RNC Blogging

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 09, 2006 5:59 AM

I'm at the RNC this morning for a Blogger Forum. We'll be talking with Ken Mehlman and other RNC senior staff about the '06 elections, blogging, and new media (because you absolutely cannot invite bloggers anywhere without letting them talk about themselves!).

Talking with Ken Mehlman:

Capt. Ed on scandal, how much will the GOP have to play defense on the Ambramoff scandal in '06:

"I think we need to be seen as reformers. Lobbying reform is something we should look at."

"Part of the problem here is what happens with big government."

"For us to be defensive is a mistake, but at the same time, we oughtta look in the mirror."

"Clearly, Washington needs to look at how it does business."

"What Jack Ambramoff did is not business as usual. What Jack Ambramoff did is theft."

Michelle Malkin: How does lobbying reform jibe with the idea of less government?

"I'm not gonna endorse specific legislation...we, as the party of reform, we oughtta be for that."

Michelle: How does the party plan to keep grassroots conservatives who are against an amnesty program?

"We need more money, we need more technology...we need more interior enforcement in the country."

"When President Bush talks about a guest-worker program, I think that is actually a way to enforce the law, not get around the law."

"If the law of the land ignores the law of supply and demand, the law of supply and demand will win."

Flip on balancing the budget vs. cutting taxes. How do we communicate the need to cut taxes successfully with the deficit we have?

"The deficit problem we have is not the problem we have today; the problem we have is entitlements."

Mehlman lauds ownership society, the Medicare bill as an example thereof.

Capt Ed: Well, the unfunded liability of Medicare is something like 8 times the amount of Social Security. What do we do about that?

We need to deal with that. The focus has been on Social Security because others started carrying that banner on a bipartisan basis long ago (mentions Bill Clinton). That will come first.

Patrick Cleary: Where do you see the energy issue going?

"If you spend 30 years discouraging production...you're going to end up with less energy."

Patrick Cleary asks about Alito:

"This weekend...was an outrageous effort to smear Judge Alito and to take his rulings out of context...I think it's outrageous and I think it's wrong."

"I think you'll have a party-line vote."

"I hope we'll be able to turn down the temperature and have a fair hearing."

"Here is the ultimate example of the American dream."

"Judge Alito is exactly what everyone...oughtta be very proud of."

Capt. Ed asks about what the heck has happened to Arnold?

"She's (Kennedy) a professional...She's totally committed to Arnold's agenda."

"State is now open for business; it wasn't before. I think he's a real reformer."

Justin Hart asks about whether RNC staffers notice the angst of conservatives over lack of backbone and the Miers issue.

"I live in the opposite of a bubble...I did 150,000 miles last year."

"I think there was a recognition that there needed to be some push-back on the Iraq issue."