NPR logo Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)

Tancredo dropped out race 12/20/2007.

Rep. Tom Tancredo Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Getty Images
Tom Tancredo Biographical Information

First Campaign

Read about Tom Tancredo's first campaign.

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has made immigration the centerpiece of his political career. He has traveled the country, visiting key primary states, since just after the 2004 election, talking — almost exclusively — about illegal immigration. At first he said he wasn't running for president — only that he wanted to make sure the issue was discussed in the 2008 election.

Tancredo announced his candidacy on a Des Moines, Iowa, radio station in April, saying the other Republican candidates weren't consistent on the immigration issue.

The grandson of Italian immigrants, Tancredo often says that today's illegal immigrants are not like his ancestors.

"The great American melting pot is broken," he said during a speech in Iowa in April. "We no longer see immigrants with a desire to assimilate, nor are we a country that requires it — we refuse to make our immigrants learn English, pledge allegiance to our flag and give their loyalty to our country."

If he's elected president, Tancredo says he'll secure the borders so illegal immigrants can't enter the country. And he'll eliminate benefits and job prospects so illegal immigrants don't stay.

Tancredo's immigration positions and statements have prompted plenty of criticism, even from within his own party. After Tancredo referred to Miami as a "third-world country" in November 2006, President Bush remarked, "What a nut. I'm just disappointed. He's from my own my party. He's a Republican. He doesn't represent my views."

During a 2005 interview on a Florida radio station, Tancredo was asked to address a hypothetical situation: What should be the response if al-Qaida attacked a U.S. city with a nuclear weapon? Tancredo said that bombing Muslim holy sites, specifically Mecca, would be appropriate. He repeated this contention in a 2007 town hall meeting in Iowa.

Tancredo also opposes abortion. If elected, he says he'll appoint only "pro-life" judges. He believes the current tax system should be scrapped and a flat tax or national sales tax should be implemented. Tancredo supports a voucher system for funding public schools, and he believes the Social Security system should be turned into a defined-contribution plan, like the 401(k).