This goes hand in hand with my other post: “The Born Again Don”

Here’s my original post

Anaheim woman was married to the mob

Cammy Franzese’s the reason the ‘Yuppie Don’ walked away from his life in the Mafia.

The Orange County Register

The next time you’re about to go off on your husband for treating the bedroom floor like a hamper or leaving crumbs all over the kitchen counter or returning home from the grocery store with only half the items on the list you gave him, just take a deep breath and invoke the spirit of Cammy Franzese.

This is a woman who stood by her man to a degree that would make even Tammy Wynette flinch if she were still alive.

But by greeting his shortcomings with – now keep an open mind, ladies – love and prayer, she managed to change him.

Cammy Franzese is the reason her husband Michael Franzese – a.k.a. “The Yuppie Don” – became the first high ranking member of the Mafia to publicly walk away from a life of crime and into a life of Little League coaching and churchgoing.

And if she can do that, there’s still hope that you can help your man walk away from a life of crumbs on the counter.

• • •

Cammy grew up in Anaheim, one of seven children born to Irma Garcia, a devout churchgoer, and Seferino Garcia. She graduated from Anaheim High in 1981. While studying dance at Cal State Fullerton, she got a chance to go to Miami as a back-up dancer on the set of the movie “Knights of the City.”

It was there in 1984 that she met Michael Franzese, the producer of the movie. He was young and handsome – and 11 years older, to her dismay. But he was sweet. He told her he was Catholic and had once been an altar boy. He didn’t tell her that he had already escaped five white-collar crime indictments. Or that he was “heir apparent” in the Colombo family.

Cammy returned to Anaheim when the movie finished shooting, but their relationship continued. One day not long after, Mike’s friend Frankie called: Mike had been arrested, something about tax evasion. At this point she still thought her boyfriend was just your average businessman. While the New York papers were having a field day with the Mob charges, it wasn’t making headlines here.

When Michael made bail he flew out to the West Coast and told Cammy he wanted to spend his life with her. The day after their engagement party, he was acquitted. They married that July in Beverly Hills and bought condos on Long Island and in Brentwood. Cammy gave birth to a baby girl.

But the good times didn’t last long. When their daughter was 7 months old, Michael was indicted for racketeering. This time he went to prison. That same year he was listed as the youngest capo on Fortune magazine’s 1986 chart of “The 50 Biggest Mafia Bosses,” according to a Life Magazine article. He was 33 “It was a blessing that I was young and idealistic and naïve at the time,” Cammy says. She didn’t ask her husband questions, fearing she would hear something she didn’t want to. She didn’t read newspapers. Or watch the news. Instead, over the next four years, she visited him every weekend – and prayed for him.

Cammy’s mother counseled her to forgive him and shared her vision. “He’s going to speak to millions,” she told her. “And she was so right. My mother was just so loving and forgiving and she believed in second chances and transformation and miracles,” Cammy says.

Well, Michael finally came home four years later. Law enforcement wanted him to testify against his “associates.” He wouldn’t do it. They threatened to throw him back in prison for a parole violation. He wouldn’t budge. One morning, after 18 months of freedom, he was back in prison.

By now they had two children. Money was tight so Cammy gave up the house with the elevator and nine bathrooms in Brentwood for a condo in Westwood.

“I just thought ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t do this again.’ I was angry. Michael was still living for Michael.”

But she still loved him. “I used to get on my knees and pray that God would protect him and change his heart … and make him the husband and the father he needs to be …. And bring him home.”

Back behind bars, the Yuppie Don broke. “My heart hurt so much that night, it was the kinda pain I remember,” Michael says. “That night I had nothing but enemies.”

A prison guard walked up and pushed a Bible through the slot. It fell on the floor. Michael threw it against the wall. Then he reconsidered. “Ya know, I’ve got everyone in the world mad at me, I don’t need God mad at me.”

He opened the Bible. It fell on Proverbs 16.7. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord even his enemies are at peace with him.”

He had let down his wife once again. “My life was in direct contradiction to everything that she was about and believed in,” he says. He remembered back when they first met and he couldn’t take his eyes off of her, and how pretty she was, as she talked to him about God. “Honestly, that didn’t really appeal to me at the time,” he says. “She could have been talking about anything. I was being polite. I wasn’t listening.”

Now he was listening.

“I loved her madly,” he says. “I think the main thing is, she knew that I would do anything for her.”

