The Boston Globe previews Gov. Romney's trip to California to help the Orange County GOP raise some money, and goes back to claiming to believe the Governor has not decided between seeking to keep the Corner Office or go for the Oval one. LINK
USA Today's Susan Page reports that the leaders of conservative Christian groups, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Gary Bauer of American Values, plan to jointly interview Republicans running for the 2008 presidential nomination, likely after the 2006 elections. We particularly love this quote from Charlie Black on how coordinated efforts among the groups would affect their influence within the Republican Party: "It would have an impact." LINK
Mark Preston has great details:
"In an effort to maximize its political capital in the 2008 presidential contest, a conglomeration of socially conservative organizations is considering establishing a formal interview process to discern candidates' positions on policy issues important to their members," he writes.
"Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the idea is under discussion by several socially conservative leaders and he suggested up to 18 organizations would be involved in the effort."
"'We are interested in who the candidates would be and where they stand on the issues so that we can educate our constituencies on their positions,' Perkins said at a Wednesday breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor."
While not formally endorsing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Perkins suggested Wednesday that the Tennessee Republican is looked favorably on by people who describe themselves as cultural conservatives."
"'A lot of people have been impressed with Bill Frist and his leadership,' Perkins said. 'He has been one of the most vocal supporters of issues we care about, like pushing the marriage amendment. He was one of the first ones to come to the Senate floor, calling for that. He's been staying the course on judges. Now, some criticize him, saying he's not moving fast enough. But I think he's moving very methodically, with precision.'"
"Perkins also mentioned Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) as a candidate social conservatives might be able to support, but said it was too early to judge whether Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) would be embraced by socially conservative voters if he decides to run for president."
"'I like George, he has a very good personality,' Perkins said. 'He's a very enthusiastic and youthful kind of campaigner. I think that's good. I have not seen him out front providing a lot of leadership on a number of core issues that conservatives care about, but then you know that just might because he is a little newer to the process.'"
And Perkins does not have good things to say about Sen. John McCain.
Incidentally, for the seed of the joint interview idea, read the fifth paragraph of this article from long ago. LINK
Yes, that really is a New York Times editorial praising Dr. Gingrich. LINK