Last night he kicked off a grueling, jam-packed two-week tour of Iowa, hitting just about every major city and plenty of cow-towns in the Hawkeye state. Did you hear about this on your news last night? The only place I saw this is right here on FR.
I met Fred and heard him up close and personal. Those that say he has no "fire in the belly" are horses' ashes.
Vis a vis the more loud GOP candidates, Fred does a lot of people-to-people campaigning, unheralded and under the media's liberal radar.
Let's see how he does in Iowa where he has never been expected to finish in the top two or three spots...and there are little expectations now.
Many folks may be surprised if he ends up in one of the top positions.
But after a sluggish start, Thompson has sensed an opening in Iowa, and he's moving decisively to exploit it. The opening arises from a combination of Romney's changes of position on social issues and Huckabee's stumbles on foreign-policy questions and immigration.
After his winning performance in the Des Moines Register's debate, Thompson has embarked on a lengthy bus tour of the state. During these final days, his campaign says he'll hold events in 50 communities and will visit 54 of the 99 counties.
On Monday, he picked up the surprise endorsement of Congressman Steve King. Of all the endorsements flying around these days, that one could move the most numbers. It sends a powerful signal from one of Iowa's most conservative leaders to others on the right around the state: We've now got a horse we can ride.
Many folks may be surprised if he ends up in one of the top positions.”
Perhaps, and hopefully, you are right and his retail politicking will pay off. That would be a pleasant surprise to me.
Now, that said, if that is the sort of effort it will take to turn it around elsewhere, then even an impressive silver in Iowa will rapidly become irrelevant.
With regards to how intense his campaign has been, though we are glad about his Iowa effort, did you happen to see the story about the Florida GOP bigwig gathering where every campaign shelled out $100,000 (!) to speak? All of the other candidates tried to make the most of the evening and spoke at length. Thompson, however, spoke for something like a minute and sat down. Basically he not only flushed that money down the toilet he rather dramatically underwhelmed some important GOP grassroots leaders in an important early state. Now I’m not crazy about the fire in the belly metaphor, either, but there is some sort of problem with a campaign that approaches important moments with that attitude, call it what you will.
But, though, back to your point. If his retail politics pays off in Iowa, then maybe his campaign will have found some life and he will stay in the race for a while. That would be nice, for sure.
One other point.
If Thompson ends up edging out Romney, then, wow, that campaign is DONE. I think then NH is in play and that would be interesting, b/c Huckabee isn’t a strong factor there as of now.
In any event, if you are right, it will make things more interesting.