So finally he did. Michael Franzese renounced his life of crime. Behind bars, he granted an interview to Life Magazine. When “Quitting the Mafia” hit newsstands in 1987 the Warden called him into his office. “Franzese, do you have a death wish,” he asked?

“There’s an old saying that the only way to leave the Mafia is in a coffin,” the Life article began.

Michael was willing to take his chances. During his four years in the hole this second time around he read the Bible inside out and upside down. When he got out, the FBI came knocking. “You claimed you turned your life around, prove it,” they told him. They asked him to be in a video to warn young athletes not to be sucked into organized crime’s web of game fixing.

His videos led to speaking engagements. Today he travels the country, visiting colleges and churches, sharing his story. “Had I not met Cammy, I am certain I wouldn’t have taken the path I took and I would probably be dead or in prison,” he tells them.

Complete strangers have heard more about his double dealings than wife has. “To this day, I’ve never sat down and discussed my past life with her,” he said.

And she has never asked for details.

Michael has written two books, “Quitting the Mob” in 1991 and “Blood Covenant” in 2003. She hasn’t read a single page. “There’s probably a lot of things in there I don’t want to know about. I see it when he’s sleeping and tossing and turning. I can imagine it. I don’t need to see it in black and white.”

She remembers in the days after her husband got out of prison. “Every now and again someone would ask, ‘Are you fearful for your life or your children’s life?’ And I’d think, ‘Oh my God. Why should I be fearful?'”

Next Friday (Feb. 29), Cammy will join her husband on stage at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo to speak publicly, for only the third time, to married couples about how they held it together.

“It’s definitely easier to say I didn’t sign up for this and walk away,” she will tell them. “But whatever his old life was, it doesn’t matter, because that’s not the man he is today. I’m married to this man and I’m in love with this man.”

Plus, he’s a super clean freak and would never in a million years leave socks on the floor or crumbs on the counter.


Huckabee tells crowd he’ll boost GOP principles


Waukesha – Mike Huckabee implored Wisconsin supporters Wednesday to defy the pundits and his Republican opponent and boost his longshot bid, which he vowed to carry all the way to the national convention.

But the former Arkansas governor, at a rally in Waukesha, also said the election was about upholding the core principles of the party, not just winning.

“It seems like someone forgot to tell you this race isn’t over,” Huckabee told several hundred supporters packed into the Country Springs Hotel. “I’m awfully glad to tell you your vote still matters.”

Huckabee, the former broadcaster and Baptist preacher, pumped up the crowd with his trademark wit, quotes from Scripture, tough stance on illegal immigration and an anti-abortion message that he said GOP front-runner John McCain could not match.

He never named the Arizona senator, instead referring only to “three U.S. senators” from a Washington culture that has turned its back on the country on a host of issues.

He hawked his sweeping tax plan, calling for energy independence within a decade and beefing up the military.

His most emphatic comments were reserved for the abortion issue, and they drew the night’s biggest ovation.

“Our value comes because God created us,” Huckabee said. “We value every single human life,” from the unborn to the elderly in nursing homes.

Of the remaining major-party candidates, only he still backs a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution.

Unless the value of all life is recognized, Huckabee said, “I don’t think we can enjoy the blessings of God.”

Huckabee will be in Wisconsin all day today and into Friday.

Impressing the voters

Scott Judson, a Waukesha man and former Libertarian candidate for state office, showed up at the rally hunting for a conservative he could support. His wife, Candy, said she was similarly undecided.

Economic and foreign policy issues are most important to him, Scott Judson said. But it looks like a weak GOP field, he said before the speech.

After Huckabee’s speech, Scott Judson said he was impressed and declared himself a Huckabee backer.

“He said all the right words tonight,” Judson said.

Judson said he disliked McCain’s opposition to tax cuts that President Bush initiated.

“I’m glad he’s staying in the race to the end,” said Dave Vrba, a Waukesha resident at the rally with his wife, Tammy, and their two young kids. “It gives people like me a voice.”

Vrba said Huckabee’s much-documented weight loss was inspirational, as was his intelligent, open style and sense of humor.

Tammy Vrba, who usually votes Democratic but is backing Huckabee, said she had heard far more specific plans from the former governor than from Illinois Sen. Barack Obama on the Democratic side.

John Sperandeo, a painting contractor, drove from Kenosha to see Huckabee. “I love this guy. I believe a president should be a man of God. He openly declares it, as you should.”

