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Some House Backers of Thompson Are Starting to Lose the Faith
CQ POLITICS ^ | 19 November 2007 | Jonathan Allen, CQ Staff

Posted on 11/19/2007 10:22:45 AM PST by Alter Kaker

Several House Republicans who endorsed Fred Thompson for president now say that they are frustrated with what they view as an apathetic campaign, and at least one regrets having committed to the former Tennessee senator.

“I think he’s kind of done a belly flop,” said an estranged Thompson backer who indicated he will not pull his public support before the “Super Tuesday” primaries. “We’ll just wait till after Feb. 5 because I think he’s going to get beat.”

The disaffected members of team Thompson say that he has failed to put to rest whispers that he is unwilling to campaign hard enough to win the presidency.

“He seems to be perpetuating it instead of defeating it,” another dissatisfied Thompson backer told CQ Politics. “I can’t see me bailing on him, but there’s some frustration.”

Political endorsements mean little in and of themselves. But actively engaged elected officials can use their own networks to help boost a presidential candidate’s chances in their district or state, according to political experts.

“It often times gives entrée to that person’s own fundraising network and to be able to tap into that person’s knowledge of how to win that particular geography,” said Susan A. MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Some of Thompson’s endorsers say they aren’t lifting a finger.

“I’ve kind of pulled back. I’m not not supporting him, but I’m not doing anything,” said a third lawmaker.

What could be even more troubling for Thompson is what that lawmaker said GOP activists outside the capital Beltway are saying: “Now they’re calling me and saying ‘What’s he doing?’ It’s almost like he doesn’t want it.”

The disillusioned Thompson endorsers spoke in separate interviews with CQ Politics, all on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to damage him or themselves publicly. Two said they retain hope that he will turn it around.

One indicated that Thompson’s recent comments on abortion may have done him serious damage with some antiabortion activists. Thompson favors leaving the question of abortion to the states, and conservative columnist Robert D. Novak pilloried Thompson for a Meet the Press interview earlier this month in which Thompson said women who get abortions should not be made into criminals. Novak called the specter of legislation that would put abortion recipients, or their parents, in jail a “spurious issue raised by abortion-rights activists.”

Thompson’s staunchest supporters on Capitol Hill say his campaign is gathering steam. They note his recent endorsement by the National Right to Life Committee, which has the resources to spend heavily on Thompson’s behalf and the reach to activate grass-roots conservatives.

“I’m very confident in my support for his campaign and continue to believe he is the most consistent conservative in the race who can win both the primary and the general,” said Rep. Adam H. Putnam , R-Fla., who as chairman of the Republican Conference is the third-ranking member of the House GOP.

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert , who remains a strong Thompson supporter, said the knock that Thompson is not campaigning hard enough is “a bit unfair.”

Nonetheless, MacManus said the wavering support from some of the House Republicans who have endorsed Thompson matters.

“At this point it’s significant because he’s trying to win a come-from-behind race and he needs every bit of support he can get,” she said.

After a long flirtation, Thompson officially launched his candidacy in early September, after the other Republican and Democratic contenders had been campaigning for months.

The late entry appears to have contributed to the loss of one possible endorsement in the House.

Rep. Nathan Deal , R-Ga., was once on the brink of declaring for Thompson but ultimately chose to keep his powder dry.

Deal said that, like others, Thompson waiting so long to get into the race disconcerted him.

“He really hasn’t caught fire,” said Deal, who has not committed to a candidate. Deal did not rule out the possibility of endorsing Thompson, or at least voting for him, later on. But he also said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee , who is outpolling Thompson in Iowa, might get his help. Huckabee and Thompson are in direct competition for social conservatives.

Rep. Zach Wamp , R-Tenn., who has organized support for Thompson on Capitol Hill, said his man is building momentum and is well-positioned at this point.

“He is still in the thick of this, and it’s wide open,” Wamp said. “In no way at all am I discouraged about anything.”

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: 109th; 2008; duncanhunter; elections; fred; fredthompson; giuliani; huckabee; mitt; mittromney; romney; zzzzzzz
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To: Alter Kaker

It doesn’t matter who is voicing a few misgivings. They picked Fred, I think they should go ahead and back him.

This kind of whining and regrets, if genuine, is a little too self-serving.

121 posted on 11/19/2007 2:24:26 PM PST by George W. Bush (Apres moi, le deluge.)
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To: Alter Kaker

....what a weak “Hit” piece.....

122 posted on 11/19/2007 2:55:16 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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To: Greg F

and betamax was a good video format...

123 posted on 11/19/2007 3:23:03 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: Alter Kaker

considering the professor has a left wing bias, it is a very limp wristed hit piece.

124 posted on 11/19/2007 3:25:13 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: Greg F; Jim Robinson
LOL. I’d say banning people for posting things critical of Fred makes him a FRedHead! I think it’s a mistake to be partisan for a particular candidate in primaries, to that extent, when you run a site like Free Republic, but it’s his site.


Courtesy ping.

125 posted on 11/19/2007 3:27:46 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: longtermmemmory
and betamax was a good video format...

LOL . . . I'm going to break it to you . . . but if you are looking for a conservative nominee then you may be making fun of your own aspirations, since Thompson and Tancredo are the other conservatives in the race besides Hunter and they are both looking like longshots as well. I say that giving Thompson the benefit of the doubt in regard to his basic conservatism on the issues of immigration and trade. Thompson's campaign may be in a "lull" as another poster put it, but I was worried about him as a candidate when he was freezing support for guys like Hunter before he announced, and my worries seem to be bearing out. I support Hunter because he is the best man in the country for the office of President, in my opinion. I can't think of another man I would rather have be President and it has been a long time since I felt that way about a candidate.

