Son of Watergate

Can Tom Liddy use his father's notoriety to break into Congress?

Liddy responded only that it would take courage.

"He's getting ready for Congress," Woods quipped.

Here's Liddy on some additional issues:

Growth: He does not support the Sierra Club's Citizens Growth Management Initiative, criticizing it as a "crude surgical tool" that fences him in. "Growth, I think, needs to be controlled locally, not from the Sierra Club in San Francisco or a bunch of politicians in Washington."

(Actually, the coalition that wrote the initiative is local, not from San Francisco.)

If elected, Liddy says he will explore the possibility of amending both the state constitution and the federal enabling act that created Arizona so that state trust land does not have to be used to fund education, but can be preserved in some instances.

Federal funding of light rail: "I don't believe there is such a thing as federal money. I believe it is our money. The federal government doesn't have any money. The only money it has is our money. And I have no problem using our money . . . for our priorities. And if the people of Arizona want to use our tax money to spend on light rail, or on highways or whatever, if that's what they choose to do, then as their servant, I will do it."

Tobacco lawsuits: If Americans don't like smoking, they should ban it, he says. The lawsuits are unfair; using the courts circumvents the democratic process.

Hate crimes legislation: Doesn't support it.

"If someone knocks me over the head because he wants to grab my wallet, the crime is assault. He intended to hit me, and he hit me . . . . I don't believe the crime should be increased or decreased based on my race or my sex, or on his screaming an epithet or not."

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: The folks in charge say it works; that's good enough for Liddy. He agrees with Colin Powell that having openly gay people serve in active combat units is disruptive.

Campaign finance reform: He supports the recently passed 527 legislation increasing disclosure for individuals who fund nonprofits that support campaigns, but says it's far too narrow. Liddy says you cannot outlaw individual soft money contributions, but does believe it would be constitutional to outlaw corporate and labor union soft money.

"I would probably be in favor of that," he says.

Liddy is against Clinton's national monument designations, medical marijuana initiatives and an Internet tax.

And he's definitely against gun control.

Tom Liddy pulls up outside his headquarters in a huge purple Suburban to rally the doughnut-munching troops.

Liddy, who's wearing a campaign polo shirt and Ralph Lauren khaki shorts, is somber. He asks for everyone's attention. The leader of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, died yesterday, Liddy tells the largely blank faces, and he fears the instability of turnover could lead to further turmoil.

"Just pray for all of the people in the Middle East," Liddy says, somber as a minister, his voice wavering. "I just ask you to keep that in mind, because it's weighing heavily on my mind."

And don't forget to take some bottled water with you, he adds.

Liddy dons Oakley sunglasses and climbs into the Suburban with two campaigners, off to walk door-to-door in Chandler.

The neighborhood is quiet, the houses far apart, the day already hot at 9:30 a.m. But Liddy is cheerful; he wants to go to the houses with the biggest American flags, but Dave Crete, who holds the maps, leads the group to the houses with registered Republican voters. (They're usually the same.)

Liddy and company find such a house at the end of a cul-de-sac. Three men -- a father and his grown sons -- are working on their cars. Tom introduces himself and shakes all he can find, an elbow sticking out above the open engine of a Neon, then leaves them to their work.

The men follow him onto the street.

"What's your stand on gun control?" one asks.

Liddy gives him a thumbs up. "I'm pro-Second Amendment."

"Shoulda figured," the guy responds. "Where's your dad?"

Back East, Liddy says, then tells a story about the time a burglar broke into the Liddy home while G. Gordon was in prison. Frances scared the intruder away with a gun.

"Nobody tells me that a woman owning a handgun doesn't deter crime," Liddy says.

"Yeah, I read that in your father's book."

A few feet away, Crete -- a former chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party -- says he's known the other candidates longer, but likes Liddy the best.

What sets him apart? His stands on the issues? His experience? Nah, says Crete. He just thinks Liddy has the most integrity. And anyhow, he'll get the most done in Washington, with that famous name of his. Just look at how much Sonny Bono accomplished, Crete observes.

A few signatures closer to his goal, Liddy bounds over to Crete.

"Dad and two sons rebuilding the air compressor on their motor. Liddy voters," he says, and gives another thumbs up.

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