Sperandeo said he thought Huckabee would continue Bush’s war on terror and hang tough in Iraq. Asked about McCain, he said: “He hasn’t shown he’s a man of God.”

Huckabee plans stops in four Wisconsin cities today. His itinerary includes a morning rally in Madison, afternoon events in La Crosse and the Wausau area, and an evening visit to Green Bay.

Huckabee said he had visited Green Bay’s Lambeau Field while campaigning for the national ticket in 2004. While on a tour, he sang the national anthem at the 50-yard line with two other governors, in a darkened stadium near midnight.

He called Lambeau a shrine.

On Friday, he is scheduled to eat breakfast at a pancake house in Milwaukee before meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors.

Addressing a reporter’s question after Wednesday’s rally, Huckabee defended his decision to leave the campaign trail for 36 to 48 hours this weekend to make a paid speech to a young professional group in the Cayman Islands.

“I’m not independently wealthy,” he said.

Huckabee’s Actually Done Some Math of His Own

LYNCHBURG, VA. — It may be miracles he’s espousing, but Mike Huckabee’s done a little math of his own. Even if he might not be able to attain 1,191 votes necessary to win, he’s banking on the possibility John McCain can’t either.

“If John McCain doesn’t get 1,191 delegates, this goes to the convention, all bets are off,” Huckabee told reporters. “And after the first ballot anybody can end up being the nominee.”

So what if Karl Rove went on CBS’ Face the Nation saying it’s implausible that Huckabee will get the numbers necessary to win the nomination. Huckabee’s response: “Karl Rove has also maxed out personal contributions to John McCain … The fact the opposing team has their cheerleaders and band blowing songs against me hardly motivates me to quit. It only motivates me to play harder.”

For Huckabee, the game is not over.

“I’m really not very persuaded by the party officials and the party establishment who come out now and are saying ‘Oh, well John McCain has 700 delegates, we oughta just quit,’” said Huckabee.

“When they wrote the rules, it said you had to have 1,191. So why did they write the rules for that game of play and now want to change the rules, that’s crazy. And so, you know, I’m playing by the rules that were written for me and I’m not trying to make them and I’m not trying to break them, so we’ll continue doing it.”

Referencing Hillary Clinton’s tearful moments in recent months, Huckabee said, “If I cried and whined every time someone ignored me in this, I’d quit a year ago. But you have to realize that in every stage of this, there’s yet to be a time when the pundits said, Huckabee’s the guy to pull this off…I’m enjoying it if no other reason than to just intimidate the daylights out of all the other people who feel like they have it figured out.”

Following what he called an “overwhelming” win in Kansas and “shocking” victory in Louisiana, Huckabee said he felt “confident” going into Virginia.

“When [your opponents] really don’t think you have a chance, they ignore you. When they say bad things about you, they fear you. So the fact that I’m being asked to leave and all these things are being said, it’s an extraordinary honor. I don’t necessarily enjoy it, but I sure appreciate it.”

Huckabee to Get Evangelical Leader’s Nod

Well – as my readers read here,

This should come as no surprise…  read on:


James Dobson, one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, is about to endorse former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, The Associated Press has learned.

Dobson, founder of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family, talked to the GOP presidential hopeful Thursday and later was to release a statement explaining his choice, said Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Dobson.

Huckabee had long sought Dobson’s endorsement, believing he is the best fit to advance Dobson’s conservative, moral worldview.

Until now, Dobson had never endorsed a GOP presidential hopeful during the primary campaign. But he ruled out front-runner John McCain in a blistering commentary on Super Tuesday, and on Thursday the fight for the GOP nomination narrowed to a two-man race between McCain and Huckabee, who is far behind in the delegate count but pledged to fight on. Mitt Romney, a third hopeful trying to claim the conservative label, dropped out of the race Thursday.

Dobson released a statement Tuesday that criticized McCain for his support of embryonic stem cell research, his opposition to a federal anti-gay marriage amendment and for his temper and use of foul language.

He said if McCain were the nominee, he would not cast a ballot for president for the first time in his life.

Dobson had left open the possibility that he would vote for either Romney or Huckabee, but endorsed neither.

