The Irvine Republican Council’s Nov 15th presidential debate

At times multitasking can be rather difficult. After watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and 90 minutes of the Las Vegas Democratic presidential debate, I drove to the Irvine Water District office to attend the Irvine Republican Council’s Republican candidate debate. There were so many people that they had to bring in extra chairs as some of the group of 70 plus attendees were standing along the walls.

Prior to the debate IRC Chairman David Sparks permitted local elected officials to provide a brief update on their districts or cities. Assemblyman DeVore briefly updated his efforts on nuclear energy which was followed by Irvine councilman, (and candidate for the 71st AD), Steve Choi who mentioned a job opening in Irvine with a salary of $250,000 per year. It seems they need a Director for the Great Park.

While none of the presidential candidates were in attendance, IRC invited their local campaign representatives to share details of the campaign activities.

Leading off was 70th AD Assemblyman Chuck DeVore who as state co-chair is working alongside state chairman Senator Tom McClintock on behalf of former TN Senator Fred Thompson. We were told that Fred has the largest number of endorsements of state elected officials. In addition to pointing out that Fred is a strong advocate of Federalism, states rights and liberty, Chuck than proceeded to engage in a contrast and comparison of Fred with the other Republican candidates.

i.e. Human Events contains a list of RINO’s, (Republican in name only), where Mitt Romney is listed eighth. Note: Google/Human Events confirmation. (8. Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) Has said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”)

Mike Huckabee. Chuck claimed that the former Arkansas governor raised taxes.

Ron Paul. Chuck said we forgot what our party stands for. We must “protect our interests at home and abroad.”

The next representative was Karl Heft who is an advisor to the campaign of former MASS. Governor Mitt Romney. He opened by mentioning Romney’s getting the California Republican Assembly (CRA) and Young Republicans endorsements this past week.

Karl than told us that Mitt is well regarded as a turn around businessman citing his success with Domino’s Pizza, Staples and rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympic games. We were told that Mitt opposes drivers licenses for illegals. He also opposes stem cell research. At this point Karl commented that the original campaign finance reform Bill was “McCain-Feingold-Thompson.” I verified that while the Bill did not contain Fred’s name, Sen Thompson was one of the Bill co-sponsors and received an acknowledgment for his support. Carl’s point was that this Bill created “government regulation of free speech.” He added that Fred opposed the human life amendment. LG Note: This would be a Constitutional Amendment to ban abortions. Mitt Romney’s CA co-chairs are OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh and Senator Dick Ackerman.

Representing Rudy Giuliani was Jeff Corless, State Chair, Young Professionals Coalition, who opened by a reference to Ronald Reagan’s saying our former president was pro choice in an effort to deflect negative comments regarding the mayor’s stance on the same issue. He than added “if we don’t protect freedom we don’t get to enjoy it.” Rudy cut taxes 23 times in New York City, turned a multimillion deficit into a surplus and got people off welfare. He repeated himself by saying that “without protecting this country we won’t enjoy freedom.” As to immigration “Rudy wants to build a physical and technological fence along our southern border.” According to Jeff, Rudy’s top three priorities are “freedom, security and to get our finances in order.” He did admit that Rudy is pro-choice yet reduced abortion by 40 percent in NYC by expanding adoptions.

Batting cleanup on behalf of Ark. Governor Mike Huckabee was a young man named David Suh. Unlike the other representatives David stated that he is “not a political operative” and has no vested interest in the Huckabee campaign. In fact he joked with us that the governor does not approve this presentation. He identified himself as a “citizen activist.” David’s main concern is the Federal Courts where these are lifetime appointments. “After conservative nominees to serve are rejected by Democrats, who would you appoint?” He pointed out that Governor Huckabee is a social conservative with core convictions. As such Mike would not back down under pressure.
David than mentioned governor Huckabee recently winning the Family Research Council vote by a 5:1 margin. LG Verification. The “on-site” voting follows: Leading candidates, onsite poll
No. 1: Mike Huckabee, 51.26%
No. 2: Mitt Romney, 10.40%
No. 3: Fred Thompson, 8.09%
No. 4: Tom Tancredo, 6.83%

Mike supports “impeachment of judges that would support international courts over U.S. laws.” As to the allegations of tax increases, David countered by claiming said “increases were the result of Initiatives, not legislation.” He closed by saying that Governor Huckabee would abolish to the I.R.S and replace it with a “fair tax.”

Representing Texas Congressman Ron Paul was Allen Bartlett, editor of the Powder Blue blog. Allen told us about the Irvine meet-up group that supports Ron Paul and had them stand up. Between 15 to 20 of the their 400southern CA volunteers were in attendance last night. Their local web site is:

Allen said Congressman Paul opened quite a few eyes by “raising $4.3 million in one day from 37,000 individuals” that are not happy with the current front-runners. We were told that Dr. Paul is not taking any money from corporations. Allen did mention an upcoming event on Dec 16th which coincides with the Boston Tea Party where they expect a massive outpouring of support. As to the issue of immigration Ron wants to end the automatic citizenship rights for those who come across the border to have children, voted against amnesty and wants the fence completed. We were told he also opposes a national I.D. card. Dr Paul wants a “flat tax” and abolishing the I.R. S. Allen did admit that Congressman Paul has a controversial stance on the war.

As no one attended on behalf or Congressman Tom Tancredo, Jerry Valamino, a member of the audience, asked to have the microphone and was granted time to share his views. While Mr. Tancredo is best known for his strong opposition on immigration Jerry explained the potential threat of other groups, hostile to American, coming to our country which is also important to the congressman. Mr. Tancredo supports a consumption tax.

There were no supporters or spokespersons on behalf of San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter.

Final thoughts.
Recognizing other events ongoing at the same time, includi
ng the televised Democratic debate, and listening to spokespersons rather than the candidates themselves, I would say that the turnout for this meeting was better than expected.
While comments by the speakers may not have the approval of the candidates, it was an informative 90 minute exchange. Typical Q & A, which generally follows program speakers, was not included in the program in that with candidates we need to “read their lips” and watch their body language for clues.

Sorry that this recap may not include all of the key points. Listening and writing simultaneously is truly an art form that I need to practice.

UPDATE: My oversight. Sen John McCain was not represented in this forum.

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