Rocky omitted Tancredo's reneging on term-limits pledge in reporting he's a possible replacement for Allard

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A Rocky Mountain News article about Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's political future reported that the congressman is waiting to see whether U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard will honor a term-limits pledge and leave office in 2008. The article failed to note, however, that Tancredo broke his own pledge to serve only through 2004.

In a November 17 article about U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-Littleton) political future, the Rocky Mountain News' M.E. Sprengelmeyer reported that Tancredo "has not decided whether mounting a long-shot presidential bid, running for the U.S. Senate or staying in the House of Representatives will be the best way to advance his conservative agenda." The article further noted that Tancredo "is waiting for two-term Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Loveland, to decide whether he will honor a term-limits pledge and leave at the end of 2008." The News, however, neglected to report that Tancredo has already broken his own term-limits pledge -- made during his initial 1998 congressional campaign -- to serve only three terms, or through 2004.

In a May 10, 2001, article (which Colorado Media Matters accessed in the Nexis database) by Sprengelmeyer, the News reported that Tancredo "was a leader in Colorado's term limits movement before his election in 1998" and that his "self-imposed term limit ends in 2004." In a May 2001 interview, Tancredo told the News, "I will live up to the pledge," the News reported on September 26, 2002. Tancredo stated:

On pledge-breakers: "I can understand what they're going through ... I don't think it's just a reflection of ego ... For me, the issue of giving one's word and promising to do something like this is more important than the rest of it."

On people considering a term-limits pledge: "If you believe in the concept of a citizen legislature, which I still do ... you may want to simply come here and just do it. Do not broadcast it. Just do it. It'll be easier for you in the long run."

"I go over this in my mind a million times. The overriding motivation for me today to adhere to the term limits pledge is that I made a pledge ... I took the pledge. I will live up to the pledge. That's it. That's the overriding issue."

"I don't believe this should be something someone does for their entire life. You have a tendency to get disconnected from the world beyond the legislative confines of wherever you are."

That interview accompanied a separate September 26, 2002, article in which the News reported that Tancredo had revoked his pledge:

Rep. Tom Tancredo walked away from his term-limits pledge Wednesday, saying his political career and controversial crusade for immigration reform are "in God's hands."

The Republican from Littleton said in a letter to supporters that he has "struggled mightily" with the fact he signed a pledge four years ago to serve no more than three terms."

I would not counsel anyone seeking this position to sign such a pledge," the letter said.

Tancredo's letter goes on to say "any decision to run for a fourth (term) will not be made solely on the issue of term limits, but will be weighed against a number of things including the continued existence of a fire in my belly for the challenge."

Tancredo did run and was re-elected in 2004, and again in this year's November 7 election.

As The Denver Post reported in a December 4, 1994, article, "Term limits: Fix or foul?" (accessed in the Nexis database), Tancredo was chairman of the Colorado Term Limits Coalition, an organization that spearheaded a successful drive that year to pass an amendment that, as the Post reported, "alter[ed] previous term-limit law by shortening the span of a U.S. representative's career from 12 years to six." All such state-imposed limits on the term of office of a U.S. Representative were struck down by a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of an Arkansas term-limits law.

From Sprengelmeyer's article, "Tancredo keeping options open," in the November 17 edition of the News:

Tancredo, R- Littleton, strolled to re-election in his safely Republican, south suburban district. He said Thursday he still has not decided whether mounting a long-shot presidential bid, running for the U.S. Senate or staying in the House of Representatives will be the best way to advance his conservative agenda.

[...]

He also is waiting for two-term Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Loveland, to decide whether he will honor a term-limits pledge and leave at the end of 2008.

Allard reiterated the pledge during his 2002 re-election campaign. But since Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate in this month's midterm elections, Allard has gotten friendly pressure from fellow Republicans to seek another term in 2008, lest his departure create an open seat contest that could be more difficult -- and more costly -- for the GOP to defend.

Allard is not expected to make a decision until early next year. If he decides not to run, Tancredo is one of many current or former lawmakers expected to consider the contest. Tancredo said he would not run against Allard.

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