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Candidate-in-waiting Laffey on Newsmakers

Steve Laffey, the unannounced Republican gubernatorial candidate for 2010, recently took a cross-country tour with his family, landing in time to see C.C. Sabathia make his first outing for the Brewers. Laffey says visiting Mount Rushmore was the top highlight of the trip, and that he was tempted to set up a coffee shop in upper Montana.

With the trip out of the way, Laffey can now focus on preparations for his nascent gubernatorial bid -- which he declined to confirm during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers.

The former mayor and US Senate candidate nonetheless offfered a characteristic candidate-in-waiting performance, making the following points:

-- The US bailout was a bad idea.

-- The state's sale of tax anticipation bonds is an indicator of more economic problems.

-- Laffey says his portfolio hasn't taken much of a hit during the fiscal crisis since he is mostly "in cash."

-- Despite a slow start in fundraising (a little more than $97,000 banked in his latest campaign finance report), Laffey says he isn't concerned about Frank Caprio's much-larger war chest.

-- He was critical of the state GOP, saying that it had squandered opportunities to raise more money.

-- Obama has "socialistic tendencies," such as his stance on capital gains. (Others might note that McCain joined Obama in voting for the bailout and the government takeover of banks, which could be considered somewhat socialistic.)

-- Asked how much blame Governor Carcieri bears for not putting Rhode Island on a better economic footing, Laffey declined to address the question head-on, saying instead that the governor is surrounded by bad people. Laffey also declined to offer a view on Carcieri's top accomplishments.

 -- Asked what lessons he learned from his primary loss to Lincoln Chafee in the 2006 US Senate race, Laffey responded by saying the national GOP hasn't learned the lessons in his book. While the national GOP is helping to marginalize itself -- in part with the demand of some conservatives for ideological purity -- Laffey, as is his wont, tried to disassociate himself from the conservative tag.

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