Gil­more moves on White House bid, touts ‘con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship’

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Eric Pfeif­fer

For­mer Vir­ginia Gov­er­nor James S. Gil­more III on Jan. 9 be­came the latest Repub­li­can to form an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee in ad­vance of a po­ten­tial 2008 White House cam­paign.

“To­day, I filed the pa­pers nec­es­sary­to­ex­plore­a­can­di­da­cy­for­pres­i­dent be­cause I be­lieve that this na­tion needs con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship,” Mr. Gil­more said. “Alone among those con­sid­er­ing a can­di­dacy for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, I have a record of real lead­er­ship as a tax cut­ter and job cre­ator, as a leader on na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues and as a na­tional leader in our party.”

Mr.Gil­more­servedashead­ofthe Repub­li­canNa­tion­alCom­mit­tee­and Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion.

Sens.JohnMcCain­ofAri­zon­aand Sam Brown­back of Kansas; for­mer New York City Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani;and­formerGovs.Mit­tRom­ney­ofMas­sachusettsandTom­myG. Thomp­sonofWis­con­sinareotherRepub­li­cans who have formed ex­ploratory com­mit­tees.

“JimGil­mor­eisaformer­gov­er­nor ofav­ery­im­por­tantstate­with­as­trong con­ser­va­tive record,” said Ed Gillespie, chair­man of the Repub­li­can Party of Vir­ginia. Mr. Gillespie said he is neu­tral on the field of Repub­li­can­pres­i­den­tial­pri­ma­rycan­di­dates.

Mr. Gil­more last year trav­eled to key pri­mary states such as Iowa, NewHamp­shire­andSouthCarolina. In Au­gust, a group of sup­port­ers started a Web site to en­cour­age the for­mer­gov­er­nor­torun­fortheWhite House.

A for­mer Army coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence agent, Mr. Gil­more served as gov­er­nor from 1998 to 2002. From 1999 through 2003, he chaired the Gil­more Com­mis­sion, which Congress cre­ated to as­sess the na­tion’s abil­i­ty­tore­spond­toater­ror­is­tat­tack.

The com­mis­sion re­leased a re­port one week be­fore the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks rec­om­mend­ing a Cabi­net-level of­fice in the White House to com­bat do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism and im­prove co­op­er­a­tion be­tween fed­eral agen­cies and lo­cal law-en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties.

Mr. Gil­more is serv­ing as chair­man of the Na­tional Coun­cil on Readi­ness and Pre­pared­ness, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion work­ing to strengthen home­land se­cu­rity ef­forts.

Skep­tics of Mr. Gil­more’s pres­i­den­tial move say he is only in­creas­ing his profile in ad­vance of a 2008 Se­nate cam­paign or a sec­ond run at Vir­ginia’s gov­er­nor­ship.

Mr.Gil­more­was­e­lect­ed­gov­er­nor ofVir­gini­ain1997af­ter­promis­ingto re­duces­tateprop­er­ty­tax­e­sand­taxes on mo­tor ve­hi­cles. How­ever, a 2001 re­ces­sion led to a con­fronta­tion be­tweenMr.Gil­more­andRepub­li­cans inthes­tateleg­is­la­turewhowant­edto re­verse his car-tax cuts.

That show­down helped the cam­paign of Mark Warner, a Demo­crat who went on to de­feat Mr. Gil­more’s would-be suc­ces­sor Mark L. Ear­ley.

James S. Gil­more III

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