In recent days, Colorado Republican Party boss Dick Wadhams has been eager to chat about Tom Tancredo. On Friday in this space, Wadhams blasted Tancredo's planned run for governor, and he gave Tancredo an earful on a radio talk show yesterday. But now that Tancredo is in the race, Wadhams is clamming up. Is it because he realizes he made a terrible political mistake -- telling the truth without thinking through the consequences?
In his Friday conversation with Westword, Wadhams called Tancredo's potential campaign Republicans' "worst nightmare." And while he didn't state categorically that a Republican candidate couldn't win if Tancredo jumped into the fray -- "That's the question, isn't it?" he said when asked directly -- he certainly insinuated it strongly in remarks like this one:
"If he was sincere about what his goal was, which is to defeat John Hickenlooper, he wouldn't be doing what he's doing. To suddenly enter this thing and create a false, dishonest choice of either 'You pull out now or I'm getting in' is only furthering Tom Tancredo's ambitions, and it does nothing but help elect John Hickenlooper in November."
Now, of course, Tancredo's candidacy has gone from a possibility to virtually a done deal, with only some random paperwork and American Constitution Party machinations to be completed. Wadhams reacted to this situation on KHOW, where Tancredo enjoys home-field advantage thanks to the support of host and fellow immigration tub-thumper Peter Boyles. On the program, Wadhams went into attack-dog mode, hectoring Tancredo about his past calls to impeach President Barack Obama or a previous threat to bomb Mecca. Listen to the fireworks here.
So what's Wadhams saying now? Not much. In response to multiple interview requests this morning, Wadhams sent an e-mail note that reads: "At this point, I have nothing more to say about the Tancredo matter. My comments to you last week along with the statement I generally put out still stand."
To that, I sent a reply asking how Wadhams hoped to convince the Republican faithful to get excited about the party's nominee for governor, whether it winds up being troubled candidates Scott McInnis or Dan Maes or a third person to be named later, when he's spent days implying that Tancredo's entry into the race all but locks up a victory for presumptive Democratic nominee John Hickenlooper.
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Thus far: silence. If Wadhams does eventually provide an answer, we'll share it with you. In the meantime, page down to read his formal statement about Tancredo, which omits mentions of Obama and the destruction of Mecca in favor of a complaints about a broken promise:
Dick Wadhams' statement about Tom Tancredo:
"When one considers Tom Tancredo broke his term limits pledge as a ten-year member of Congress, it is not a surprise today he began his fifth decade of running for public office.
"Tancredo pledged to serve only three terms when he was elected to Congress in 1998 but he broke that pledge and served a total of five terms. He was paid more than $1.5 million by the taxpayers during that ten-year period.
"Tancredo has been running for public office or seeking political appointments over the past five decades. He was elected to the state legislature in the 1970's, worked as a political appointee in the U.S. Department of Education in the 1980's, ran for Congress in 1998, unsuccessfully ran for president in 2008, and is now beginning his fifth decade by announcing for governor in 2010.
"Tom Tancredo is now running on the American Constitution Party's platform to end congressional pensions and salaries and, once again, I assume he will forego his own congressional pension and he will reimburse the taxpayers for more than $1.5 million that he was paid as a congressman for ten years."