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The New Fire in Freds Belly
NRO ^ | 11/19/07 | Larry Kudlow

Posted on 11/19/2007 9:19:11 AM PST by Fred

The New Fire in Fred’s Belly

A revitalized Thompson has an honest, clear, straightforward message of economic freedom and problem solving.

An energetic and forceful Fred Thompson sat down with me last week on Kudlow and Company to talk politics and the economy. The former Tennessee senator was in good form — more animated than I’ve seen him, and definitely a different person than the one I interviewed six months ago.

I asked him about Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader. Armey recently predicted that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, reasoning that the GOP has departed from the first principles of limited government and lower taxes. Armey said budget overspending and the proliferating corruption of earmarks are what led to the landslide defeat of Republicans a year ago. To date, Dick Armey is unimpressed with the circa 2007 GOP message.

And Thompson agreed. He said, “If we don’t tend to business we are going to be in big trouble. Pendulum’s swinging against us. We are down in the polls. Independents are leaning the other way [where they] used to lean with us. So we’ve got to . . . adhere to the principles that made us a great party and a great nation.”

That was a strong dose of honesty and self-examination. Good for Fred Thompson.

Speaking of limited government and budget overspending, I asked if a President Thompson would veto the $300 billion earmark-pocked pork-barrel farm bill now before Congress. He called this legislation “disgraceful,” noted that it wouldn’t even help small family farms, and that it would block the expansion of world free trade.

When I asked him about Warren Buffett, the famous investor billionaire, Thompson turned up the heat. In testimony before the Senate last week, Buffett advocated a whole series of tax hikes, such as an increase in the death tax, higher capital gains and dividend taxes, and more taxes on private partnerships, hedge funds, and private-equity buyout firms. Thompson labeled this policy dead wrong. He said Buffett is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Democratic party. He argued that the wealth of the government is the not the same thing as the wealth of nations, and that history proves lower tax rates promote economic growth.

And he said Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates are blind to all this. He noted that the top 5 percent of income earners now pay 60 percent of all tax collections; that the tax code is progressive enough; that there’s plenty of economic mobility in the country; that for those who have fallen behind, the problem is poor education, not tax rates; and that America is the freest, most prosperous, most powerful nation in the history of the world.

We talked about his controversial Social Security reform plan that would slow down future benefits by indexing them to inflation rather than wages, while providing for add-on private savings accounts with a government match, much like the system for 401(k)s.

Lower benefits? Isn’t that the proverbial third-rail of politics? Not according to Mr. Thompson. He said big problems ought to be tackled: “If you can’t do the right thing, say what you believe and what everybody really basically knows, why do it? Why bother? Life is too short for the aggravation.”

Thompson wants to tell the truth about Social Security and force everyone else in the game to respond. This issue is a real character-building definer for Fred Thompson. No one else on the campaign trail, in either party, is willing to discuss Social Security in such frank terms.

But that’s the revitalized Fred Thompson. The more I challenged him, the more animated he became. He simply refused to stand down.

Some people say Thompson doesn’t have the fire in his belly to go the distance. I don’t think that’s true. And I’m not picking or endorsing any candidates here. But Thompson has an honest, clear, straightforward message of economic freedom and problem solving.

Then I brought up the CNBC/Wall Street Journal debate of a few weeks ago, when Thompson slammed Rudy Giuliani. I asked if he intended to continue to pound Giuliani on the campaign trail. He said, “I haven’t pounded all day.” I asked, What about yesterday? He said, “Well, we’re pointing out some policy differences. [Giuliani] believes in federal funding for abortion. He went to court to stop our bill outlawing sanctuary cities. He’s never met a gun-control bill he didn’t like.”

A sharp-edged Fred Thompson.

Can he win? His campaign strategists told me they are pouring tons of money into Iowa advertising. They see a strong opportunity for a Thompson surge in the state, undermining Romney and inflicting damage on Giuliani. Walking off the set, Thompson told me this election will be about peace and prosperity. And he intends to fight hard.

— Larry Kudlow, NRO’s Economics Editor, is host of CNBC’s Kudlow & Company and author of the daily web blog, Kudlow’s Money Politic$.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; election; elections; fred; fredthompson; giuliani; giulianitruthfile; kudlow; nro; romney; rudy; thompson

1 posted on 11/19/2007 9:19:13 AM PST by Fred
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To: Fred

THIS man has charactre.


2 posted on 11/19/2007 9:22:11 AM PST by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Conservatives - Freedom WITH responsibility; Libertarians - Freedom FROM responsibility)
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To: Fred
He argued that the wealth of the government is the not the same thing as the wealth of nations

He said my tagline! Yay!

3 posted on 11/19/2007 9:22:47 AM PST by agere_contra (Do not confuse the wealth of nations with the wealth of government - FDT)
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To: Fred

In before the “FLATTERING ARTICLE ABOUT FRED!” ping! :-)


4 posted on 11/19/2007 9:22:54 AM PST by pillut48 (CJ in TX --Soccer Mom and proud RUSH REPUBLICAN! WIN, FRED, WIN!!!)
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To: agere_contra

Dude, FDT reads Free Republic!


