In this very interesting primary season, where the GOP field grew and grew to 17 candidates, before starting to shrink as some of the early entrants ran out of money, there is one man who deserves closer scrutiny.
Governor Jim Gilmore (Virginia 1998-2002) was one of the later entrants, and has been largely ignored, especially by the media and the polls. Last week (Nov 9th), I caught up with the Governor as he filed for the ballot in NH, was grilled by the press, and held a National Security Forum with a group of veterans under the auspices of APPS (Americans for Peace Prosperity & Security).
What I found was a man who: Is a real military veteran (the only remaining one in the race who carried out actual missions), and has held a variety of positions in the state of Virginia, culminating in election to AG and subsequently Governor. A man who understands that the money for government programs such as defense needs to come from economic growth (and he has a plan), and who understands that regulatory agencies like EPA and Education need to be severely curtailed and powers devolved to the states. A man who has led a think tank (Free Congress Foundation) to generate plans for economic growth and national security amongst others. A man with a record of accomplishment and a set of concrete plans, who is very well informed about what is happening in our world.
First, Gov. Gilmore met with a homeschool family, Anabelle and Gregory Watson with their mother Miriam in the Statehouse cafeteria (accompanied by NPR reporters):
Next it was time for the filing, and the youngsters were invited to observe, along with the campaign staff (State director Anne Smith, and state chair, Sen. Sam Cataldo):
(I bet they didn’t get that courtesy from Hillary, Bernie, or the 3rd man!)
As Gilmore joked with the veterans at the APPS forum later, the only reason there were so many reporters waiting for him after filing was that they were in position for Hillary’s subsequent filing, and were not allowed to leave! Nonetheless, many questions were asked, and he gave great answers:
After the filing, it was a quick scramble down to the UNH campus in Manchester where APPS put on a National Security forum with a panel of veterans. Gilmore fielded questions about security, defense, and the economic growth plan necessary to support an effective posture:
(Apologies for some unsteadiness – switched from camera to iPhone part way through)
I came away with the distinct impression that Gov Gilmore would make a fine president if he could ever break through the clutter, a great VP, or a first class Secretary of Defense.
Gilmore was also interviewed by Ray Duckler of the Concord Monitor, but there was too much echo and background noise on my recording, so here’s the link. You have to believe in yourself to chase after this job, and Gilmore is no exception – here he reminds Duckler of his duty….
“You should feel pressure,” Gilmore told me. “The future of the nation rests on me becoming president, and my ability to become president depends upon the primary. Succeeding in the primary depends upon you.”