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Friday, June 30, 2006

Romney on the Rise!

Over at Hotline On Call (an arm of The National Journal) they have a mid-year round-up on the WH '08 race where they singled out Romney as having the best last 6 months of any '08 hopeful

It's the end of the 6th month of '06. A great time to create an artificial benchmark about WH '08! Think back to the start of '06 and ask yourself who has....

-- Bettered: McCain (weak frontrunner to a confident one); Huckabee (media's favorite IA dark horse); Kerry (messaging entire party on Iraq now); Edwards (has he snatched "outsider" tag from Warner? IA standing is big).

-- Stagnated: Giuliani (back on the scene, but yet to answer the "base" question); Bayh (fear the turtle); Warner (buzz candidate who became the cocktail party candidate); Frist (colleagues still skeptical, but mistakes are fewer); Feingold (alone as liberal FAV but is he only a 1-issue candidate?)

-- Stepped Back: Clinton (public war boos were bound to happen; when the Obama whispers stop, you'll know she's golden again). Gingrich (voluble but where's the belly fire and influence?); Allen (insiders now have doubts, he can't go to IA anymore, but if he beats Webb, he's right back in).

-- And who had the best six months? Mitt Romney, incredibly, now an "outsider" who has distanced himself from his MA pedigree.

To say that no other WH ‘08’er had a better 6 months than Romney would assume that there was another politician in America who saw his stock rise as much as the MA gov in the first half of ’06.

See why they thought Romney had the best 6 months of ANY presidential hopeful (Rep. and Dem.) at the link above.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mitt Romney on Hugh Hewitt Show--- Transcript and mp3 at "Radio Blogger"

Gov. Mitt Romney was on the Hugh Hewitt Show program yesterday. This link at Radio Blogger has the transcript of the interview as well as a link to the mp3 file.

They discussed the New York Times recent publishing classified material jeapordizing our national security and the Mass. marriage protection amendment.

You know, I find it inexplicable and inexcusable. You recognize that we are at war, and that publishing the intelligence capabilities and processes and procedures of our intelligence community is something which puts us in a jeopardized position, it puts us in peril, and it's inexcusable.


. . . ultimately, these papers publish these things to gain circulation. And what's sad to me is that people would trade off their positive reputation for being able to get a scoop, to be able to expand their circulation, and trade that off against the interests of our country.

Speaking of his recent press conference to call attention to the Mass legislature's vote on whether to allow a public vote about the definition of marriage he said:

. . . it's interesting to me that my liberal friends are very anxious to protect democracy, unless they think it might go against them.


Classic Romney!

Romney wins first online Iowa Caucus Strawpoll at Krusty Konservative blog!

Krusty has had an open online straw poll that he closed recently. The results can be found here, and our man Romney led the way with 32% of the vote! Krusty has started over a similar poll on the righthand side of his main blog page at Krusty Konservative and Romney is presently not leading the way (It seems that you can vote in this survey once each day.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Romney: Voters (not Courts) Should Define Civil Rights

Governor Renews Support Of Gay Marriage Ballot Question

Governor Romney again took a strong stand, along with new Cardinal O'Malley (Boston Archdiocese), in defense of traditional marriage defined between one man and one woman. Romney further spoke of the importance of

"We have a Constitution. We can look in there and say, 'Does it say here you can vote on matters unless someone can define them as civil rights?' No," said the Republican governor, a graduate of Harvard Law School who is mulling a presidential run. "It says you vote on all matters in this country and we'll decide what is a civil right and what's not. So, fundamentally, we come back to the principle that the people speak."

He added: "Is there anything more fundamental to the commonwealth and this country than the principle that the power is reserved for the people, that government is the servant, not the master?"


Here is a man who will always realize the true role of government and how it should be a "by the people, of the people, and for the people.

The Governor's Office Press Release on the issue has more information (including a video of the press conference).

Cross-posted at Elect Romney in 2008 Blog

Busy week . . . sorry.

I've been having a pretty busy week and have also been compiling the Romney information on Homeland Security (which is VAST!!! . . . this will definitely be one of his strong points as a candidate and potentially, future president.) My next major blog entry will be LOOOOONG!

Ann Marie continues to do an Awesome job at the Elect Romney in 2008 blog. Check that out for the latest updates.

The "700 Club" did a profile of Romney in one of there CBN News (Christian Broadcasting Networks). Pretty positive peice from an Evangelical news source (though they did bring up the abortion issue and the "cult" issue). It's a nice 9 minute piece if you would like to see it!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Romney on Immigration . . . The Whole Enchilada

Immigration Quotes/Articles:

Speech given at the Heritage Foundation on September 14, 2005 (link is to streaming video and streaming or downloadable audio—mp3 of Romney’s 35 min speech followed by 20+ min of a Q&A session—Topic was actually Homeland Security, but during the Q&A session the topic of illegal immigration came up)—transcription of quotes below is my own:

“I would like to see us, as a nation, bringing in fewer illegal immigrants.”

“I do not like the idea, therefore, of Amnesty; because, I’m afraid, that when you have a regular Amnesty program, of one form or another, you will create a greater incentive for people to come into the country illegally.”

“In my state I’ve said that I will veto any legislation which calls for a drivers license for illegal immigrants.”

“I recently had a bill on my desk last year that said that we should give kids of illegal immigrants who lived in our state a tuition break for our state colleges and universities and I said “No” I vetoed that, it’s one of my few vetoes that has stood up. It’s not that those kids deserve to be discriminated against . . . they don’t. But I didn’t want to create any incentives to have people move to our country illegally. Now, why is that? I’d like to have more people come to our country legally. I love immigrant populations coming to this land. They’ve been an enormous source of our strength.”

“Now I realize that there are some states that rely on immigrant populations to carry out agricultural business. Maybe Pres. Bush’s idea of a guest-pass program may be the right answer for that kind of setting . . . but to have that turn into a permanent citizen status or to encourage illegal immigration is something that we should take care to avoid.”


