The Romney campaign is quietly trying to figure out what to do with its biggest conservative endorser to date, Paul Weyrich, after the surrogate publicly accused the board of the National Right to Life Committee of accepting money for its endorsement of former Sen. Fred Thompson, and embarrassed Romney in doing so.
A few weeks ago, Weyrich, a lion of the conservative movement in Washington, whose profile has been limited in the past several years due to a series of injuries and poor health, was again on center stage, endorsing Romney. Now the Romney campaign is trying to use Weyrich's name, but not the man himself.
"There's no message discipline there,"Â says a Romney adviser. "But every political reporter in town knows how to get a hold of him. We don't want him talking to the press if this is what we're going to get every time."
Weyrich, who helped found the Heritage Foundation, and launched the Free Congress Foundation, as well as the first serious attempt at conservative television, National Empowerment Television, among other well-known conservative organizations, is probably more responsible for creation of the conservative network as it exists today than just about any other activist in Washington or elsewhere in the country. He's been known to speak his mind.
But the Romney campaign now is questioning just how effective Weyrich can be after the NRLC dust up. "Having to answer questions about a surrogate, who really isn't supposed to be a public surrogate, isn't what we bargained for," says the Romney adviser. "We have to tread carefully, but we have to do something."
AT YOUR COMMAND
Much has been made of the fact that Rudy Giuliani's campaign was telling reporters over the weekend that its candidate had been boning up on NASCAR lore and culture before spending time down south with the salt of the earth voters who feel the need for speed, despite the fact that he'd already attended two other races earlier this year.
Some attendees at last week's Federalist Society conference were wondering if Giuliani shouldn't be studying up on his Constitution or maybe was being overly Freudian in his slips, given the beating he's been taking from social conservatives.
On a few occasions during his speech last Friday, Giuliani made reference to the "Ten Amendments" when referencing the "Ten Commandments."
"And I can't figure out where in the Constitution, in the First Amendment or anywhere else in the Constitution, either the clause against establishment of religion or protecting the free exercise of religion, I cannot figure out where some imperative exists to take the words 'under God' out of the Pledge of Allegiance or to ban the mention of the Ten Amendments in a public square." He later corrected himself.
Then later: "That's what liberty is all about. Our liberty is secured even before it was secured by the Ten Amendments to the Constitution, it was secured by the structure of our government. It's probably our most reliable assurance." No word yet from the ACLU.