5 posted on 11/19/2007 9:23:13 AM PST by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Conservatives - Freedom WITH responsibility; Libertarians - Freedom FROM responsibility)
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To: Fred

Go Fred Go!


6 posted on 11/19/2007 9:23:46 AM PST by A. Morgan (John Edwards, Osama Obama , Hillary: each one a dofus! Thank me!)
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To: Fred
Some people say Thompson doesn’t have the fire in his belly to go the distance. I don’t think that’s true. And I’m not picking or endorsing any candidates here. But Thompson has an honest, clear, straightforward message of economic freedom and problem solving.

For those complaining about a lack of "fire in the belly", Thompson has been pacing himself and intends to peak on election day, not three months early...

7 posted on 11/19/2007 9:24:03 AM PST by kevkrom ("Should government be doing this? And if so, then at what level of government?" - FDT)
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To: Fred
I'd be very pleased to vote for Fred. I still like Duncan Hunter better, though.

My big concern is that every few months, Fred has to get out the message that's "really" in the race. I remember back around June, people wondered if he had decided not to declare. The message came out: He's in!

Then there wasn't too much going on for a few months. By the end of summer, people wondered if he had decided not to declare. The message came out: He's in!

But for most of the fall, he's kind of languished. I've heard people wonder if his heart's really in it. But I think the message from Kudlow is clear: He's in!

You really can't keep doing that.

8 posted on 11/19/2007 9:24:20 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: Fred
GO FRED!

Pledge Now!

9 posted on 11/19/2007 9:24:30 AM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

I hope so.


10 posted on 11/19/2007 9:25:21 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: Fred

Excellent!


11 posted on 11/19/2007 9:25:28 AM PST by SoConPubbie
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To: kevkrom

BINGO! Fred knows exactly what he’s doing.


12 posted on 11/19/2007 9:26:08 AM PST by RockinRight (Just because you're pro-life and talk about God a lot doesn't mean you're a conservative.)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

[waves madly at her favorite candidate]

Say hi to the kids from us, FRed! God bless your campaign and presidency! :-)


13 posted on 11/19/2007 9:26:49 AM PST by pillut48 (CJ in TX --Soccer Mom and proud RUSH REPUBLICAN! WIN, FRED, WIN!!!)
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To: MeanWestTexan

If he does, I’m gonna try to sell him on Neo-Ciceronianism.


14 posted on 11/19/2007 9:26:53 AM PST by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Conservatives - Freedom WITH responsibility; Libertarians - Freedom FROM responsibility)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus
THIS man has charactre.

Are you suggesting that Fred Thompson is French?

15 posted on 11/19/2007 9:29:06 AM PST by SittinYonder (Ic t gehate, t ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille furor gan)
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To: Fred

I saw him a couple of weeks ago in Dover, NH. He seemed pretty animated and lively then as well. With him in the GOP mix, we’ve got a chance.


16 posted on 11/19/2007 9:31:39 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: agere_contra
He said my tagline! Yay!

I don't think he'll be reciting mine outloud anytime soon!

17 posted on 11/19/2007 9:32:20 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead
I don't think he'll be reciting mine outloud anytime soon!

Probably not. But it would be hilarious if he did, though.

18 posted on 11/19/2007 9:33:13 AM PST by kevkrom ("Should government be doing this? And if so, then at what level of government?" - FDT)
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To: kevkrom
For those complaining about a lack of "fire in the belly", Thompson has been pacing himself and intends to peak on election day, not three months early...
DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!
19 posted on 11/19/2007 9:35:38 AM PST by eastsider
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

I’m of Jewish origin; no comprendo Latino.

All I know is the Romans knocked down the Temple and coined the word “Palestinia” to piss us off.


20 posted on 11/19/2007 9:41:37 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: ClearCase_guy
re: I’d be very pleased to vote for Fred. I still like Duncan Hunter better, though.

Couldn’t have said it better myself! I would love to see a Thompson/Hunter ticket.

My primary vote will be going to Duncan Hunter, but I will support WHOMEVER is the party’s nominee in November. I would love to send a message by voting for a third-party candidate, or staying home, but I’m not sure my personal constitution could make it through another lesson like the one we learned in 2006!

21 posted on 11/19/2007 9:46:15 AM PST by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: jwparkerjr
I would love to see a Thompson/Hunter ticket.

No prob-lee-mo!

THOMPSON-HUNTER 2008


22 posted on 11/19/2007 9:50:13 AM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: Fred; All
Pajamas Media War on Terror Conversations Fred Thompson full 11-19-07
23 posted on 11/19/2007 9:52:53 AM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Fred
I have not been committed to Fred because I doubt if he has the fire in the belly. Also, I think he's a fine talker as most lawyers are, but is not a do-er.

But I saw this interview; Fred did look better than usual.

