TANCREDO BACKED EXTREME VIEWS IN TALK TO MILITIA, OPPONENT SAYS
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, September 18, 1998
Dan Luzadder Rocky Mountain News Capitol BureauRepublican congressional candidate Tom Tancredo advocated extremist views during a speech to a militia group four years ago, his Democratic opponent said Thursday.
Tancredo conceded speaking to the group, Guardians of American Liberty, but denied his remarks were extremist or showed a disgust for government.
Henry Strauss played a tape recording for reporters of the talk Tancredo made in Glendale in 1994. Guardians of American Liberty has been identified as a right-wing militia organization with links to anti-Semitic organizations by the Southern Poverty Law Center's militia task force, according to Strauss'staff. The FBI has labeled the group as ``dangerous,'' they added.
Tancredo said he attended the 1994 meeting at the request of Marty Nalitz, a Christian-right radiotalk-show host. He said he knew nothing about the group's philosophy.
``Any time three or more are gathered together, I will make a speech,'' Tancredo said.
Strauss is running against Tancredo for a seat in the U.S. House from the Sixth District, which covers parts of Arapahoe and Jefferson counties. Strauss said the tape recording reveals Tancredo expressing ``disgust'' of government as he advocates dismantling the U.S. Department of Education and other federalagencies.
Tancredo said Strauss mischaracterized what he said. ``What I said was I had a `distrust' of government" Tancredo said. ``And I do. That really isn't a secret. And Strauss is right, I do want to do away with the education department.''
Tancredo didn't apologize for speaking to the group. ``I've talked to groups kookier than they (theGuardians) are,'' he said.
``I've even spoken to some of the same groups (former Democrat congresswoman) Pat Schroeder hasspoken to, for God's sake.''
Strauss called Tancredo's points of view were radical, pointing to a remark by Tancredo that he saidhinted at cultural warfare.
``I also must tell you that I believe with all my heart that there is a conflict in our culture today that is sovery deep, and so very significant that it'll be played out really in one of two ways,'' Tancredo says on thetape, according to a transcript provided by Strauss. ``It will be played out either at the ballot box or in the streets. That is how basic the division is.''