Throughout the unsettled GOP race, Dobson picked his spots to signal that some candidates simply didn’t meet his standards. Dobson wrote on a conservative news Web site that he wouldn’t support former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani should he win the Republican nomination. Dobson called Giuliani an “unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand” and criticized him for signing a bill in 1997 creating domestic-partnership benefits in New York City.

At one point, Dobson said he’d consider voting for a minor-party candidate if faced with Giuliani as the nominee.

Later, Dobson ruled out former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson for his stands on issues. Dobson also said Thompson “has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent ‘want to.'”

Dobson emphasizes that when he endorses candidates, he is doing so as a private citizen and not as a representative of Focus on the Family, a tax-exempt organization.

As Romney Falters in Republican Race, Huckabee’s Drive Gathers Momentum

BOSTON — Even before the results were clear on Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s advisers conceded that they faced a steep climb to the nomination because of simple delegate math.

But now they also have to cope with a strong competitor to their momentum. Mr. Romney and his archrival for conservative voters, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, each won at least five states on Tuesday. Mr. Huckabee lost narrowly in Missouri to Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Speaking to supporters on Tuesday night in suburban Little Rock, Ark., Mr. Huckabee, former governor of the state, derided the view that he was to be counted out, telling a modest-size crowd that the vote had indeed turned the Republican contest into a two-person race — and that he was in it.

“Tonight, we’re proving we’re still on our feet, and much to the amazement of many, we’re getting there,” he said to cheers.

He gave no indication that his still substantial delegate deficit was a reason for pulling out.

“As long as there are still votes and delegates, there’s going to be one guy answering the bell every time there’s a new round,” Mr. Huckabee told his supporters.

Though Mr. Huckabee lacks a convincing route to the nomination, his continued presence promises to make Mr. Romney’s path much more rugged, drawing away the very conservative voters Mr. Romney had counted on to defeat Mr. McCain.

Mr. Romney’s aides tried to minimize the Huckabee effect, saying it would simply delay his progress, not prohibit it.

“Huckabee has a specific appeal on specific issues to an important sliver of the electorate,” said Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mr. Romney. “What Huckabee seems to be doing is still maintaining that specific appeal. What it’s done is it hasn’t stopped us. But instead it’s drawn out the primary calendar.”

Mr. Madden acknowledged that without Mr. Huckabee in the race, almost every previous nominating contest might have turned out differently.

“We’d have a greater ability to bring together these coalitions of conservatives, the economic and the social and the national security conservatives, and be the best candidate to unite the party,” Mr. Madden said.

Mr. Huckabee’s campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, said that the results on Tuesday had given the former Arkansas governor’s efforts a big boost and that contributions had increased.

“It gives us a lot of momentum, going forward,” Mr. Saltsman said. “I think we go forward with a lot more money than we thought we were going to have.”

He said Mr. Huckabee was not angling for second place on the Republican ticket.

“We’re still running for president,” Mr. Saltsman said. “We’re not running for vice president.”

As an example of the Romney campaign’s hurriedly revised calculations, aides had begun discussing an unlikely strategy that relies on delegates who are pledged to other candidates but who are not technically bound to them. Under that plan, the advisers envision that conservative fears continue to work against Mr. McCain, buying time and fueling a series of big victories for Mr. Romney. That would place him at a point where he has enough momentum to wrest some of the promised but not bound delegates into his column at a contested convention.

“Anybody who says it’s all going to be a mathematical exercise is wrong,” said Tom D. Rath, a senior adviser in the Romney campaign. “The math will follow the politics.”

The math, however, is daunting. Even some of the campaign’s more promising hypothetical delegate counts for how the race might shake out by Wednesday would leave them facing a serious deficit in the race to the 1,191 needed to clinch the nomination.

Under less rosy situations, Mr. Romney could be left with the almost impossible situation of having to win almost every remaining contest.

On the other hand, conservative grass-roots anger does appear to be building in some corners against Mr. McCain. Several conservative commentators have thrown their weight behind Mr. Romney.

On Tuesday, James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, released a blistering statement about Mr. McCain, saying he could not in good conscience vote for the senator.

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain has been playing up the names of conservatives who have endorsed him, including Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, whom he called “the most conservative member of the Senate.”

Mr. Romney’s advisers hope the upshot of the grass-roots anger and a divided delegate picture is that they will be able to derail at least temporarily the rush to crown Mr. McCain as the nominee.

“The calendar gets spread out enough so you can compete everywhere,” said Ben Ginsberg, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney. “And the sort of rebellion that’s taking place in the grass roots against McCain has more time to take root.”

Huckabee wins all 18 W.Va. delegates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Mike Huckabee won the first contest declared on Super Tuesday, picking up all 18 national delegates awarded at West Virginia‘s state GOP convention

Read it Here

Mike Huckabee – on the issues.

A Voter’s guide…

1. With ten-and-a-half years of experience running state government, Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has more relevant executive experience than any candidate in the race – either Republican or Democrat.

2. Recognized and tapped by his peers for leadership, the National Governor’s Association selected Governor Huckabee as it’s Chairman.

3. TIME Magazine honored him as one of the five best Governors in America.

4. Governor Huckabee is a fiscal conservative who cut taxes almost 100 times in the state of Arkansas, including the state’s first broad-based tax cuts, and turned a $200 million deficit into an $850 million surplus.

1. TAXES/ECONOMY –Governor Huckabee supports The FairTax because it will restore the “Made in America” label, making American goods 12-25% more competitive, boosting economic growth, increasing our exports, and securing American jobs. It also prevents criminals or illegal aliens from avoiding taxes, and makes the taxes we all pay 100% transparent.

2. GOVERNMENT SPENDING – Governor Huckabee is committed to reducing government spending. One way he’ll do this is by reducing the cost of welfare. Governor Huckabee will work with states to reduce welfare roles through programs like the one he implemented in Arkansas, which reduced welfare roles by 50%.

3. HEALTH CARE –Governor Huckabee will implement a consumer-based healthcare system that emphasizes preventative medicine and wellness. Because 70% of our $2 trillion dollar healthcare costs is spent treating chronic, preventable diseases, this approach will make healthcare more affordable for everybody while keeping us healthier.

4. FAMILY VALUES –Governor Huckabee supports a federal constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. He Successfully fought for Arknasas’ marriage amendment and strongly supports a similar, federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

5. IMMIGRATION –Governor Huckabee will secure the border (with physical barriers, electronic surveillance, and more border-patrol personnel and detention facilities). He will also end sanctuary cities and increase penalties on, and enforcement against, employers who hire illegal immigrants. Governor Huckabee will make sure the border patrol has adequate funding to end our “catch and release” system so that everyone caught trying to enter illegally, overstaying their visa, or committing a crime will be held until they’re tried, convicted, and deported. Gov. Huckabee has also signed the Numbers USA “No Amnesty” Pledge.

6. WAR ON TERROR AND IRAQ – Governor Huckabee knows it takes a large, well-equipped military to ensure our national defense and to deter conventional military confrontations. He also knows we need large, well-equipped intelligence and Special Forces operations for our national offense – so we can effectively find and eliminate terrorist threats at home or abroad. Governor Huckabee will be a Commander in Chief who knows that IF WE HAVE TO FIGHT A WAR, our President has to fight it the way our GENERALS tell him it can be won, not the way we want it to be won.

7. ENERGY INDEPENDENCE –Governor Huckabee will implement a program to end the import of foreign oil in the next ten years by increasing domestic oil production in the short term, and then replacing oil-based energy infrastructure with alternative and renewable energies.

8. CLEMENCIES – Arkansas Governors grant clemency, but the parole board grants parole. Wayne DuMond’s parole was granted by the board and NOT Governor Huckabee.

9. TAXES –When Governor Huckabee left office, the tax rates remained exactly the same as when he first came into office. Governor Huckabee returned almost $400 million to Arkansas taxpayers, and he also DOUBLED the standard deduction for individuals and married couples, DOUBLED the childcare tax credit, and eliminated the marriage penalty. He also repealed capital gains taxes for home sales, lowered the capital gains rate by 25%, expanded the homestead exemption, and set up tax-free savings accounts for medical care and college tuition.  Gov. Huckabee has also signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge not to raise taxes.

• Lifetime member of the NRA, member for over 15 years
• First Governor to have concealed-carry permit
• Removed restrictions on carry permit holders
• Protected gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits
• Opposes reauthorization of the Assault Weapon Ban
• Opposes expansion of the unconstitutional “Brady Bill”
• Opposes waiting period for purchase of firearms
• Opposes background checks on private firearms transactions at gun shows
• Will nominate judges who interpret the constitution as the Founders intended, rather than as a “living document reflecting current political trends or opinions”
• An avid hunter and conservationist, and a member of the Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation and BASS.