- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2007

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore on Thursday entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination with an Internet-driven announcement he said allows him to talk directly to voters.

“This is going to be something unique in American politics and something I think is the wave of the future, which is the chance to talk directly to the people as we develop the campaign through the Internet,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore made his announcement in a Webcast originating from the Republican Party of Iowa headquarters in Des Moines and sent out over his campaign’s Web site.

Gilmore offered a sharply conservative theme that he said distanced him from GOP rivals who are better known and financed.

“This is a campaign about national security and the security of Americans everywhere,” Gilmore said.

He said his campaign would focus on “getting this country ready for an attack that will inevitably come and getting it prepared.”

In an interview, Gilmore said his appeal would grow as he draws distinctions with his rivals.

“The best way to deal with this is to enter the campaign, to begin to engage solidly on the basis of ideas and record,” he said. “This is an opportunity for a conservative to enter the race.”

Gilmore singled out former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain - the candidates most consider the top tier of the GOP field.

“I don’t think Mayor Giuliani has even suggested he’s a conservative,” said Gilmore. “Senator McCain has not made his reputation as a conservative. He’s made it as a maverick.”

He said Romney is seeking to shift his views to offer himself as a conservative, but that won’t work.

“The difference is he is attempting to shift into becoming a conservative,” Gilmore said.

While Gilmore made his announcement in Iowa, where precinct caucuses traditionally launch the presidential nominating season, he has little campaign organization in the state. Many of his competitors have built large staffs and deployed organizers across the state.

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