126 posted on 11/19/2007 3:41:57 PM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: trisham; jimrob

I think you are right, I should have pinged JimRob on that. Thank you and apologies to Jim.

127 posted on 11/19/2007 3:43:29 PM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: trisham; Jim Robinson

I think you are right, I should have pinged Jim Robinson on that. Thank you and apologies to Jim.

128 posted on 11/19/2007 3:44:39 PM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: Greg F

Bump! Agreed!

129 posted on 11/19/2007 4:04:44 PM PST by AmericanInTokyo (AmericanInTokyo; Count THIS Freeper as solidly behind DUNCAN HUNTER 2008!!!)
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To: pillut48

Looks like he’s smelling something bad. A real cheerful, optimistic, attractive candidate. The perpetual hangdog expression is a real winner.

130 posted on 11/19/2007 5:26:53 PM PST by WestSylvanian
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To: napscoordinator
The latest gallup poll ended 11/14 so it did not have the NRLC endorsement in the numbers

Freeper discussion on the latest Gallup Poll
131 posted on 11/19/2007 6:39:45 PM PST by Fred (The Democrat Party is the Nadir of Nilhilism)
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To: Greg F

True as a definition goes. You are correct. But, we could actually win the election and still have an opening for conservative agendas depending on the ticket: Mitt, Rudy , even John would have to pick a conservative to have a chance at holding the South. In reality, only Rudy could be the only guy to pull that off. John has tricked the BASE too long. Mitt is an OK guy, good on economics but national security: who knows? Rudy is at best a moderate, whatever that is. But, he could win. Hil would be in trouble in many blue and purple states and if Rudy picked a S.conser or W. conserv for the VP, he could edge her out. Anybody but a Dem for me, my friend.

132 posted on 11/19/2007 8:00:12 PM PST by phillyfanatic
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To: ejonesie22
"He has had one wife" You guys keep bringing that up. Do you have a problem with those of us who have been married more than once?

No problem per se. We just know that any little personal item will be meat for the grinder by the Democrats & lib-media especially when gay marriage comes up, as if they have a hoot n holler to do with one another, but there ya go. It will be used, valid or not, to lob a hypocrisy charge. Dems will do anything to win. We also know that a personal life example that is a bit better than the Clintons wouldn't hurt.

133 posted on 11/19/2007 9:42:37 PM PST by WOSG (Pro-life, pro-family, pro-freedom, pro-strong defense, pro-GWOT, pro-capitalism, pro-US-sovereignty)
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Maybe so, but not at the expense of conservatism.

Also I think Fred’s situation has been above reproach. Divorce is common now, and since there has been no sign of infidelity on Thompson’s part, he stands head and shoulders above the Clintons.

134 posted on 11/19/2007 9:58:48 PM PST by ejonesie22 (ROMNEY HOCKS! (hey, he's spent a lot of his own cash so far...))
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To: ejonesie22
So everyone who has been divorced is suspect and not fit for office.

Yes to the first part, and no to the second. It has to be considered as part of the overall package. A person does not get a pass from me for lying under oath - however I do believe in redemption.

I have a serious problem with folks that have multiple marriages. One divorce can be a result of bad judgement...multiple divorces indicate bad character.

135 posted on 11/20/2007 4:55:09 AM PST by Retired COB (Still mad about Campaign Finance Reform)
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To: ejonesie22

Actually I am. Fred is younger than Reagan at the sametime in this game and Reagan did quite well...

Oh come on. Ronald Reagan looked like Mitt Romney. Youthful and energetic. Nobody would have thought Ronald Reagan looked old. Horrible comparison if you want your point to be taken.

136 posted on 11/20/2007 5:00:42 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: Retired COB
Ok, so when one is divorced they lied under oath. I can see that to some degree I guess. Indeed I did not lie about my oath, I took it in all seriousness. My ex wife was the one with the issues after the fact, so I was left with limited choices. I don’t feel like I lied at all.

I wanted to explore this because of the topic (Fred) and the fact that it has never been said he cheated on his ex wife. So the divorce seems to be “legit” from a fidelity stand point (ie not the cause). He also seems quite happy and satisfied in his current marriage and blessed with two children

So I want to avoid the implication that Fred cheated and also the implication that divorcees are not fit for office.

Remember, Reagan too was twice married, and he worked out pretty could for our conservative cause. Not comparing the men but the circumstance.

137 posted on 11/20/2007 6:17:58 AM PST by ejonesie22 (ROMNEY HOCKS! (hey, he's spent a lot of his own cash so far...))
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To: napscoordinator

I think it is a solid comparison. Both men were in the same age group, both actors with presence and ability. Maybe Fred should get some Mitt hair, will that help? I often times find hair styles as the single most determining factor in my candidate.

Of course that would make him like Mitt as well, though only Fred’s hair would be fake...

138 posted on 11/20/2007 6:23:53 AM PST by ejonesie22 (ROMNEY HOCKS! (hey, he's spent a lot of his own cash so far...))
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To: Sun; 8mmMauser; Dante3; wagglebee

Ping. As if FV’s the only person hvg doubts about Fred. These are elected officials! The smearization of FV is officially OVER.

139 posted on 11/20/2007 8:00:26 AM PST by floriduh voter (Terri Schindler Schiavo unwillingly gave her life to become a debate question.)
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To: Greg F

bttt. You are on the right track. No flip flopping in your politics.

140 posted on 11/20/2007 8:02:59 AM PST by floriduh voter (Terri Schindler Schiavo unwillingly gave her life to become a debate question.)
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