Source: Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer Nov 1, 2005

“A bill to let children of illegal immigrants pay the same lower tuition rate at state colleges as other MA residents sparked a political sparring match between Democrats and the Romney administration. Romney chastised critics for advocating a bill he said would encourage illegal behavior. Romney said the state's focus should be on helping legal immigrants. Giving children of illegal immigrants a tuition break would act as an incentive to draw in more illegal immigrants to Massachusetts, Romney said.”


Lowell Sun Online

"I don't believe in amnesty," Romney said, using a word voiced by Republicans to describe widespread forgiveness of illegal residency in the United States.

But at the same time, Romney said illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship.

"I don't believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country," Romney said. "With these 11 million people, let's have them registered, know who they are. Those who've been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn't be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country."


Boston Globe April 10th, 2006

Regarding immigration, Romney said U.S. borders should be made more secure to keep illegal immigrants from entering. He also said he opposed an amnesty program that would automatically grant citizenship to the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.

"I think that route is not acceptable at this stage," he said. "We should report illegal behavior."

Instead, Romney said, illegal immigrants should be identified and required to apply for green cards, which would allow them to live and work in the United States. Those whose applications are accepted could stay, the rest would be returned to their native countries.


Boston Globe June 21, 2006

Governor Mitt Romney is seeking an agreement with federal authorities that would allow Massachusetts state troopers to arrest undocumented immigrants for being in the country illegally.

Under the agreement Romney is seeking, troopers would have greatly expanded powers: They could check an immigrant's legal status during routine patrols such as during a traffic stop and decide whether the immigrant should be held.

"It's one more thing you can do to make this a less attractive place for illegal aliens to come to work," said Romney.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Forthcoming Blogs: Romney on Illegal Immigration, Homeland Security, Terrorism, and Foreign Policy

I know of several people who are wondering about Mitt Romney's stance or experience with the "hot-button" issues of illegal immigraton, homeland security, terrorism, and foreign policy. All of these issues are rather interrelated. I have researched several articles and web archives and am compiling them to help inform others.

As an intro, below is Gov. Romney's experience with Massachusetts "English Immersion " Program which 68% of voters supported to end "Biligual Education" in the state schools:

bostonherald.com, 7-16-03 “Watered Down English Immersion Law Incurs Governor's Wrath”

BOSTON, MA - After the Massachusetts legislature carved out exemptions to a voter-approved English-immersion law for immigrants, Governor Mitt Romney called their action an act of "unfathomable arrogance" and vowed to oust legislators who backed the move.

An overwhelming 68% percent of Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative last year requiring that immigrant students be placed in all-English classes instead of bilingual classes. But on July 14 the lawmakers voted to override the governor's veto of several newly created exemptions, including one for "two-way" programs, a form of bilingual education in which students of different cultures learn each other's languages simultaneously.

Branding the loopholes as a capitulation to "special interests," including teachers unions, Romney said he wants immigrant students to learn English first. About 51,000 students in the state have limited English skills

The voter-approved law allows for "two-way" programs but requires that students be able to speak English first. The legislature rolled back that part of the law and another part that limited the programs to older students. Opponents of "two-way" programs charge that they help native English speakers who want to learn Spanish, but are a detriment to students who need to learn English.

"Individuals in the legislature or elsewhere who believe they are smarter than the voters, I'm going to campaign to find people to take their place," Romney said
Not surprisingly, this watered down version has had it’s shortcomings (Boston Globe, May 21,2006). However, one must admit, that achieving a rather large percentage of fluency at the first assessment is better than trapping kids in bilingual education programs indefinitely. One reason for the failure is a lack of support for the measure by the educators themselves:

“A state survey in December and January, which the Globe obtained, found that more than half of the 52 school systems educating the vast majority of non-native English speakers did not set up separate classes to teach English as a second language.”

Great new entries at Elect Romney in 2008 Blog

Ann Marie Curling, rejuvenated by last weekend's meeting with Gov. Romney here in Iowa, has been doing some awesome blogging over the past few days at Elect Romney in 2008. Rather than re-hash all of the same information found there at this blogsite I recommend that everyone go there and check out the most recent entries.

Iowan Supporters Develop Logo, Flyers, Bumpersticker, & Business Cards


A huge "Thank you" to Keith Steurer for contacting me and offering to produce graphics for our Iowans for Romney group. He as produced a logo, business cards, and a letterhead for our group. His dedication to the Iowans for Romney effort, career as a local engineer, and political experience (Bush campaigner in Utah-2000 and Wisconsin-2004), made him a good addition to the Commonwealth PAC Iowa Advisory Board.


Also, the flyer sitting at each place-setting for the Romney Breakfast last weekend was converted (by Keith) into a PDF that can be found at this link (Large file . . . 1.8 MB so load time for page may be long)

Jim Kirkpatrick (former Blackhawk County Chair for 2000 Bush campaign--another charter member of the "Advisory Board") seems pretty strong on the Romney train. He's considering making up buttons and bumperstickers to help get Romney's name and face out there more (still, the majority of people I talk to have never heard of Romney) He emailed me a prototype bumpersticker pictured below. Feel free to chime in with opinions on their work.

P.S. Don't forget that Romney will be highlighted in a "profile" on the "700 Club" through the Chirstian Broadcasting Network-- this will be airing on ABC Family Channel this coming Monday @ 9AM as well as many local listings I'm sure.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We're Getting Noticed in Boston & New ROMNEY site

This link from the Boston Globe's website says the following:
Romney recently signed well known Iowa consultant Doug Gross, has made past trips to the state and donations to candidates in the state. And then there is Iowans for Romney, a website run by the exuberant Jeff Fuller.
(emphasis added)

If that weren't enough, The Boston Herald has a blog section has an entry titled "ProMitt Marching Orders where "Romney Beat" writer Kimberly Atkins wrote:
Mitt supporters in the blogosphere are all atwitter over a detailed how-to guide for grassroots supporters to help get Romney elected, started on an Iowa politiblog “Iowans For Mitt Romney.”
She also noticed, and linked to, my list of things to do to support Romney and help him win the GOP nomination. She commented on a few of the ideas . . . sort of painting some of them as Machiavellian.

