A few notes from behind-the-scenes talk at the Value Voters Summit:
The most buzz-making speech of the session so far was from Tom Tancredo’s. Family Research Council insiders expect that to turn into some votes when the straw poll results are tallied, but how many can’t be predicted. What can be predicted is that the members will likely hear a barnburner from Mike Huckabee tomorrow, so if the votes are determined simply by speechmaking polish, Huckabee will be up there. However, one FRC insider told me, speaking of Huckabee, “He came here last year and talked about the environment and obesity. That’s not gonna work this year.”
Nobody was unhappy with Fred Thompson’s speech, but nobody was thrilled with it, either. Thompson “pushed all the right buttons,” the FRC insider told me, but there remains a certain lack of excitement surrounding his presence.
There’s a lot of anticipation about Rudy Giuliani’s appearance here tomorrow. It’s not terribly positive – “I don’t think there’s any danger of him winning the straw poll,” said the FRC insider – but it is palpable. There’s no belief that Giuliani will change many minds, although insiders say he will have a certain level of support. Rather, it’s just that he’s the big cheese at the moment, and people want to see him. Also, his coming here is either a show of respect for the FRC members or a recognition of their influence – either way, it makes the people gathered here feel good. “He can’t not come,” says the insider.