Thursday, June 7, 2007

Jim Gilmore: "I Don't Claim to Be a Better Conservative"

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore spoke to a small group of conservative journalists this morning at the office of Americans for Tax Reform. The hour-long session was part of the American Spectator Newsmaker Breakfast series. I’ll post a write-up later today; for now, let me report the governor's response to my question.

I began, "You’ve said you’re the only true conservative," at which point Gilmore cut me off, lifted his briefing papers from the table and slammed them back down.

"I have never said I'm the only true conservative," Gilmore declared. He explained that the line came from a reporter, and has been recycled ad nauseam.

A few minutes with Google, however, indicates otherwise.

According to the Associated Press, in December, Gilmore said “he saw no true conservative in the GOP field.” That same month, he told the Washington Post, “There is no committed conservative in this race who can put together a national campaign.”

In February, Gilmore “told bloggers that he’s the only conservative in the race,” according to the host of that meeting, Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation. A few days later, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Gilmore repeated that “he is the only conservative in the race,” according to Kathryn Jean-Lopez, the editor of National Review Online.

In March, an article from the Virginian-Pilot noted, “Gilmore, 57, says he can win because he’s the only ‘real conservative’ seeking the GOP nomination in 2008.” In April, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, "Claiming that he is the only true conservative in the race, Gilmore said, 'I won't waffle, waiver or change.'"

Gilmore then allowed me to continue my question, which I modified as follows: You say you're the most "consistent" conservative. What specifically about your fellow second-tier candidates makes them inconsistent?

Again, Gilmore tried to disabuse me. "I don't claim to be a better conservative" than the other candidates, he said.

More to follow. In the meantime, judge for yourself.


Andrew B said:

Good research. I do not understand his backtracking, especially considering his individual critiques on his peers in the first debate. Unfortunately you seem to miss the larger point: Gilmore really is the best conservative in the race.