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Tom Tancredo on Dan Maes meeting and dodging attacks as a "racist, Nazi bastard"

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Tancredo was cheerful and upbeat moments before speaking to a technology group at a Denver hotel. "Remember that old saying -- 'every day, in every way, I'm getting better'?" he asks with a chuckle.

Then he takes on the subject of his latest sit-down with Maes. When the Colorado Springs Gazette reported about the Tuesday meeting, the paper said the chat took place at an "undisclosed location in Morrison" -- but it isn't undisclosed anymore.

"It's called Lair O' the Bear Park outside of Idledale," says Tancredo. "I didn't even know it existed."

He suggested the conversation "for the obvious reason," he goes on. "I was hoping he would consider dropping out, now that he's at 15 percent in the polls. I couldn't figure out what he would want to be doing. We were at a debate two or three nights ago, and I said, 'Dan, do you think it would be a productive use of our time to get together, just the two of us, and talk things out?' And he said, 'Yes, I do.' And I thought, 'Hey, that's good' -- because I assumed by saying a 'productive use of our time,' something could be gained by this discussion. And he called back next morning and suggested this location, which was a little odd. But it's a nice little park."

At Lair O' the Bear, Tancredo and Maes sat down together at a picnic table, "and I said, 'Dan, what is it you're trying to accomplish? What's your goal here?' He said, 'Its the same as when I started: to be governor.' And I said, 'Well, that doesn't seem to truly be a feasible, rational goal. So what else is there? Is this a personal thing?'

"This lasted for some time, and then we got into a discussion about some of his concerns -- about the ads and that sort of thing," he notes, referencing the negative spots from the Tancredo campaign that Maes communication director Nate Strauch dismissed in the Tuesday item "Dan Maes Spokesman Not Worried About Falling Below 10% Support, Thinks TV Ad May Turn Tide."

To that, Tancredo says, "I tried to explain that whether I was in the race or not, he would be in the situation he's in, so it's irrelevant. The question is, what are we going to do now? What are we going to do for this state? And we reached no agreement on that.

"The only thing that gave me hope was, toward the end of it, we were talking about whether or not the Republicans would put somebody else in. He said, 'If I dropped out, Republicans would put somebody else in and it would still siphon off votes.' And I said, 'I don't think so. First of all, nobody in their right mind would go in. And second, they know I would govern as a Republican.' And he said, 'I'll call Dick about that'" -- a reference to Dick Wadhams, head of the Colorado GOP.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts