For the last many hours it has been pretty slow, but it is now starting to pick up. Because of the lack of audio in the blogger room here and the limited space in the main hall where the speeches are given, I am just going to take notes on a pad of paper and will update you following the speech and subsequent events in a new post.
Vote for Mitt!
2:15 PM – Event Pictures
Me and Jeff Flake
Ron Paul right next to me
Fred and Jeri Thompson
So some final afternoon observations.
One thing that really stuck out to me was the ages of most of the people attending the conference. While there are people of all ages, there were mostly young people, ages 18-30. It was great. Usually the youth is reserved for liberalism, but times are a-changin. Most likely, it is attributed to the fact that young people are generally more energetic and passionate. They like to be involved. This usually dies out as they get older.
I missed Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Too bad. He is great. I would love to see him move up in the ranks of the GOP. He ought to challenge O’Malley for the governorship in 2010.
The best candidate in terms of overall performance so far today is Mike Huckabee. It is a shame that he does not have greater support. He would be a fantastic president. I have met a lot of people who tell me that they would support him if he were running better in the polls. He would be a great veep. I think a Romney-Huckabee ticket would be incredible. He is also a genuinely nice man. He walked right up near me for his Q&A, shook my hand and joked with a few of us. He is the kind of person everyone wishes would run for President, people just don’t know he exists.
Finally, it is time to call out the Romney supporters. It has become blatantly apparent to me (today and over the last week) that the “flip-flopper” tag stuck to Mitt is unfair. Thompson and Giuliani have flipped as much if not more than Romney. It is high time we start making some noise about this. This perception only exists because they have no other dirt on him. Romney is as clean as can be.
Also, Virginia Mitt supporters need 10,000 signatures from VA residents to get Mitt on the primary ballot by December. Contact everyone you know in VA and send them to Virginia for Mitt to find out how to sign the petition. Elections are run at the grass roots, let’s get on it.
The craziness has subsided until tonight when we will be able to hear from Gov. Romney. Fred Thompson was the last speaker and seemed to be the most popular of the speakers here. I was lucky and happened to be a the entrance of the Summit when he and Jeri arrived and was able to get a picture.
It is easy to see why Thompson appeals to many conservatives. He comes across as a regular guy and the accent makes him more like the common man. He actually reminds me a lot of President Bush in 1999.
The content of his words were the same as all the rest. He focused on fiscal responsibility and personal freedom. His biggest applause came when he said, “We need judges who interpret the constitution and don’t make it up as they go along.” All in all he was all fluff no substance. There was nothing of how to fix things. He kept it broad and just talked about what he intends to fix.
One thing I noticed from all the candidates was that they often make blanket statements that have no shot to be accurate but are effective. For example, Thompson said the U.S. has “the least efficient tax code in the World.” Please. Let’s at least try to make an accurate statement. But, considering the crowd he was talking to, it worked. The nature of politics.
My favorite congressman, Rep Jeff Flake from AZ, just walked in, I had the pleasure of meeting him and getting a picture with him. I will post the pic later today. We need more politicians like him.
So I just ran into a writer from Virginia for Mitt, he said that he was walking around the summit and saw Senator Sam Brownback mosying around, looking at pictures. So he went up to him and introduced himself. In the course of the conversation, Brownback asked him if he new where he (Brownback) was supposed to be. Virginia For Mitt writer asked him if he had any staff, and Sam responded that he is meeting someone here.
That is incredible. How is it that a Presidential Candidate has that little organization? He has offices a mile away, he needs to grab some staff out his senate office and have them here to help him. Funny stuff.
So here on bloggers row we have no audio of the events in the main hall. The techs are working on it, but for now I have to go into the hall and take notes then come back in here to write. So it is not as real time as I would like. We just had a rush of Q&A’s, so here is the coverage. (They are not exact quotes).
In hearing Ron Paul speak the word that comes to mind is “passion.” From both he and his supporters. I found many of his ideas intriguing and appealing, however he just goes a bit to far on isolationism. His isolationist ideas sound nice, but are impossible to implement and are simply too idealistic.
Q. People were surprised about the strength of your fundraising in the last quarter What is your explanation?
A. It reflects the growing strength of campaign. We were surprised, but it refutes the claim that just a couple of people on internet support me. Our fundraising has doubled every quarter (114% increase). Some even have to use their own money to inflate their numbers ((A shot at Romney)). The increase in funds allows us to buy advertisement.
Q. There are still people at poverty level and below. How would your adminstration address this?
A. Destruction of currency caused this. The poor lose; cost of living increases faster than income. It is ironic that those who want to help decide to create more entitlements despite the fact they do not have the money, so they just print more money, which hurts the people. A free market system with sound money is essential. The way out is accomplished by looking at our fiscal policy. We are spending billions on maintaining an empire. We should use that money to tide people over who are dependent, until they can stand on their own. If we continue to do what we are doing, it will never be fixed. Stop spending and restore soundness.
Q. How can you compete with other front tier candidates?
A. The other campaigns are helping us a whole lot, spending too much. They are acting like the government. We now have a lot of publicity, including from other campaigns. It is like a free ride. Even with less money we will be competitive. There is also a lot of money being spent by private groups. They all organized spontaneously. We don’t even have to buy campaign signs.
Q. Considering No Child Left Behind, how to help the kids?
A. ((See above answer)). Tax credits for people, we cannot do it by current system. Partial privatization. No child left behind is a failed program.
