The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


GOP Hopefuls, Defending the Dream

Giuliani, telling the Americans for Prosperity summit crowd a story about air travel as a metaphor for the wrong direction Democrats are headed. (AP).

A little-known small government group called Americans for Prosperity found itself quite popular this week: its first conference drew almost all of the GOP's White House hopefuls. In between clips of Ronald Reagan talking about the virtues of small government, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback and Ron Paul spoke out against high taxes and big government to a crowd of more than 1,000 tightly-packed into a ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel. John McCain held a small event for the group on Capitol Hill on Thursday night and Mitt Romney was due to speak Friday evening.

Giuliani drew the loudest applause for a speech that repeatedly bashed Hillary Clinton, as the ex-mayor lampooned her idea of giving $5,000 to every child born in the United States and repeatedly compared her governing ideas to those of Europe.

Noting the recent election French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative who is considering tax cuts and has earned the praise of many Republicans, Giuliani told the "Defending the American Dream" audience about a dream of his own. The former mayor said he dreamt of Sarkozy flying in a plane on the U.S while passing another plane headed toward France. "Sarkozy can see inside the window of the plane headed for France. And the people going from the United States to France waving to him are Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards," Giuliani said, using his simultaneous air travel story to imply that the current Democratic candidates' approach to government was similar to that of the French political ideals that Sarkozy had defeated.

While Giuliani won loud applause by promising to rein in federal spending and get rid of earmarks, Thompson got a milder reception as he focused more on limiting spending on retirement programs like Social Security.

The loudest applause wasn't for any of the candidates, but for Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who was dubbed "The best United States Senator there is" by Tim Phillips, the group's president. Coburn has drawn the ire of even Senate Republicans for his opposition to pork in congressional bills.

The candidates' attendance at the event underscored how important spending issues have become on the Republican side of the 2008 campaign. With a base eager to hear how candidates will shrink the government, particularly in New Hampshire, Romney and Giuliani spent much of this week in a back and forth over which candidate has most strongly opposed taxes in his career. Thompson has railed against a growing federal government since he started running, and a big part of McCain's reform message has long been reform of pork gets into legislation.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

Posted at 4:05 PM ET on Oct 5, 2007
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Fred Thompson, in contrast to the other GOP hopefuls, may be "masterful politician." He seems to be rolling along full steam ahead on a bridge-to-KNOWwhere. He's definitely providing the entertainment along the way. He's in touch with the ignoramus, and can speak to bible-beatin', gun-totin' Southerners. long live Dixie!

having the media against you can be an advantage, as Bushy proved in '04 and '00. Of course, America is at a different place and time, but have we fundamentally changed? All, beware.

Posted by: morris_ae | October 9, 2007 11:42 AM

By the way, 5.1 million dollar Ron Paul was there.

Why didn't you mention that his mic was cut off in the middle of his speach.

I guess the media read 1984. If you don't report it, it never happened!

MSNBC reported it:

Posted by: jacastillo | October 6, 2007 5:25 PM

I was also there. Paul definately is growing in support. The reason why they had such a large turn out was partly due to Ron Paul being there. I saw more Ron Paul stickers than any other candidate!
Ron Paul has 5.3 million cash-on-hand! He is in the top-tier like it or now MSM.

Posted by: toggs2 | October 6, 2007 12:38 AM

Americans for Prosperity...prosperity for who..With Ron Paul it's the people...the rest belong to the Council on Foreign Realtions. They are puppets for the shadow govt. Check it Republican and Democrat running for President that belong to the CFR.... They don't tell the people and if asked will probably deny it! The CFR wants complete amnesty and the North American Union. If you middle class in the US Ron Paul is your only hope...clues jobs going overseas, NAFTA truckers driving across the US to Canada, Amnesty..WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

Posted by: riceowlex | October 5, 2007 9:51 PM

Go Ron Paul Where is the vid of his speech.
Looked on Youtube...Guess I'll look again!

Posted by: riceowlex | October 5, 2007 9:30 PM

The loudest applause weren't for Giuliani, they were for Ron Paul. There were signs and buttons all over the Summit, surprising even an ardent supporter like myself. It was good to see his message resonating, even if the media prefers to look past it.

Posted by: lkmdrew | October 5, 2007 8:19 PM

Have Republicans forgotten the definition of the word "conservative?"

Barry Goldwater, the father of the modern conservative movement and mentor to Ronald Reagan stated that "being a conservative in America traditionally meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution. We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution. We treasure the freedoms that document protects..." He went on to say "I have little interest in streamlining government in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that will impose an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible." The US has $9.0 trillion of debt and Ron Paul is the only candidate seriously talking about significantly reducing the size of the federal government. Both Goldwater and Reagan, like Ron Paul, believed in small government, reduced taxes and protection of liberty. In 10 terms in Congress Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes, never approved an unbalanced budget, never voted for a restriction on gun ownership, he is pro-life, wants to return authority back to the states, protect our borders, protect US Sovereignty, get the US troops from under UN Command and back under the authority of Congress, eliminate entitlement programs, and wants to get the IRS our of American's lives and the federal government out of regulating and taxing businesses into extinction. We would all be well served to pull out our primer The Conscience of the Conservative by Goldwater and refresh ourselves on the meaning of the word "conservative." Remarkably, the definition is Ron Paul and his campaign is the Hope to Restore the Republic.

Posted by: wpitts | October 5, 2007 4:23 PM

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