ballots and other government communications must be in English only.
"My grandparents immigrated from Italy and learned the English language and forced my parents not to speak Italian... they felt it was important to know English to be an American."
Tancredo supported the building of the border wall.
"The border needs to be secured and I think this will help establish the border again," Tancredo said. "I'm not against trade but we need to work immigration problem."
Tancredo told the media that he has visited Vincent Fox, former President of Mexico and talked about the issues of immigration. Fox will speak at Buena Vista University later this year.
"According to President Fox, he is working on programs which will create a 'reversal of immigration', which I think is great but it doesn't solve the issue of the government controlling certain industries like oil and gas and the corruption. I told until he got ride of those he would not have a strong economy."
Tancredo has talked to both supporters and protestors along the campaign trail, but he said he has been "surprised" at how complicated the the immigration debate has become.
"I am surprised and shocked at how many layers there are to the immigration issue, it doesn't just affect everyone the same way," Tancredo said. "But I believe people are getting the message that we need to bond together."
Tancredo, who has signed the no amnesty pledge, told people at Lake Shore Cafe that they should be worried about people who reverse course and claim they are against amnesty.
"I was at an event and one of my opponents was on stage before and I was waiting for my turn and he looked over and saw me and then said 'I've been against amnesty my whole life.' And he does have one up on me because I'm not sure I had a stance on the issue at the age of 12," Tancredo said and the room filled with laughter. "You will hear a lot of people around election time taking stances on the issue but ask them about why they won't deport them. They should be deported if they broke the law, it's what the law says."
Tancredo has some issues with President Bush as well.
"We are not in a war against terror, terror is a tactic used," Tancredo said. "We are in a war against Radical Islam. We are the last best hope for Western civililzation and I believe that there will be major trouble if we go down."
Huckabee: The race isn't over yet
"The country is being told that there are three candidates - Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards," Governor Mike Huckabee from Arkansas told a gathering for his ice cream social campaign stop at Storm Lake's Chautauqua Park Tuesday. "We as Republicans say, no there aren't. There election isn't over, and you, the people of Iowa, can tell them that at the Straw Poll this Saturday.
Huckabee brought along former Iowa governor candidate Bob Vander Plaats, who he said he would support in another bid for the Iowa office.
"I believe that Mike stands for things that are missing in the country," Vander Plaats, serving as chairing for Huckabee's campaign in Iowa said. "That is why I'm glad to be with him."
Huckabee bristles at the national media, who he said are painting the election process as a three-horse race.
"So that people get it straight which Arkansas governor I am, I'm not the one who married Hillary but the one who is going to beat Hillary."
"I also believe that president should know the people and not all the their time at Georgetown or Manhattan collecting big checks," he said.
Huckabee believes that events like the Straw poll and the caucuses and important because they bring the candidates out to the people.
One of the major planks to his platform is to close the Internal Revenue Service.
"In a poll that was taken, people were more afraid of getting audited by the IRS then getting mugged on the street," Huckabee said. "I would love nothing more then to hang a big closed for good sign on the IRS building."
Huckabee favors a flat tax plan. "The tax would be applied to everyone from you and me to pimps and hookers, it wouldn't matter and it would get the tax dollar from everyone," Huckabee said.
Huckabee first heard about the flat tax while on the campaign trail and decide to study it more. "I was learning as much as I could about and it really seemed to make sense to me," Huckabee said in a Pilot-Tribune interview. "
Huckabee stated that he will not forget who the boss is, the people.
"When I was in office we had a frame that we would rotate the picture in - but we made sure that it was never me in the frame but eagle scouts or a couple or even an interesting photo of a kid on the playground."
Huckabee says the structure of the President's office is similar to that of a governor's office. "I would be able to use my experiences as governor to work with everyone around me," Huckabee said. "Governors have been successful in office, that is why the latest presidents were former governors."
Huckabee wasn't above encouraging supporters to the staw poll with a lure of watermelon from his home state.
"No one grows sweet corn like Iowa but no one grows sweet hope watermelon like we do, and we are going to have some down in Ames," Huckabee said.