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Tom Tancredo Flip-Flops on Support for Tom Horne's AG Bid; Former Congressman Now Supports Andrew Thomas

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Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo pulled his endorsement of Tom Horne for Arizona Attorney General today, saying he now supports Andrew Thomas.

The anti-illegal-immigrant (or just anti-immigrant) Republican hardliner says in a news release by Thomas that he simply didn't do his research before lending his name to Horne's campaign.

Horne touted the right-winger's endorsement in a speech earlier this month. Since then, Tancredo says, he's discovered that Horne supports "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

The Thomas news release, put out by local spinmeister Jason Rose, refers to a 2007 article in the East Valley Tribune in which Horne states he supports citizenship for any high-school student who can pass an academic achievement test.

The Tribune article states,

Horne has a plan that would reward high school graduates with citizenship. All they would have to do is pass a test.

"If there's a standardized test that confirms it, that the student does well and learned, I would have no objection to that," Horne said.

The "plan" as outlined in the newspaper worries Tancredo, who told the Arizona Daily Star today that:

Mr. Horne is a nice fellow and very competent, but the more I found out about their positions on the issue I'm most concerned about, it did seem that I acted precipitously.

According to the Star, Horne claims the 2007 Tribune article took his statement out of context, saying he was responding to the reporter's question about giving citizenship based on a test, and that the "plan" wasn't his idea.

The article's author, Channel 15 (KTVK-TV) anchor Nicole Beyer, could not be reached for clarification. But we're suspicious of the "reporter-got-it-all-wrong" defense, especially since Horne apparently didn't ask for a correction three years ago, when the Trib first published the article.

Horne insists he's never been for amnesty and that he and Thomas share similar views on illegal immigration. Yet Horne's a bit slippery, ducking questions from Thomas at a recent debate about whether he's pro-life or pro-choice, while stating on his Web site that he would be "100% committed" to enforcing any Arizona anti-abortion law.

Thomas has made right-wing credentials a major issue in the race, and Tancredo's support does seem to fit him more than Horne. Tancredo advocated the destruction of Mecca if the United States is ever nuked by terrorists, and was labled the "cheerleader of jerkiness in the immigration debate by former Republican Congressman Dick Armey.

The value of this endorsement isn't that clear (to us, anyway), and seems to cheapen the concept of endorsements in general. If Tancredo can be so easily spun, first by Horne, then by Thomas, can his opinion about this race really count for much? Like the endorsement by Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, who likes Thomas' ideas so much he's never put them into action, the flip-flopping support of Tom Tancredo probably won't be the lynchpin of the race.

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