Tancredo to abandon presidential bid
By GEORGE MERRITT, Associated Press Writer 20 minutes
DENVER - Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, whose forceful
opposition to illegal immigration vaulted him to
national prominence, plans to announce he is
abandoning his long-shot bid for the presidency, a
person close to Tancredo said Wednesday.
The five-term Colorado congressman planned to make the
announcement at a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa,
on Thursday, the person said, speaking on condition of
anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for
Tancredo or his campaign.
Tancredo's campaign would only say he planned a "major
Tancredo has consistently polled at the back of the
nine-person GOP field. He has based his campaign on
opposition to illegal immigration, a top issue in many
areas of the country. He has run television ads that
link lax border security to terrorist attacks, rape
and other crimes.
Tancredo announced in October that he would not seek a
sixth term in Congress, but hinted he would consider
running for the Senate after his presidential bid.
Colorado will have an open Senate seat next year when
Republican Wayne Allard retires.
Fears about illegal immigration boosted Tancredo's
profile, but it didn't translate into support as
reflected by his low standing in national and state
polls and his limited fundraising. In part, candidates
such as Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani usurped
Tancredo's hardline stance on the issue, prompting the
congressman to quip at one debate that "all I've heard
is people trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo."
Tancredo drew criticism for a controversial campaign
ad that showed a man in a hooded sweat shirt with a
backpack in a crowded mall. The screen goes dark at
the sound of an explosion, and then the ad shows clips
of the aftermath of terrorist acts in Europe,
including a picture of a bloodied child.
"There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20
million aliens who have come to take our jobs," a
narrator says. "Islamic terrorists now freely roam
U.S. soil, jihadists who froth with hate, here to do
as they have in London, Spain, Russia. The price we
pay for spineless politicians who refuse to defend our
borders against those who come to kill."
"I approve this message because someone needs to say
it," Tancredo says at the beginning of the ad.
Tancredo took credit in July for some of the political
woes that have befallen Sen. John McCain, once the
front-runner in the GOP race. Tancredo has hammered
McCain in Iowa and other states for supporting a
failed immigration bill in Congress that would have
legalized millions of immigrants now in the country.
The grandson of an Italian immigrant, Tancredo says he
became angry about illegal immigration because of
bilingual education requirements in schools. He says
those requirements turned out students who were
illiterate in two languages.
Tancredo wants the military to patrol U.S. borders and
employers to be required to prove a need for
short-term foreign workers.
Never shy about stirring controversy, Tancredo told a
radio talk-show host that "you could take out" Islamic
holy sites should terrorists ever launch a nuclear
attack against the United States.
When asked if he meant bombing holy sites like Mecca,
Tancredo answered: "Yeah" and said he was "just
throwing out some ideas."