Obviously, both ot these Boston Newspapers are poking fun at me and my efforts . . . but since they also take every opportunity to poke fun at Gov. Romney, I feel like I'm in very good company!

Also, a Mass. based Romney blog "The Romney Report" has morphed from their blogspot home and resurfaced with the URL http://www.romneyreport.com/ with what looks like a strong 5 person team: Phil James (MA), Annie C (MA), Stu Wes (VA), Bobby T (MA), and Jon Zak (UT)

Michigans for Romney

Well, they don't have a website or blogsite yet (anyone wanting to step up to the plate?) . . . but a lot of them like Romney . . . and Romney likes them. There's been a lot of Romney/Michigan news lately.

First off, Romney has been in Michigan recently:

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land had a great event in Oakland County with special guest Governor Mitt Romney. A packed room of donors and activists listened to Terri and Governor Romney talk about the difference Republican leadership can make.

Earlier yesterday, the Republican Governors Association held a series of events to support Dick DeVos and other Republicans running for Governor around the country. Joining Governor Romney in Michigan were Minnesota’s Governor Tim Palwenty and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. They held an interesting policy forum to discuss issues effecting various states and we were joined by a very special guest, our former Governor John Engler.

Ann Marie (who was born and raised in Michigan) at Elect Romney in 2008 has some good commentary on Romney's political maneuvering and growing political network in Michigan detailed here and here. The second link has a viewable PDF of the letter Romney sent a few days ago to Mich. GOPers promising more support (physically and financially) through his Mich. PAC and Rep. Gov. Assc. (RGA) ties.

Of keen interest to Romney is the Michigan gubenatorial race where the GOP challenger (DeVos) has been shooting up the polls and has now overtaken the Democratic incumbent (
Granholm). That race and Nussle's run in Iowa are perched as two key races where Republicans could "flip" the Governorship from Blue to Red. It is very convenient for Romney, as head of the RGA, to be able to focus on these states as "victories" under his watch, while being able to maintain a strong presence and build networks of supporters for his "all but announce" run for the White House in 2008 in these two states which have early primaries and are considered "battleground" for the general election.

In the same link, at the bottom of the story, it has some results from a "cold call" poll of MI residents about the 2008 Pres hopefuls with the following results: "
Asked whom they would support for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, 39 percent chose Arizona Sen. John McCain, 22 percent selected former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 15 percent chose Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Other potential candidates received less than 4 percent of the vote." The full results of the poll are here at "Strategic Vision, LLC" website (Questions 19-23). While this may seem discouraging that he's a distant 3rd to Giuliani & McCain I have posted before (second part of that blog entry) that these "cold call polls" are more about name recognition than anything else this early in the game (Hence, McCain and Rudy doing so well . . . even Condi Rice does good when included). What is encouraging and validates my theory is that Romney polls much better where his name is better recognized (born and raised in Michigan where his father was a beloved 2+ term Governor.) It is also encouraging that Allen, Gingrich, Frist, and Pataki are all 3% or less though name recognition are more of an issue for Allen and Pataki . . . all light years behind Romney.

This all bodes well for the Gov. because presently, I cannot conceive of Romney not being in the top 2 or 3 in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan (South Carolina a wild-card), all of which are early "statement states." With that, Romney is highly likely to be the major "anti-McCain" candidate out of the early fray and will be well positioned on Super Tuesday to take it all. I've also heard some speculate that Romney will set up his Campaign Headquaters in Michigan when the time comes. Keep an eye on Michigan for it could be the state that launches Romney into the "Pole Position."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Lot o' Links

Will Immigration be "THE ISSUE" in 2008?--Romney's looking tough on it:
Thanks to Jason B0nham who runs Illinoisians for Mitt for being quickest on the draw with this major headliner. Romney has "up-ed the ante" on the immigration issue. This article details how he is seeking an exemption from federal oversight on immigration so that ILLEGALs could be arrested by state police for just that (being here illegally). A brief quote of the article:

"It's one more thing you can do to make this a less attractive place for illegal aliens to come to work," Romney told The Boston Globe. State police currently have no authority to arrest people on the basis of their immigration status alone, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said.

This Red State Diary (Cross-posted at Race 4 2008) has line by line commentary on the above article and some comments . . . including a comment by me (jjfuller72) detailing some of Romney's previous stances on illegal immigration and related issues (such as biligual education). His positions continue to himself to the right of McCain, Frist, and Huckabee on this hot-button issue. Granted, he's not a Tom Tancredo or even a Steve King on the issue . . . but he'll be one of the furthest right among serious GOP contenders (and definitely stronger than Bush). Another opinion (from a Boston area Talk Radio Station) on the importance of Romney's immigration move matter can be found here and another blog opinion here

The Pro-Business Politician:
One of the next pieces of Mass legislation to come across Romney's desk will be the minimum wage bill (two versions: house/senate) which seeks to take them to the highest level in the country at $8.25: "Governor Mitt Romney in the past has endorsed the notion of indexing (min wage increases to the economy). He has not taken a position on either of these bills . . ." the article says. I can gaurantee you that, as a pro-business politician, Romney will not sign a bill that would make his already-difficult-to-run-a-business state even worse by mandating the highest minimum wage in the nation. Look for him to make suggestions back about indexing the minumum wage &/or a minimal increased wage and if the legislature won't budge . . . he will VETO it. Here is another article addressing the issue.

Ongoing Fiscal Conservatism:
Mass judges have gone for a while without a pay raise . . . but now the Mass legislature is trying to give them a 13% raise AND MAKING THE RAISE RETROACTIVE ALLOWING MASSIVE "BACKPAY." Romney sees this as a good way to squander tax-payers dollars and suggested a more modest pay raise of 4.1%. Ann Marie Curling at Elect Romney in 2008 blog has a good review of this one with the appropriate links.


