Whitman to IT execs: Support moderate GOP candidates

Halfway through Christine Todd Whitman's lunchtime address at the Industry Advisory Council's Executive Leadership Conference in Hershey, Pa., yesterday, it began to sound like a campaign speech. But Whitman quickly made clear she's rallying support for an urgent cause?restoring moderate Republicanism?and not for a specific candidate, at least not yet.

Whitman passionately called on moderate Republicans to rise up and recapture the party and to end the control of the divisive and ideological extreme right.

Referring to extremists on both ends of the political spectrum as "people who ignore data," she won applause from the crowd of mostly government IT executives and received a standing ovation at the end of her address.

"I don't mind being called a RINO [Republican in name only]," Whitman said. "Rhinos are big and they can move very fast."

Whitman was the GOP governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001, and served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003 in President George W. Bush's first term. Whitman said she was the first EPA director to use IT extensively to measure positive and negative effects on the environment.

She urged moderates to become active in building support for moderate GOP candidates in the 2006 congressional and 2008 presidential races. Her organization (www.mypartytoo.com) and its high-powered advisory board are raising money and starting chapters across the country.

Asked afterward if she would run for president in 2008, Whitman said no, explaining that putting herself forward as a presidential candidate would put too much attention on her and would distract from the goal of building a stronger bloc of GOP moderates.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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