Fred at Club for Growth: 'I'm the Most Proven Tax-Cutter and Pro-Growth Guy Running For President'

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 17, 2007 1:01 PM

I'm watching Fred at the Club for Growth Conference. I'm enjoying him more than I did the last time I saw him speak. Especially during Q&A, he's had some good moments, and seemed more comfortable than with his prepared remarks. (Update: Just corrected some of my typos. I was typing as he was talking, so I botched a couple quotes. Fixed now.)

I didn't catch Rudy earlier this morning, but I'll try to find a recap. About the only thing anyone's talking about is the Perry endorsement, as opposed to the speech itself.

Have you always been a Republican?


I think it's accurate to say I've always been a Republican. My dad was a Democrat. My dad and my granddad thought that Franklin Roosevelt saved their lives.

I went to college and read "Conscience of a Conservative" and that did it for me.

I started the first young Republicans club [in my hometown]. As we say in the church, when I reached the age of accountabilty, I think it's safe to say I've been a Republican ever since.

McCain-Feingold law? Our members are concerned about free-speech limits. Some people are confused about your position on it. Should we keep the speech limits?

I've addressed that before. I've addressed that on a blog...What I've said basically is while I still think the provisions with soft money are good things but that the one you're talking about has not worked and it should be repealed...It's important to keep it in perspective. The idea was you've got to raise money for those ads the same way you raise money for candidates...It's not quite as draconian as the summary of it sometimes is, but it's still bad and we shouldn't have done it. The Supreme Court has better things to do [than parse campaign ads]...It shouldn't have been done. We went too far.

How he came to support it: In the real world that I lived in, giving large amounts of money to people who have decision-making power over you was a bad idea...I think I put a few people in jail for it, in fact...I came to find out, in politics, not only was it not a bad idea. It was absolutely necessary....With that as a basis...we placed reasonable limits. I always thought they were too low. I don't know if you'll thank me for it or not. It was my amendment that raised it from $1,000 to $2,000 and indexed it to inflation.

I thought we oughtta raise the hard money limits to a reasonable level and do away with the soft. I may change my mind about the whole thing as this campaign moves on, as people put in millions of their own money. I may change my mind about the whole thing. (laughing) I say that mostly in jest, but I think the original idea was a valid one, but we went too far, unfortunately, as often happens.

Why don't Democrats understand the entitlement disaster we're moving toward?

They do, it's just a matter of priorities, and it's so easy to demagogue. "Tax hikes for the rich." How long does it take to say that? Not long. Conservatives always have a little bit longer story to tell because it has to do with the way the world works and real solutions and human nature. That's a little bit harder to communicate in a soundbite. I think I'm gettin' a little better at it, but this is the way it's always been.

How many days a week do you have to work for the federal government? I get pretty queasy when it's more than one.

Back to MKH: I think that last answer was the strongest thing I heard from him. He started off slow, as he is wont to do, but warmed up. I really enjoyed the Q&A, and the room seemed to as well.