Fred Thompson: GOP Savior and Star Extraordinaire and Ronald Reagan Incarnate
I wrote this up a few days ago and never got around to posting it, so here goes (w/ some added video).
Chris Matthews (MSNBC) about Fred Thompson [thanks to Media Matters for these links; all emphasis in this post is mine]:
Discussing former Sen. Fred Thompson's (TN) potential presidential bid on the March 29 edition of Hardball, Matthews asserted that Thompson "looks like a movie star" and that "people like movie stars," adding, "Maybe we will get [actor] Harrison Ford next time." He also said (subscription required) of Thompson: "Can you smell the English leather on this guy, the Aqua Velva?"
On the June 3 edition of NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell claimed that Thompson has "got that Ronald Reagan factor that is an echo for a lot of people that they love. If he can perform, if he can use all the skills ... that he obtained as an actor, mix that with what conservatives are looking for, I think he could be ... a real player."
On the May 31 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, guest host Elizabeth Vargas stated that the Republican presidential race is "about to get a shot of adrenaline from a man known to millions for his star turns on television and in the movies" and proceeded to tell ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos: "George, there were two references in just one of the many newspaper articles this morning that compared Fred Thompson to Ronald Reagan. One of them said, quote, 'He has Reaganesque communication skills.' He has got to like that." Stephanopoulos responded: "Oh, no question about it, Elizabeth. A lot of Republicans, a lot of conservatives look at Fred Thompson and they see Ronald Reagan, a great communicator, a clear conservative with crossover appeal to non-Republicans and Democrats, and as you point out, he has real star power."
Richard Nixon's mole, Top Cheerleader for the No Law and No Order Movement (i.e., the Scooter-Libby-Is-Not-Guilty-So-Free-Him-Already-Movement), the-man-who-likened-Cuban-refugees-to-terrorists and accomplished "Red Pickup Truck" fraudster Fred Thompson in Iowa (h/t Markos):
Twenty-four minutes after he began speaking in a small restaurant the other day, Fred Thompson brought his remarks to a close with a nod of his head and an expression of thanks to Iowans for allowing him to “give my thoughts about some things.”
Then he stood face to a face with a silent audience.
“Can I have a round of applause?” Mr. Thompson said, drawing a rustle of clapping and some laughter.
“Well, I had to drag that out of you,” he said.
Here's a video of this embarrasing moment (h/t Kombiz Lavasany):
[...] His entry into the presidential race was highly anticipated by many Republicans, who saw or hoped to see in him outsized political talent and a commitment to conservatism that would enliven a Republican field that many found lacking.
But as Mr. Thompson campaigned across Iowa this week, he was something other than the dynamic presence that some in his party have been yearning for. Iowans saw a candidate who is subdued and sonorous, a laconic presence who spoke in soft monotone, threw few elbows and displayed little drive to distinguish himself from his opponents.
Backers have cast Thompson as a classic communicator in the mold of Ronald Reagan, who translated his acting background into two terms in the White House. During this visit, Iowans didn't seem ready to commit.
Speaking Monday to about 250 people in Marshalltown, Thompson had to point out that he was finished and it was OK for people to applaud.
"At least I got some applause," he said. "I had to ask for it."
In Cedar Falls, a country singer got the crowd rocking and clapping, but the room cooled as Thompson spoke.
"He's a good communicator, but I'm still looking," said Brad Niemeyer, of Fort Dodge.
Thompson's words sometimes get him into trouble. In his initial campaign visit to Iowa in September, he described the effort to capture terrorist leader Osama bin Laden as largely symbolic, then spent several days explaining what he had meant.
That's not all! Steve at Carpetbagger Report tells us more about Fabulous Fred, the (former?) darling of the right-wing blogosphere:
From what I hear, Fred Thompson, the actor-lobbyist-presidential candidate, has been having a little trouble raising money for his campaign. Perhaps, out of the goodness of our hearts, we could chip in and buy him a newspaper subscription.
Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Thursday he was unaware that a federal judge had ruled last week that lethal injection procedures in his home state were unconstitutional.
Thompson also told reporters he was unaware that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed this week to consider a Kentucky case about whether lethal injection violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Thompson’s support for the death penalty was a major part of his campaign platform when he first ran for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee in 1994. Asked for his response to the recent Tennessee and Kentucky cases, Thompson responded, “I hadn’t heard that. I didn’t know.”
These weren’t hidden, obscure subjects. Indeed, it was front-page news in Thompson’s own state, home to his own campaign headquarters, which presumably have a few newspapers lying around.
But far more important than Thompson falling behind on this week’s headlines is the frequency with which Thompson has been saying, “I hadn’t heard that. I didn’t know.”
I’ve been keeping a little (or maybe not so little) list going:
* Asked about the Jena Six, Thompson said, “I don’t know anything about it.”
* Asked about his thoughts on the Terri Schiavo matter, Thompson said, “That’s going back in history. I don’t remember the details of it.”
* Asked about hurricane property insurance while campaigning in Florida, a huge local issue, Thompson said he doesn’t “know all the facts surrounding that case.”
* Asked about Social Security reform, one of the top issues on his policy agenda, Thompson said he couldn’t remember what Bush’s position was on Social Security two years ago.
* Asked about oil drilling in the Everglades, while campaigning in Florida, Thompson said he didn’t know there was oil under the Everglades and didn’t know it was an important local issue.
A couple of weeks ago, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said it’s not too late for Fred Thompson to compete for the GOP nomination, but to make up for lost time, the former senator must demonstrate “a command over policy issues.” Fleischer added, “He’s got to knock the policy questions out of the park.”
So much for that idea.
Here is MSNBC's David Shuster on Thompson's multiple embarrassing gaffes (h/t Kombiz Lavasany):
Of course, Fabulous Fred also remembers stuff:
Fred Thompson had another one of his terrible horrible no good very bad days seeing as he made the mistake of opening his mouth and all. Not only did Thompson have to ask for applause at an event in Iowa but he also mistakenly claimed that the Democrats had the majority when he was shepherding John Roberts through his senate confirmation and referred to Russia as "The Soviet Union." Someone please just write him a script already, this is getting embarrassing.
All I can say is - he definitely sounds like Ronald Reagan and appears to be the top GOP candidate for 2008.
P.S. Make sure you bookmark and check out The Right's Field, which is covering all the GOP candidates regularly!