Conservative Icons, Policymakers, and Business leaders Congregate and "Think":
This Vail Daily News article "Solving the World's Problems--Behind Closed Doors" tells us where Romney was on Friday before going to the Idaho State GOP convention . . . he was in Colorado (reportedly giving a talk about the Mass Healthcare Reform bill):

"The American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C., conservative think tank, co-hosts the event with the Vail Valley Foundation. . . This year's attendees included Dick Cheney, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Google CEO Eric Schmidt (among several other lower-profile business leaders)."

No media was allowed . . .

More on Romney's visit to Iowa:
A VA paper had a reporter at the GOP convention last Sat that weighs in with opinions of random people at the convention. Mentions of all the GOP hopefuls that were there, including Romney.

Romney's PAC website now has the list of all 50+ members of his Iowa Advisory Board (including yours truly) added to the press release:

"The Fix"--The Washington Post's Political blogsite weighs in with their opinion of Romney's move in forming the Advisory Board. Quoting from there:

Rhetoric aside, the committee is aimed squarely at Romney's 2008 presidential ambitions, not the 2006 midterm elections. Romney has made little secret of his interest in seeking the GOP nomination and has already spent considerable time and money in early caucus and primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

So just how influential are the Iowans recruited for Romney's group? Seeking an answer The Fix asked a high-level Iowa strategist who has yet to sign on with any '08 candidate. The source was granted anonymity so that he could speak freely about the names on the list.
Aside from Gross, the influential members include: Debi Durham, Gross's ticketmate in 2002 and the current president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce; state Sens. Dave Mulder and Brad Zaun; former state party chairman Rich Schwarm; Kim Schmett, former chief of staff to Rep. Greg Ganske and legal counsel to the state party; and Joni Scotter, a leading Republican activist in Cedar Rapids (Linn County).


An Elephant in the Room?
This blog entry at Advance Indiana brings up an interesting issue. With all the talk of family values and protecting the sanctity of marriage, I, personally, have been largely disappointed with the GOP field of candidates. Maybe this is inappropriate or insensitive to say, but, currently, Mitt Romney is the only top-teir candidate that is believable on these issues because he has lived them. All of the other top-tier candidates are on, at least, their second marriage (though the article does not mention George Allen, he was divorced when he was 31 and remarried when he was 34 to his wife of 20+ years, Susan--three children). This article from the Washington Monthly titled "High Infidelity" talks about this issue in depth though it takes a much broader and historical approach. One paragraph from the article states:

Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.


Please understand that I don't bring this up to "slander" the other candidates, I just know that one argument against the Marriage Protection Amendment and gay adoption is the high divorce/single-parenthood rates (a weak argument since the state doesn't encourage divorce/single-partenthood . . . but that's for another time and place). I believe we need a leader who is solid on these issues in their personal life in order to carry through these important policies in the public forum.

The Mormonism/"Evangelical Problem" Revisited:
It's been a couple of weeks since this topic has been revisited (I will soon get sick of it) . . . but this article in "NewWest" is a balanced take on the issue . . . while the 65+ comments that followed quickly deteriorate into attacks on and defense of Mormonism (which, in my opinion, has little, if anything, to do with what kind of POTUS Mitt Romney would make).

And this blog entry from "Stand to Reason" mentions ideas the blogger has heard that Mormons must have defective brains to believe as they do and so cannot be trusted in political office. The "comments" section here is more level-headed than the aforementioned.

Growing Fan Base?
This blogger seems to be a Romney fan too(Last paragraph):
"Mitt Romney is still my man with George Allen as running mate, Mitt's religious leanings mean nothing to his abilities as a fiscal genious and other awesome qualities. This is the '08 combo I will work hardest for, as it is our strongest ticket."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Other Iowa GOP Convention Tidbits

This weekend at the GOP state convention in Des Moines also offered some great non-Romney experiences. It was my first time at a state convention and so just taking in the ambience was nice. I met Senator Grassley (pictured with me) and thanked him for voting in favor of the recent Marriage Protection Ammendment and encouraged him to help convince his fellow senators to support this next time around. He is definitely a well-loved senator here in Iowa (at least among the people with which I've spoken).

I was able to spend a few minutes in the convention hall with some of the Johnson County Republicans and when Bob Vander Plaats was accepting the Lt. Gov. nomination. His message is surmised at this Johnson Co. Republicans Blog entry.

During his speech I realized that I was standing right next to Congressman Steve King. He seemed quite fired up as I spoke with him. Later on, I realized that, unfortunately, I had just missed his speech which ended up being the talk of the day. For some of the highly entertaining comments from his speech see this other Johnson Co. Republicans Blog entry (seriously, if you don't click on many links here, you should click on this one). I mentioned to King that I was a Romney supporter and informed him of "Iowans for Romney" to which he responded that he would be "breaking bread" with Romney later that evening. So, in the last week I met and spoke with two U.S. Congressmen, one U.S. Senator, and our future President!

Romney Meets with Some "Iowans for Romney"

I, along with some from our "Iowans for Romney" group, had the extraordinary experience of meeting personally with Gov. Romney. Ann Marie Curling (pictured below with Gov. Romney and me; she's not an Iowan, but is a true Romney devotee having started the "Elect Romney in 2008" blog over one year ago) was also included in our meeting. We were his last small group meeting before lunch and he spent about 15-20 minutes getting to know us and thanking us for what we are doing. To begin the session, he asked each of us in the room to explain a little bit about ourselves.

We were all impressed with how attentive and personable he was. For someone who grew up as the son of a wealthy governor he seemed amazingly "grounded" and down-to-earth. We discussed the political landscape and the current GOP field. He seemed encouraged by recent rankings of political pundits such as Chuck Todd found here from which he quoted Todd's likely top-five GOP candidates, in order . . . however, when he hesitated on #5 on the list and I seamless added "Mike Huckabee", he was astonished (to which I confessed: "I'm a sick man, aren't I?" which got a good chuckle). Other issues were discussed which shall remain undisclosed for the time being.At the end of the meeting he signed copies of his book "Turnaround" (which I received the night before as an early Father's Day gift--Thanks Laura!) and posed for pictures with us.

