Matt Lewis
Today, on the day he officially announced his campaign for RNC Chair, former Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman held a blogger conference call to discuss his campaign.  He opened the call by discussing his successful tenure as Chairman of the TN GOP. 

He credited the plan he helped incorporate with helping defeat Al Gore in 2000 in the state of Tennessee.  He also discussed standing up to Don Sundquist -- who attempted to impose a state income tax -- as well as his time working for Sen. Frist's PAC -- as defining moments.

Regarding his efforts to help Sen. Frist run for president, Saltsman said:  "Obviously, I did an outstanding job with that ... because he decided not to run."

Regarding his campaign for RNC Chair, Saltsman said he has been to 12 or 13 states so far, has met with over 30 members, and has emailed every RNC member. 

Saltsman is aided by the fact that he is a pilot.  He has a partnership in a very small 4-seater plane.  "The week before Thanksgiving, we went to seven states in four days.  You couldn't really do that in a car -- and you couldn't even do it commercially," he said.

Regarding technology, Saltsman (who has already endorsed the Rebuild The Party plan) said: "I think a lot of people in politics think technology is how many email addresses you have."  He mocked that approach, saying what is really needed to grow our party is two-way communication. 

Saltsman praised Obama's use of Houdini, a tool which allowed Obama operatives to know which voters had already voted, but warned against trying to copy Obama's '08 strategy.  Instead, he urged Republicans to look toward "leap-frogging" him to the future.  He also recommended an I-Phone App which would allow volunteers to go door-to-door and "ID" voters, and then upload it to the RNC's website.

He also took issue with today's Politico article regarding the "Southern focus" on the RNC Chair race, saying that the premise is that it's easy to win in the South.  His argument was that Tennessee has always been a competitive state.

Saltsman opposed the Auto bailout, saying: "It's just not something the Federal Government should be doing."

Regarding whether or not he is merely a "stalking horse" for a future Huckabee presidential candidacy, Saltsman distanced himself from Huckabee's positions, saying: "Over the last sixteen years, I've been working for Tennessee causes...I spent thirteen months working for Huckabee, it's a part of my resume, but it doesn't define me."

He also mocked the notion that he was running for office in '08 in order to help Huckabee in 2012, referencing the fact that four years ago we were talking about "President Bill Frist and President George Allen."

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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