24 posted on 11/19/2007 9:58:04 AM PST by what's up
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To: Fred

I’ve always thought he had “fire in the belly” although I don’t like that expression. He has a better reason for running than anyone else. It is nice to see someone else say it though. Encouragement is always helpful.

Thanks for posting this.


25 posted on 11/19/2007 11:19:06 AM PST by daylilly
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To: TLI

Bump


26 posted on 11/19/2007 11:34:30 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

GO FRED GO!!! For the sake of our country, GO FRED GO!!


27 posted on 11/19/2007 12:35:51 PM PST by jesseam (Been there and done that!)
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To: jellybean; Politicalmom; girlangler; KoRn; Shortstop7; Lunatic Fringe; Darnright; babygene; ...
PING!!

Don't forget to vote in the new FR poll!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Fredipedia: The Definitive Fred Thompson Reference

WARNING: If you wish to join, be aware that this ping list is EXTREMELY active.

28 posted on 11/19/2007 1:10:03 PM PST by Politicalmom (Of the potential GOP front runners, FT has one of the better records on immigration.- NumbersUSA)
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To: Politicalmom
Pensacola rally for Fred:


29 posted on 11/19/2007 1:17:31 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

You’re reflecting our culture of instant gratification and entertainment politics. God forbid, we should have maturity and statesmanship and focus among the candidates for President. That’s exactly what Fred brings that the rest do not. The self-control and character he is showing will carry him along very well in his plan (which of course, he has) to lead him to victory next fall. He will be the one to go up against Hillary, and the contrast, even for Direhard Dems, will be startling. That’s my prediction.

It’s leadership we need — at every area of the POTUS — and it’s true leadership that we will get from Fred for the long haul (not Guliani, who writes a BOOK about “Leadership”).

I like Duncan a lot also — and i hope Fred chooses him as his running mate. He could redefine the whole office of VP by putting someone of substance and competence in there.


30 posted on 11/19/2007 1:33:12 PM PST by adopt4Christ (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: MeanWestTexan

Actually the word goes back at least 500 years before the Romans destroyed the Temple...Herodotus refers to Palestinians and Syria Palaestina when describing the Persian Empire. I don’t know if the term was ever in official use before Vespasian, but it derives from the name of the Philistines so must have been coined before they were utterly forgotten. It’s not clear how large an area Herodotus means by the term, perhaps just the area the Philistines had inhabited.


31 posted on 11/19/2007 1:46:40 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: adopt4Christ
I like Duncan a lot also — and i hope Fred chooses him as his running mate. He could redefine the whole office of VP by putting someone of substance and competence in there.

You win a CEE-GARRR! I do not see any reason a VP has to be a wallflower. We are paying his salary, let's put him to work!

Dick Cheney does not sit around autographing flags, why would Duncan?

32 posted on 11/19/2007 1:51:29 PM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: Fred
This issue is a real character-building definer for Fred Thompson. No one else on the campaign trail, in either party, is willing to discuss Social Security in such frank terms.

This is a huge deal for me. Big bump for Thompson.

33 posted on 11/19/2007 1:55:41 PM PST by ellery (I don't remember a constitutional amendment that gives you the right not to be identified-R.Giuliani)
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To: TLI

You’re right about Cheney — HOWEVER,the media still will NOT give him the respect he has deserved from Day One. If there was a Dem VP worthy of the same level of respect, it would be different. Maybe I’m dreaming to think the press will ever change idealogically....but a girl can dream, yes?


34 posted on 11/19/2007 1:57:15 PM PST by adopt4Christ (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: Fred

I sent more money today...I will give the entire amount...unfortunately in increments.


35 posted on 11/19/2007 3:39:19 PM PST by Aria (NO RAPIST ENABLER FOR PRESIDENT!!!)
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To: Fred

Happy to hear about the ‘fire in the belly.’

Now perhaps he would be kind enough to set fire to the NeoConNaysayers over at NRO who (with one exception I know of) are writing him off for dead.


36 posted on 11/19/2007 6:49:01 PM PST by ninenot (Minister of Membership, Tomas Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: Verginius Rufus

Oh, sure, there are earlier references, but the Phillistines were sea-farers and coast-dwellers (and have no relation to the arabs who call themselves Palestinians, but that is another issue entirely).

Long story short, though, using the name for the entire territory came about because the Romans, in order to basically put us Jews in our place, used the name of our old enemy as the name of the land.

And, since the Romans made the maps, the name has stuck.


37 posted on 11/20/2007 9:30:13 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: sageb1

Great interview! I’m gonna bookmark the site to return often.


38 posted on 11/20/2007 7:52:34 PM PST by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

Perhaps but will the voters respond in just 45 days and on Feb. 5??? That is the real question.


39 posted on 11/20/2007 7:54:13 PM PST by phillyfanatic
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To: Fred

This is FRed. :)


40 posted on 11/20/2007 8:12:22 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (just b/c your paranoid, doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you....Run, Fred, Run. :^)
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