He truly was thankful for our efforts and he is a very gracious man. I was pretty sure that I'd like the guy, but he exceeded my expectations on how personable, likable, and attentive he was one-on-one. Count me in full-throttle on the Romney train!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Romney Report: Romney Hosts Breakfast @ Iowa GOP Convention--Commonwealth PAC Iowa Advisory Board Announced

Governor Mitt Romney hosted a breakfast for delegates at the Iowa GOP Convention on June 17th. We had several Iowans for Romney attend the breakfast as well. I drove over with my wife, youngest son John, Keith Steurer, James Graf, and Ann Marie Culring. Fortunately, we arrived 15 minutes early and got a table right up front. The large room filled up quickly and became "standing room only." I spoke with the event organizers afterwards and they estimated that there were around 400 people at the event (over 100 more than they expected).

The first order of business was the formal announcement by Doug Gross (see photo with me) of Romney's Commonwealth PAC Iowa "Advisory Committee." As the press release at Romney's PAC website confirms, this new Advisory Committee is made up of over 50 individuals (from 20+ Iowa counties) who are dedicated to helping elect GOP candidates in the upcoming elections. However, it is easy to speculate that this might represent a precursor of a team that would be ready to spring into action if/when he announces his candidacy for President in 2008. I was honored to be one of the charter members of this Advisory Committee from the growing grassroots "Iowans for Romney" network. These individuals are Keith Steurer, Kevin Patterson, Ryan & Brenda Miller, and Jim Kirkpatrick. Jim has significant political organizing experience having served as Bush's 2000 Blackhawk County Chairmanand was also able to recruit 5 other members before moving to Fayette County (he has some other photos from the event at his blogsite). Doug Gross extended an open invitation to everyone at the breakfast to sign on to the Advisory Board to help bolster its numbers and strength through the upcoming months. Similarly, anyone not at the breakfast who would like to be considered for this Advisory Board can contact me (jjfuller72@yahoo.com) and I will inform the appropriate people. (UPDATE 6/19/06--"Hotline On Call" has this update which gives a commentary on this move)

Gov. Romney arrived with his wife, Ann, and son, Josh, (see photo) as guests were eating. Doug Gross introduced Gov. Romney who thereafter invited Ann and Josh (the middle son, of five) to join him by the podium. He first invited Ann to share a few words. The substance of her message was that our country needs more people who "stand for something" and that she felt strongly about "standing for motherhood." She also expressed the joy and satisfaction that she derives from seeing the same values that she and Mitt had try to instill in their five boys being taught to their grandchildren as well.

Gov. Romney then introduced his son, a real estate developer in Salt Lake City, UT, as "the short, ugly son" ;) Josh shared about how his father taught him and his brothers the importance of hard work and how he is always an example of putting his family first (shared how recently Romney spent over an hour reading and re-reading the same book to Josh's daughter because she kept saying "again!")

Gov. Romney then addressed the crowd. He delivered a message, without notes or text, detailing the great experiences he's had as a father, businessman, CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Gov. of Massachusetts. He came across, as always, very convincingly and eloquently. He does seem to have an ability to inspire confidence and exude credibility. Throughout his address, he hit on his "stump speech" issues of the challenges America faces. These included "the Jihadists" (and he touched on his recent visit to Afghanistan and Iraq), the economic and educational threat from Asia, and the assault on marriage and the family. He also touched on immigration by stating that our immigration policy is "upside down" in that it's so hard for the educated, hard-working people we need here to become citizens but we will allow citizenship (referring to "Amnesty" I'm sure) to those who just walk into the country illegally.

Quoting from a Des Moines Register article that covered the convention.
"Some people think we're intolerant and not willing to let people choose their own lifestyle," Romney said about a constitutional amendment that would define marriage between a man and woman. "That's not true."

Massachusetts in 2004 became the first state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Since that time more than 7,300 gay couples have been married there.

Romney said his state's supreme court made a bad decision . . .

"What they didn't understand is marriage is primarily about the nurture and development of children and every child deserves to have a mother and father," said Romney, who received loud applause from an audience of more than 400 people."
In his speech he also said, "The family is the absolute foundation of our culture." I had the distinct impression that others in attendance could tell that he was a solid family man and this made his words on that issue even more convincing. This is an obvious advantage he will have over most other presidential hopefuls. His speech was followed by a resounding standing ovation. His message was strong, on target, and well delivered. The more he gets out and about, the more supporters he will acquire.

This link to the Radio Iowa Blog has some other coverage of the breakfast in a "live blogging" format . . . pretty interesting.

After his speech he posed for pictures, signed autographs, and spent some time chatting with some of the Univeristy of Iowa College Republicans Group one of which, when I informed him of the Iowans for Romney group, said that he'll be starting "College Republicans for Romney" at UI soon. I believe this was Ben Johnson who is the Executive Director of this group and is also a charter member of the aforementioned Commonwealth PAC Iowa Advisory Board.

Keith Steurer was amazed by his good fortune to run into Josh Romney, who he knew well, having lived in the same dorm at BYU their freshman years (see their photo together).
Gov. Romney then posed for a photo with me and my son John. After most everyone was gone several "Iowans for Romney" congregated and met one another. Some of us also had a good time pretending to give our own "stump speeches."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Romney Coverage at Idaho Event

The evening news at KIFI (Idaho ABC affiliate) has this news segment of Romney's visit to Idaho for the State GOP convention (and you can click on the video stream to see the news segment.) The "one letter" referred to in the article was also posted by the author at Red State (where it was appropriately "trashed").

Friday, June 16, 2006

Romney: A Firm Fiscal Conservative

The following quote is from a recent article about a spending bill proposed by the Mass. State legislature:

Gov. Mitt Romney said he supports some of the measures included in the bills, but is leery of the decision by legislative leaders to dip into the state's main savings account to pay for some of the initiatives. "There are a lot of things that we'd like to do, but we have to live within our means," Romney said yesterday. "This is not a time to be doing that."


