It has been well-documented that Rep. Tom Tancredo is seeking the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008, which as he says is a way to spark more debate about the problem of illegal immigration. Most observers would agree that Tancredo has little chance at winning that nomination, but if he isn’t more careful, he may soon find himself in a tough fight for re-election to his House seat in 2006.
Tancredo went on a radio show Friday and talked about responding to terrorist attacks in a manner that was at best a poor choice of words and at worst a serious problem for the United States. The Rocky Mountain News has the story:
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The Republican congressman made his remarks Friday during an interview with talk show host Pat Campbell on WFLA in Orlando, Fla.
Campbell asked Tancredo how the country should respond if terrorists were to strike several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.
“Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites,” Tancredo answered.
“You’re talking about bombing Mecca,” Campbell said.
“Yeah,” Tancredo responded.
The congressman went on to say that he was “just throwing out some ideas” but that an “ultimate threat” might have to be met with an “ultimate response.”
Tancredo released a statement Sunday evening in which he said he was simply trying to figure out what the United States could use as a threat to deter future attacks.
“Among the many things we might do to prevent such an attack on America would be to lay out there as a possibility the destruction of these sites,” he wrote.
Tancredo’s office tried to clarify those remarks on Sunday with the same line that he was “just throwing out ideas,” as though that excuses the comment in any way. The White House already doesn’t like Tancredo for openly challenging the Bush Administration on illegal immigration, and comments like this go even further in threatening U.S. diplomacy efforts. While Tancredo is in a safe Republican district, if he continues to cause trouble for the White House they may decide to seek out a primary opponent to take him out. If that happens, Tancredo will need to win the Presidential nomination just so he can have a job.