Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Fred Thompson inThe News

  • Thompson touts conservative record

  • With the Iowa Caucuses coming up, Thompson said he can be the strong leader the country needs.
  • “On Thursday night, you are voting for leadership in a time our country is going to need strong leadership,” he said.
  • He later said with a low approval rating in Congress that “nobody has any confidence or faith anymore in the government.”
  • Thompson said that illegal immigration is much more than those coming into the country to work, he said the borders need to be secured to also prevent terrorism.
  • “At its heart this illegal immigration is a national security issue,” he said.
  • He was asked about his plans for the future of social security and said fixing it a little now would prevent having to fix a bigger problem later.
  • He said if social security should end “it is going to have a catastrophic effect on our economy.”
  • Thompson has a history of conservative voting in the Senate and was asked if he would continue that way as president or give in to Democrats in Washington. He replied to look at his record and see what he has done in the past to predict what he’ll do in the future.
  • He addressed the war in Iraq and said that after a rough start that “we are on the right track” and “good things are happening.” [more here]

  • 3 Different Candidates, 3 Distinct Faces of the G.O.P.

  • DES MOINES — As Mitt Romney, Fred S. Thompson and Mike Huckabee hit points all over Iowa in a closing flurry before Thursday’s caucuses, it can seem as if they are campaigning in three entirely different worlds.
  • Mr. Romney, the white-collar Republican in a Ward Cleaver sweater, is promoted as a corporate master, “to business as Elvis was to music,” said Bob Beauprez, a former member of Congress from Colorado, who introduced Mr. Romney at an event on Monday. Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, rattles off his platform with power-point crispness, a man in a hurry.
  • Not so with Mr. Thompson, who cuts the more classic ideal of small-town, Middle America Republicanism, strolling through tiny Allison, Iowa. “I always love to meet a man representing law and order,” Mr. Thompson said greeting Jason Johnson, who was wearing a Butler County Sheriff’s department uniform.
  • Mr. Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, speaks with the sure cadences of a man trained on pulpits. He deploys a flow and rhyme reminiscent of the Rev. Jesse Jackson (“We have excess regulation, excess litigation”), boasts of his hardscrabble upbringing (“one generation removed from dirt floors and outdoor toilets”) and tells jokes like a certifiable Christian comedian. His economic populism has more in common with John Edwards, a Democrat, than with Mr. Romney and Mr. Thompson. He draws “amens” from his audiences, who praise him in biblical terms.
  • Mr. Thompson presents himself as every bit the “law and order” Republican. People he meets constantly mention his role as a prosecutor on the so-named television series, and Mr. Thompson himself mentions the show in his speeches, urging people to “watch the reruns” because then he gets a little more in “that little check I get.”
  • He mutters, bounces up and down on his toes, making himself even taller than 6 feet, 5 inches. His invocations of Mr. Reagan reflect a kind of audition for the Hollywood role of avuncular, common-sense Republican embodied by the late president in the 1980s. Like Mr. Reagan, Mr. Thompson carries himself with a practiced sheepishness, a man who wants the role but does not need it.
  • “You’re taller than you seem on TV,” Ellie Senne of Allison told him on his visit to the Main Street Cafe.
  • “I was even taller before all those politicians beat me down,” Mr. Thompson assured her.
  • Mr. Thompson met few people on his quickie tour of downtown Allison, but made up for it by saying a lot of things twice. “Fond memories, fond memories,” he said of his time in the Senate. “Bless you, bless you,” he tells a man in a feed store who declares himself a “Law and Order” fan. “Good to see you, good to see you,” Mr. Thompson, stepping of his blue-and-mustard-colored bus, said to someone familiar.
  • He drew a nice crowd at his next stop, in Tama, another cafe, this one packed at lunchtime on New Year’s Eve. It is cold out, “so cold that back in Washington the politicians have their hands in their own pockets,” Mr. Thompson said. This is the kind of gentle crack that Mr. Reagan used to relish, as does Mr. Thompson. He kept pounding his left fist into his meaty right palm, making a steady “thlopp.”
  • Mr. Thompson once filled in for the radio host Paul Harvey, he said, “which was like pinch-hitting for Babe Ruth.” He preaches pleasantness and common sense and a brand of Republicanism that he says has been lost.
  • “My folks came off the farm with an eighth-grade education and started their family and taught me how to be a nice person,” Mr. Thompson said.
  • “I like his demeanor,” said Jody Maxted of Marshalltown, who like many Thompson supporters compared him to “the kinds of Republicans you don’t see as much anymore.” [more here]

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