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Tom Tancredo serves no whine before its time

Yes, that's former congressman Tom Tancredo hosting a VIP opening celebration at the new Water 2 Wine winery in the Shops at Greenwood Village next month. But don't think Tancredo is about to trade rabble-rousing for a career as a mild-mannered businessman. Once Tancredo came uncorked over immigration, you could never put him back in the bottle.

"I'm just along for the ride," Tancredo says of the investment he and his wife, Jackie, a retired schoolteacher, made in the Water 2 Wine franchise, the second in the state, with three other couples. "Just a small part of the action. I can't be diverted from troublemaking with something like this."

And there's plenty of trouble to make these days, with Tancredo still the go-to name on the anti-illegal front; as such, he'll keynote a rally in Phoenix on June 5. "Two years after I leave office, people still call me," he says. "I still do television and get beat up a lot. But there's some degree of satisfaction in that, maybe because I'm a masochist." Still, he's somewhat surprised that no other politician has stepped forward as the lead spokesman of the anti-illegal immigration forces, since "one of the reasons I felt pretty good about the decision to leave office was there were other folks speaking out very loudly on the issue," he notes. "And they still do, but they just don't want to be known as that one-trick pony, like Tancredo."

A pony who's ready to go through his paces all over again. "What I have learned from the process is that if you indeed want to have an impact on any issue as broad as that, with so much controversy surrounding it — especially when you go in as a freshman — that's all you can do," Tancredo says. "I had to use all the time I could possibly muster for that issue, because otherwise you get nowhere with it." Even if it means burning your own bridges within the party, being told by Karl Rove that you should never darken the door of the White House, then making a quixotic run for president.

"I look back at my career and I have no complaints, no remorse about anything," Tancredo says. "I know I caused some rancor, but you just don't get anything done in this particular arena without that. It makes me feel very good that I helped move a national issue."

No sour grapes, either.

Scene and herd: Wine is just one of Tancredo's new hobbies. Last week he fired up his Twitter account to urge his followers to "Check out the new illegal immigration game at http://www.illegalimmigration.com/default.aspx..." That link takes folks to the home page of a new trivia game sporting the extremely creative moniker "Illegal Immigration," the brainchild of two dudes who attempt to link their trivia game to 9/11. One of the partner's sons died in the attack, which the two blame on this country's inability to control its borders, and so the game, which comes with 600 trivia cards and an instruction manual, is their way of advocating for tougher immigration laws — and honoring the life of a terrorist victim — all for the low, low price of $39.95.

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