Music to my ears . . . "we have to live within our means." With both Republicans and Democrats in Congress spending increasinly more and more it is imperitive that we have a president that believes in and can convince others of the benefits of living within their means.

JJF

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wall Street Journal -- Romney cutting taxes (or trying to at least)

This recent Wall Street Journal article (Subscription required) is titled "States See Strong Revenues, But Few Propose Big Tax Cuts." Well, Gov. Romney is in the minority in a good way on this one since he is mentioned in the piece as being one of the few who is proposing a significant tax cut.

Thus, despite election-year pressures, lawmakers generally are "reluctant to make significant tax cuts," says Raymond C. Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association. Harley Duncan, executive director of the Federation of Tax Administrators in Washington, agrees that most tax cuts this year are likely to be "fairly modest."

Some states are weighing substantial tax cuts. In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Mitt Romney has proposed cutting the state's 5.3% personal income-tax rate to 5.15% in fiscal 2007 and 5% in 2008. The proposal is still pending before the legislature, says spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. If enacted, these changes would cost the state $132 million in fiscal 2007 and $488 million in 2008, he says. When fully implemented, it would cost the state about $700 million, he adds.


While I dislike the phrase "cost the state" (since it assumes that the government already owns future tax-payer dollars) it is good to see true fiscal conservativism in action. He came in, balanced a $3 billion deficet and now that there is a surplus he sees the wisdom of decreasing the tax burden on the tax payers. We'll see if the democratic state legislature agrees (I'm not holding my breath)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Romney Headlining Idaho GOP convention June 16th

This agenda from the Idaho State GOP website confirms that Gov. Romney will be the headline speaker this Friday night, June 16th in the evening at Riverbend Ranch in Idaho Falls. The events span from 6:30-8:45 and the registration from is here for anyone interested (since most of the people who frequent this site are not from Iowa.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Special Guest Bay Buchanan at Iowa Christian Alliance House Parties (Sioux City & Council Bluffs)


The Iowa Christian Alliance's Event's webpage has confirmed that Bay Buchanan will be at the two house parties in western Iowa on Jun 23rd (Sioux City and Council Bluffs). It is interesting to note that this ins now the second prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be hosted at ICA events in the last few weeks (see this blog entry about Romney's visit with the ICA last month). Buchanan is the sister of Pat Buchanan and has significant experience in presidential campaigning including the 80 and 84 Regan campaigns and those of her brother (she headed all three of his failed bids). Many have wondered if Buchanan might play any significant role in a potential Romney presidential campaign as well. It sure would be interesting to see what might play out under that scenario.

SIOUX CITY: Friday, June 23rd; 5:30 - 7:00P.M.; Dr. Pat and Teresa Luse; 4602 Derocher Pass

COUNCIL BLUFFS: Friday, June 23rd 7:30 - 9:00P.M.; David and Jody Edwards; 21276 McPherson Avenue

Monday, June 12, 2006

Leach on Romney--Mormon Handcart Pioneer Event

Last week one of my blog entries was informing folks of the upcoming Iowa City event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Mormon Handcart Pioneer Trek from this very location to the Salt Lake Valley. The event was yesterday and was highlighted by the presence of the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley, who spoke at this event that was broadcast worldwide to church membership. It was a wonderful event with powerful and moving messages and music.

As chance would have it, my wife and I were included in the pre-meeting "VIP" reception (long, and silly, story on that one) and we had the opportunity to meet with our U.S. House of Representatives Congressman, Jim Leach. I ended up sitting by him for the entire program as well and he stated that he was impressed by the historic and religious import of the talks given by Boyd K. Packer and President Hinckley.

Interestingly, last Friday evening I marched with the Johnson County Republicans (website and blogsite) in the North Liberty "Fun Days" Parade where I was wearing a . . . you guessed it, "Jim Leach for Congress" T-shirt. Obviously, he seemed pleased by this. (Laura was sporting a "Jim Nussle for Governor" shirt and we walked the parade route as a family, with all four boys).

Representative Leach and I discussed various topics (including an interesting conversation on ebryonic stem cell research) and I informed him of my interest in Gov. Romney for President in 2008. He had been with "Mitt" (as he called him) a few weeks ago for a fundraiser and had been duly impressed with how personable Romney was and how people seem drawn to him and feel they "connect" with him. He felt that this was a definite advantage that Romney had over several of the other potential GOP nominees (though he felt Pataki had this skill as well, others, who shall not be named, definitely lacked it). He also felt that this was going to be one of the most interesting presidential races in recent history because of the lack of an incumbent or "heir apparent" VP.

Overall, I was very impressed with Representative Leach. He was nice enough to pose for a photo with me as well. Although, he's a little bit more moderate than I am on several issues, I have no problem supporting him in this re-election race (especially when compared to the Democratic opposition). Leach will definitely be getting my vote in November!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Romney fundraising the talk of the weekend

Over at Elect Romney in 2008 Blog Ann Marie has rounded up a "trifecta" of articles from this weekend about Romney's fundraising PACs. I love the part about how Romney's number #3 donator up to this point, Kem Gardner, is a DEMOCRAT!

Particularly interesting is the Boston Globe article about how effectively Romney and team have adapted to the new fundraising rules post-McCain/Feingold. I encourage anyone who can do so to contribute to Gov. Romney "early and often" (you can donate through The Commonwealth PAC website)

6/12/06 update: Hotline On Call is discussing this issue and tempers some of the statements from the Boston Glob article above.

National Journal Cover Story: "The Mass.-ter Plan"--(reviewing RomneyCare)

As many who visit this blogsite frequently may know, I have a special interest in Gov. Romney's Healthcare Initiative in Massachusetts. It was this landmark piece of legislation that was the nidus of my interest in, and support for, Romney for higher office.

