From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:
—On Mitt Romney’s Chances—
BILL SAMMON: [Romney’s] been meeting with groups of Evangelicals recently and he’s continuing to meet with groups of them to ask their advice and I think also to win them over.
But when I spoke to him today, this afternoon . . . he ticked off a number of issues, there’s gay marriage, whether it’s immigration, whether it’s the treatment of detainees . . . he generally said, “I’m the real conservative, here.” I think that’s actually a pretty legitimate argument, it’s hard to argue with. It’s probably also a shrewd political move to stake out that ground because Giuliani is a centrist, perhaps even liberal and McCain’s a maverick who is wobbly on taxes and so forth, so why not grab the right, especially with George Allen having imploded?
FRED BARNES: You know, I think [his religion] is less of a problem than people think. You know, he spent a lot of time talking to people like Richard Land of the Southern Baptists Convention and others who . . . had said this, we’re not electing a theologian-in-chief, we’re electing a commander-in-chief. An while an earlier generation of Christians might have said, “Look, I’m not going to vote for a Mormon,” I think now most of them will just set aside — are willing to set aside his faith.
They better, because the one group, the biggest unclaimed group, among the Republican primary voters, is social conservatives and they vote. They’re the people who care about abortion; they care about gay marriage, and so on. We know their agenda. And the Mormon thing may bother some of them. He’s got to get over that hurdle because he can claim them. McCain’s not going to get them, Giuliani’s certainly not going to get them.
BARNES: Well there is one thing, and it’s very cleverly done by the White House. They don’t want to be the prisoner of the Baker-Hamilton report. So, they’re going to have two other reports out there, they’re going to have one from the Pentagon and they’re going to have one from the National Security staff at the White House. And those ones, they should have as much credibility.
I mean, look who’s on the Baker-Hamilton commission. Now, Vernon Jordan’s a wonderful guy. What does he know about Iraq? Ed Meese was a great attorney general and a great advisor to President Reagan, but I don’t know that he has great wisdom on Iraq.
These people, I mean, these people we should listen to them more than we should listen to, say, the Pentagon or the National Security staff? So, that’s clever. And it sounds like what they’re going to come out is a short-term send in more troops…