Q. Is Giulaini acting like this thing is done?
A. There are signs of that.
Q. Considering your previous comments on education, do you advocate the dissoution of the Department of Education? ((My question))
A. That is not where my attack is. My attack is with our foreign policy. We could better invest that money here at home. However, ultimately I would like to reform it. (A lot more of fluff)
Q. Would President Paul sign the law of the sea treaty?
A. No, I am interested in national sovereignty. But I would work with other governments on the issue. I have no interest in World Bank, WTO, and organizations like that.
Q. Why should a pro-Iraq conservative support you?
A. For fiscal policy. Or look at interventionist history. All great nations spread themselves too thin. I don’t understand why conservatives don’t see that. Conservatism is not re-routing money (not direct quote). However, I do support a strong national defense.
How can we continue to have America be a platform for growth? We need to get systems fixed. We need an alternate flat tax and allow people to choose or to stay in the same system. We also have to move to optional private social security account.
Q. What is cause of your lack of momentum in the campaign?
A. Well, we did third in Ames. We can produce a good ground game. I also think the race is still open for a dark horse candidate to come forward. Party is built on principle not
Q. Why is there some dissatisfaction with the front runners?
A. I think it is the policy issues. Their lives, taxes, past policy supports. basic Philisophical challenge, front runners have inconsistencies. Also need to find creative solution in Iraq. I support a federalism structure in Iraq; a soft partition.
Q. You mentioned giving people an option to use the current tax systems, with the current huge bureaucracy of the IRS and the convoluted system, how will having two optional systems work and make things more efficient? ((My Question))
A. ((Mostly dodged it)) He denied that it would make things more difficult, but that personal choice is essential to a successful program.
Shook hands, great guy.
The tax system is out of date, complete elimination of current taxes. We need a consumption tax.
Q. After your straw poll success, are you dissapointed in your fundraising?
A. Not at all, I have not spent the money that others have. Yet I am running quite strong.
Q. Obama not wearing flag pin anymore. Any comments on that?
A. That’s not the reason for a person to vote or not to vote for president. Not really the topic to talk about.
Q. Considering private enterprise to solve problems, are you troubled philosophically that we cannot go to war without private contractors?
A. We need to have an army that is capable. Yet there is a need for contractors. We are spending too much money on the war at the expense of the troops. We also spend too much on social programs. Better management will allow us to more effectively utilize the money that we have and also use our military.
Q. How did you not generate more funds after Ames?
A. Actually, we keep increasing money each quarter and we don’t have to give ourselves 10 million (A dig at romney). We keep 4 tires on the track and still have fuel in the tank. We are encouraged. Considering the spending habits of some candidates, we have to ask what their spending habits would be with taxpayer money.
Q. Can you make inroads with Reagan democrats?
A. I did it in Arkansas, I have already received the machinist and aerospace unions endorsement.
Q. Why have social conservatives not impacted the race as much this time around?
A. Because they are willing to compromise to support someone they think can win ((essentially)).
9:25 -Rudy Giuliani
Of the major speakers here today, Mayor Giuliani went first. The first thing I noticed is that he is very comfortable on the stump. He is charismatic and likable. He also was very successful keeping the audience entertained.
The focus of his words were, for good reason, fiscal responsibility. In speaking of his record in New York he said, “I have a record of results doing these things (tax cuts, etc); not once, not twice, but many times and against tough odds…Compare the results.”
“Tax cuts work! They worked for President Kennedy, President Reagan, President Bush. They worked in Germany and Japan…and in New York City. They are even working in France!” — This last line drew a great response from the crowd. “In fact, the only place thinking about tax increases is here in D.C.”
He then went on to tell about a dream he says he had. As a preface he mentions a book that President Sarkozy wrote and in the book Sarkozy mentioned that he wanted to go to America to learn some of our fiscal policies and apply them in France. This lead to Giuliani’s dream. He dreamed that there was an airplane flying from France to America with Sarkozy on board. At the same time an air plane was flying from America to France. These airplanes almost crashed into each other; they flew extremely close to each other. Close enough for the passengers to see each other. Sarkozy looked over and recognized the passengers and waved. In return Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards waved back.
The line that received the biggest applause was a simple line when he said, “In my administration, the day of anonymous earmarks are over.”
All in all it seemed like an effective speech. This is a safe venue for Giuliani, while his greatest strength is defense, he is also strong on fiscal policy. So far he has not had to address his social policies, we’ll see if he is challenged in the Q&A if he decides to participate.
(Giuliani did not do a Q&A) 8:50 Am
So the events are about to start. We are in the Senate room of the Mayflower hotel–Bloggers Row. While we are not directly in the hall where the speeches are given, we are in the room where the press conferences/Q&A are given. Not only that but I am sitting directly behind and to the left of the podium. I can literally touch the candidate/speakers, so look for video and I will be right there. The main hall is full of people of milling about. At the South end are two giant tv screens on each side of the stage and a podium in the middle. In the audience, the seats are separated by State. There are a lot of folks from Wisconsin here, I am not sure why, but…”because we rock, because we’re cheeseheads” according to fellow blogger and current neighbor Fred Dooley of Real Debate Wisconsin.
Greetings from Washington DC, our great nation’s Capital. I am here at the Mayflower hotel to cover all of the day’s events at the Defending the American Dream Summit. We have an incredible docket of speakers and visitors, and we here at Dry Fly Politics in association with The Mitt Report are here to cover all of the important events. Today’s line up includes:
Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and Lt. Governor Michael Steele (I really like him!)
And most importantly, tonight in the Key Note speech, our candidate, Mitt Romney!
Other Blogs covering the event
http://www.samadamsalliance.org/blog/ http://ksky.townhall.com/ http://www.pajamasmedia.com/
http://www.newstalk1130.com/pages/vicki_mckenna.html http://www.kxl.com/personalities.aspx?ID=70 http://peterandhelenevans.com/