The National Journal's most recent cover story this week is entitled "The Mass.-ter Plan" and, quite honestly, is the most detailed review of the plan I have seen to date. It is very informative, balanced, and has links galore to further inform yourselves on the plan. The article was free for web use for the first week, but now is only available for subscribers. I will have access to the article through my university account by the last week in June. If anyone want's a copy of it I could probably e-mail them the pdf but I probably shouldn't post is here. E-mail me at jjfuller72 at yahoo dot com

Just in the last few days Gov. Romney has been highlighted in the Wall Street Jornal, Newsweek, and now the cover story of the National Journal. Look for more of these high profile pieces to come as Romney is considered more and more as a frontrunner.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Test of Faith

The Wall Street Journal has an iteresting article about Gov. Romney called "A Test of Faith" (subscription required for the full article). Over at Bloggernacle Times they've quoted much of the article and have some nice commentary . . . Check it out!

Update 5/12/06: The entire article can be found here. Holy cow! That Wall Street Journal article mentions me! Right at the end of the article it says:
"An attendee asked whether Mr. Romney worried that some evangelicals won't
vote for him simply because he's a Mormon."

That "attendee" was me! The background on that event and why I asked the questions are detailed in a earlier blog entry of mine found here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

How to Help Mitt Romney Become President in 2008

Click on this link to see a list of 12 things you can do to help Mitt Romney become our President in 2008. Sure, no one can do everything listed, but surely, everyone can do something listed.

If you think of other things that are not on the list or have suggestions for improvement let me know.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Romney Video on Charlie Rose

Click on this link to watch streaming video of the recent interview of Governor Romney on the Charlie Rose Show (The interview starts about 3.5 min in and goes for about 25+ minutes . . . commercial free!)

They hit many major topics including, Iraq, religion/Mormonism, "RomneyCare", global warming, gay marriage, abortion, Ann Romney, and balancing the budget in Massachusetts. Romney was on task and spot on with all of his answers. Especially memorable was his convincing explanation of why abortion should be a "states rights" issue while the definition marriage cannot be a "states rights" issue which requires a constitutional amendment.

Check it out!

More Response to Romney's MPA stance

Check out the commentary and HUGE discussion section over at "The Fix" --Washington Post article . Not a surprising response from a national (and mostly liberal leaning) readership that the Post has.

Also, check out this Newsweek interview with Romney called "Person of Faith" that posted yesterday.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Buzz on Romney's MPA Letter . . . and other tidbits

A review of some blog sites have some interesting comments on the issue.

Over at "Reach Upward" Scott Hinrichs blogs about how the MPA issue will effect the GOP presidential hopeful field . . . especially analyzing Romney's letter and stance.

Mass Hub Politics gives it's take and quotes the responses of a Mass liberal group that states that Romney's action was "anti-marriage" . . . nice try guys!

Another Catholic seems quite impressed with Romney in relation to his stance on the MPA. Danny Garland Jr. at Irish Catholic and Dangerous Blog starts his blog: "Can Anything Good Come From Massachusetts? Besides the Red Sox and myself, it seems there can...Gov. Mitt Romney! With Massachusetts making bestiality and same-sex "marriage" legal, it seemed there was no more hope for my state of birth. Then Mitt Romney spoke up." I referred this blogger to the Catholics for Romney blogsite.

This link is a nice parody on those who have been attacking Romney's response to the flooding as political opportunism . . . funny stuff!

As a final tasty morsel for Romney addicts (like me) it looks like Romney and Giuliani broke bread together at Boston's Davios Restaurant night before last:

Rudy, Mitt kibitz
What, may we ask, was on the table for discussion the other night when Gov. Mitt Romney and former Big Apple Mayor Rudy Giuliani were holed up in a private room at Davio’s???
Our eatery spies report that the pair of GOP party guys dined with Giuliani’s aides and Mitt’s bride, Ann, and that the attentive servers were kept at bay for some time between courses.
Hmmm.
Now, you know the polls have the former Apple mayor second only to war hero Sen. John McCain to replace Dubya. Romney ranks fifth behind Newt Gingrich and Bill Frist, leading to speculation that Mitt may be a primo candidate for the No. 2
slot.
So, ya think the words “vice president” were brought up between the appetizers and dessert?
“Yes,” said Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. “They’re both big fans of Dick
Cheney.” Fehrnstrom, by the way, claims the political bread-breaking was “a social dinner.”
“The Governor and Rudy Giuliani are good friends who get together from time to time, and this was yet another occasion for them to catch up with each other,” he
said.

Interesting stuff! Hope Rudy sees the writing on the wall that he won't win the GOP primary (pro-gay, pro-abortion, on third marriage with a public and messy divorce, etc. . . is just too much baggage for the GOP base IMO) and throws his support behind Mitt! I see Mitt as hard to beat in that situation.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Romney Stands Firmly in Support of Marriage Potection Amendment

Governor Mitt Romney has sent this letter to every member of the Senate encouraging them to Vote "Yes" on this landmark peice of legislation--the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA). A few excerpts are below:
"Americans are tolerant, generous, and kind people. We all oppose bigotry and disparagement, and we all wish to avoid hurtful disregard of the feelings of others. But the debate over same-sex marriage is not a debate over tolerance. It is a debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage.

Attaching the word marriage to the association of same-sex individuals mistakenly presumes that marriage is principally a matter of adult benefits and adult rights. In fact, marriage is principally about the nurturing and development of children. And the successful development of children is critical to the preservation and success of our nation.

Some argue that our principles of federalism and local control require us to leave the issue of same sex marriage to the states—which means, as a practical matter, to state courts. Such an argument denies the realities of modern life and would create a chaotic patchwork of inconsistent laws throughout the country. Marriage is not just an activity or practice which is confined to the border of any one state. It is a status that is carried from state to state. Because of this, and because Americans conduct their financial and legal lives in a united country bound by interstate institutions, a national definition of marriage is necessary.

Your vote on this amendment should not be guided by a concern for adult rights. This matter goes to the development and well-being of children. I hope that you will make your vote heard on their behalf."

