The problem with Gilmore was that he spent much of his opening remarks complaining about how he wasn’t given enough time to speak in the debates, but here he was, with a room full of journalists all to himself, and he was harping on his lack of speaking time. But I don’t think it’s just a matter of time, it’s a matter of making the best out of the time allotted to you. According to this clock, Mike Huckabee only got to speak for 49 seconds more than Gilmore, and yet most people agree that Huckabee had an impact.
He also seems to think that by saying he is a “consistent conservative” consistently enough, conservatives will rally around him, even though he doesn’t offer a clear conservative vision for the future. When asked to elaborate on the specifics of his tax plan, he took a long time to get to the point that his tax program would be to reduce taxes. He also spent a long time laying out the foreign policy challenges we face, which he said we should address through military power, diplomatic power, economic power, and regaining our moral high ground in the world. Just about everybody running for president–Republican or Democrat–would more or less agree on this, but the disagreement is over how we use the tools at our disposal, but Gilmore, again, was short on specifics.
Gilmore also had some harsh words for his rivals. He said of Giuliani, that he “doesn’t pretend to be a conservative. The party should not nominate him, and I don’t think they will.” But if Gilmore has such a beef with Rudy, how come he spent the whole morning talking about national security and taxes–both issues that Giuliani is strong on–rather than discuss social issues, on which Rudy is most vulnerable? He also said McCain is “not a solid conservative” and Romney’s healthcare plan was not market based.
When a questioner asked him about his claim to be “the only true conservative” in the race, he blew his stack, slamming his notebook on the table, and shouting, “I never said that!” He said he was a consistent conservative, but then added, “I don’t claim to be a better conservative.” Huh? Isn’t that the whole point of his candidacy? Asked to specifically comment on his second-tier rivals, he said that he thought his experience was “broader” than Sam Brownback’s and that Huckabee raised taxes. He said he liked Duncan Hunter a lot, but he’s a congressman, so he would make a good Secretary of Defense. But his harshest words were reserved for Tom Tancredo, who he said in Tuesday’s debate was, “nativist, anti-Hispanic, and angry.”
UPDATE: More here.
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