Iowa City Press Citizen - Thompson Addresses College Republicans
By Kathryn Fiegen
Wisconsin's former governor and GOP presidential candidate Tommy Thompson laid out his plans today on a few hot-button campaign issues, including immigration and the war in Iraq.
He spoke in front of a small group of University of Iowa College Republicans in a classroom in the John Pappajohn Business Building as a part of Conservative Coming Out Week.
``It's important to have ideas and ideals you can believe in and you can implement,'' he said.
First, Thompson pointed to his track record as Wisconsin's governor, including welfare reform and a $16.5 billion tax cut to spur economic growth in the state.
Those ``common sense, conservative'' tactics can be applied in other areas, he said, including the war in Iraq. Thompson started by saying it is important that this country support our troops, both ideologically and fiscally.
``The worst thing is to have your country abandon you,'' he said.
Thompson's plan for rebuilding Iraq had three main components. First, he said he wanted Prime Minister Nuri Kamel al-Maliki's government to take a simple vote on whether or not they want U.S. troops to be in their country. Thompson said he guessed the answer would be ``yes'' and the vote would give the United States the legitimacy it has needed for its actions in Iraq.
Second, he thought government should be enacted on a territory level. Thompson said each of Iraq's 18 territories should vote in leaders, and inevitably, Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds would vote in their own leaders in their own territories.
Last, Thompson said he thought oil revenues should be split up, with part going to the country, to each territory and to each family. Families would then use this money to start businesses and bolster the area's economy.
UI junior in political science Hillary Dover said she liked Thompson's ideas for Iraq.
``I like his Iraq position because it is a little different than what most candidates are going for,'' she said.
For immigration, Thompson thought existing laws should be followed, but give illegal immigrants the chance to come back, legally.
``The way you change laws is not to disobey them,'' he said.
This involved having illegal immigrants re-entering the country pay a penalty fee, pay back taxes and learn English.
``You've got to be able to have people come back in the country legally,'' he said.
Thompson was brought to campus as a part of Conservative Coming Out Week. He got laughs from the audience when he brought up the cancelled capture the flag game that was to have ``illegals'' and ``border control'' face off against each other.
The event, scheduled for today, was cancelled amid accusations that it was racist.
``You got in a little trouble,'' he said. ``I got into a little trouble for something I said this week. So, I identify with you.''
UI senior in history Jon Gates said he was impressed with Thompson, and thought despite being a lesser-known candidate, he was doing a good job.
``I think he's making a good run at it,'' he said.
College Republicans chairman Greg Baker said he has seen Thompson speak about six times. Although he hasn't decided if he will support Thompson's campaign or not, Baker said he thought this speech was the best.
``You know, there were mostly college students (at the speech), and he appealed to our age group,'' he said.