Maggie Gallager, President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and prominent national figure on this vital issue said nearly two years ago (in this article) the following:
“Mitt Romney is a brave man. While the GOP glitterocracy attended the first gay wedding of one of their own, Gov. Romney was in Washington, D.C., making the single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician."

Unfortunately, thanks to a lack of unity among Republican senators (especially McCain and our own Grassley who do not support it) the MPA has little, if any, chance of passing. Part of the problem is the lack of true leadership on this issue and the cop-out of "states rights" (I know I'm being conned when my other state Senator, Harkin, a Democrat, writes his standard letter back to me that he feels strongly in supporting states rights).

Governor Romney stands head an shoulders among GOP presidential frontrunners on this issue and could provide the true leadership that is necessary to get the MPA through on the next time around.

Discuss your opinions below, or over at this Red State link that I posted (and if you like the message "recommend" the diary so that it gets more views and comments.

Romney on PBS "Charlie Rose" Show Tonight at 11:30--IPTV

Governor Romney will be a guest on the Charlie Rose Show tonight (very bottom of the page) from 11:30PM through 12:30 AM on Iowa Public Television (IPTV listing--Channel 13 for me here in North Liberty on Comcast Cable). At least, that is what the listings are saying now (another confirmatory link). Not sure of all the details, but he looks like the only guest and so he should take up most, if not all, of that one hour time frame--a great opportunity to see and evaluate him in depth, both for those who are just getting to know more about him and for those who are already "sold" on him! If you're not from Iowa and reading this post then you should be able to check your local listings at this link.

Romney unlikely to split GOP.

This non-scientific and small sample size poll at Red State still convincingly shows a positive trend for Governor Romney.

The poll reads as follows and these results are as of June 4th--vote on the poll on the left hand side (not sure if you have to be a member of Red State--but sign up because it's a great community for conservatives and Romney often needs some defending there . . . plus you can post diaries that sometimes get lots of reads and comments. If you can't vote in the poll and see the results I have pasted them in below.):

Which of these candidates would be most likely to trigger a serious third party?
·
Sen. John McCain 52%
·
Mayor Rudy Giuliani 21%
·
Gov. Mitt Romney 3%
·
Sen. George Allen 1%
·
None 21%
Votes: 65

Only 3% for Romney where Giuliani is 7X more likely to have GOPers start a 3rd party and McCain is nearly 18X! At least the folks at Red State seem more put off by liberal policy than by a candidates' religion.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Latest on Romney's Healthcare Bill

Gov. Romney was on Fox News last night (video of interview is here without the following commentary . . . this link has text from both the interview and the commentary that followed from the panel). One commentator didn't like the plan because there was little de-regulation of what insurance companies could offer and suggested they do it like Conneticut (though Romney had just stated that he wished he could have done more on this . . . but in Liberal Mass. he couldn't get anywhere.) He expressed fears of how much this could cost businesses and the government . . . similar to the fears I expressed here earlier after Romney's vetoes were overridden by the Mass. legislature and I could see the cost going out of control (again, Romney should not be blamed for these increased costs and fees.)

The panel discussion did end on quite a positive note and I quote from the transcript:


"Gigot: Bret, the governor, nonetheless, is getting a lot of credit for this--for addressing an issue, health care, that a lot of the Republicans just run from, they don't want to have anything to do with; and for getting things done and working in a bipartisan fashion. Do you think this could be the kind of issue that helps him as he seeks the Republican nomination?

Stephens: Absolutely. I mean, you saw how he comes across. He's smart. He's well-informed. And he's providing solutions and working with his Democratic opposition. I think he deserves a certain amount of credit, more so than maybe we've been willing to give him. I think the other thing about the plan that's interesting is he does
take the 20% or so of uninsured people who are eligible for Medicaid and gets
them into Medicaid. And he manages effectively to identify really the 40% of
people who exist somewhere between being eligible for Medicaid and being able to
afford health insurance, who are really sort of the heart of this problem. Now, whether the solution he offers is the right one, I'm not so sure. But he has been a proactive, effective politician in a Democratic state. And I think that's going to give
him a national platform."

For those really interested in informing themselves on the MA Healthcare issue the following will be very revealing:

On May 31st, Ryan Moffit, Ph.D. (director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation) wrote this very positive piece about Romney's plan in the Washington Post.

Another interview at MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews respecting Gov. Romney's healthcare plan was quite positive (it aired on April 13th).

A great resource about the plan is a lecture presentation that Gov. Romney gave at the Heritage Foundation on Jan 26th (about 25 min PowerPoint presentation followed by 15 min of Q&A--just click on "View Event"). This goes through some of the nuts and bolts of the initiative and is a great primer for the uninitiated.

Finally, two recent editorial opinion articles ("Can Massachusetts Lead the Way in Healthcare Reform?" and "Healthcare Reform in Massachusetts--A Work in Progress") from the May 18th New England Journal of Medicine (one of the top three most influential clinical medicine journals worldwide--Lancet and JAMA being the others) review the plan. Both point out some strong points and some potential pitfalls with the first article being more "pro" and the second pointing out more of the "cons." These are very important articles for Romney supporters to be aware of since hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of interested healthcare workers will have read them and will use the same arguments therein detailed (for better or for worse). The author of the first article, Stuart Altman, gives a 6 minute audio interview with the Journal regarding his take on the plan.

If you have not read my personal take on the Mass. Healthcare bill you can find it (along with some lively commentary from visitors) in this Red State diary entry.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Romney Visit Updates

Head over to Elect Romney in 2008 Blog and get the updates on Gov. Romney's upcoming visits to California, Arizona, Iowa, Arkansas and Michigan over the next few months.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

See "Romney's Healthcare Plan Revisited" at Elect Romney in 2008 Blog

Take a trip over to Ann Marie Curling's Blogsite (where she has been allowing me to blog) and check out the latest on Romney's Health Care Initiative. Also, Jason Bonham over at Illinoisians for Mitt gives his perspective on the same topic.