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Politics Today: Thompson has tough fight to stay in contest
Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | 1/7/8 | Blake Fontenay

Posted on 01/07/2008 12:12:29 PM PST by SmithL

Fred is not dead. But his campaign is hanging by a thread.

That pretty much sums up where Fred Thompson's bid for the White House stands.

Heading into last week's Iowa caucuses, many political observers were saying the former U.S. senator from Tennessee needed to at least finish third to remain in the hunt for the Republican nomination.

Thompson got that, narrowly beating out Sen. John McCain for the third-place spot by less than one percentage point.

That's the good news, such as it was. But the bad news is that attention has now shifted to Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, where Thompson isn't expected to do particularly well.

According to data released Friday by the Zogby International polling firm, Thompson was running in sixth place there, behind the other four major Republican contenders and long-shot hopeful Ron Paul.

Thompson's not polling well in Michigan, either, which will be the next event on the primary calendar. That leaves him in a situation where he'll almost have to win the Jan. 19 South Carolina primary in order to last until Feb. 5, when more than 20 states, including Tennessee, will hold their primaries.

Winning South Carolina may be an even tougher task for Thompson than it seemed a week ago.

(Excerpt) Read more at commercialappeal.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: fredthompson; nh2008; runfredrun
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Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who finished first in Iowa's Republican caucuses, is a fellow Southerner who espouses many of the same conservative principles that Thompson does.

John Zogby, president and chief executive officer of Zogby International, noted that Huckabee was already leading the polls in South Carolina, before picking up momentum with his Iowa win.

Zogby said he has a hard time envisioning a scenario in which Thompson can get himself back into contention.

"What can he do?" Zogby asked. "Short of praying for a room full of candidates to get struck by lightning, it's very hard."

Thompson was running in fifth place nationally last week, according to an average of the polls compiled on the Real Clear Politics Web site.

Of course, no candidate is mathematically eliminated from a presidential race after one or two or even five primaries.

However, money is the lifeblood of political campaigns.

Candidates can't be effective if they aren't able to raise enough money to run campaign organizations in the competitive primary states.

And the big money donors who finance those statewide campaign organizations tend to stop writing checks to candidates who can't get any traction early in the race.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, a Chattanooga Republican, is hopeful Thompson's campaign will have at least enough financial resources to keep fighting through the Feb. 5 primaries.

Thompson might have to drop out sooner than that if he can't quickly reverse his fortunes.

Which would be a rather surprising turn of events for Thompson, who last summer was being hailed by some Republicans as the second coming of Ronald Reagan.

John Ryder, a local Republican activist, believes those lofty early expectations are part of what has hurt Thompson so far.

When Thompson got into the race, some Republicans were expecting him to blow away the rest of the field with a commanding media presence.

"These (other challengers) are strong men in their own right," Ryder said. "They didn't just melt away."

Also, Thompson waited until fall to get into the race, while most of his opponents began campaigning months earlier.

Consequently, although many Republicans might warm to Thompson's limited-government philosophy, he hasn't really had enough time to explain his beliefs, Ryder said.

Wamp said Thompson, unlike the other candidates, was drafted to run. And, he said, Thompson hasn't yet demonstrated the kind of fire in his belly many people expect from a presidential candidate.

"The one thing that hasn't happened is that he hasn't really convinced people he wants to be president," Wamp said. "That's very important. That's the only thing that's been missing from his campaign."

Ryder believes Thompson could have one advantage if he can avoid being eliminated during the early primary contests and fight to the end: If the Republicans go to their convention without any candidate winning the majority of the delegates, Ryder said Thompson might emerge as a consensus choice because he has fewer perceived negatives than the other top contenders.

The Republican National Convention won't begin until Sept. 1, though, which is an eternity away in politics. If Thompson has any hopes of prevailing under that type of scenario, he'll first have to figure out how to survive the month of January.

Politics Today aims to provide depth and perspective on political happenings in Memphis and the Mid-South. It runs on the Comment page every Monday.

1 posted on 01/07/2008 12:12:29 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Zzzzzz...

We’ll see in March when it actually counts. Iowa and NH mean very little other than tv time.


2 posted on 01/07/2008 12:15:45 PM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: SmithL
If the Republicans go to their convention without any candidate winning the majority of the delegates, Ryder said Thompson might emerge as a consensus choice because he has fewer perceived negatives than the other top contenders. This is the fight for Fred. If McCain wins New Hampshire, Romney is in trouble. If Fred can win in South Carolina and gather momentum heading into Super Tuesday, and do well in the south/midwest/mountains, he can gather as many as 500-600 delegates. Giuliani, McCain, Romney, even Huckster will all be grabbing delegates themselves in their strongholds. If this goes to the convention and everybody has 500 or so delegates (and Fred has more than Mitt), Fred is the winner!!!
3 posted on 01/07/2008 12:19:02 PM PST by Onerom99
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To: SmithL

Winning every debate and propounding solid Conservative principles will pay off. This primary is going to Conference anyway.


4 posted on 01/07/2008 12:19:12 PM PST by agere_contra (Do not confuse the wealth of nations with the wealth of government - FDT)
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To: SmithL

People other than us politics junkies are just now starting to pay attention.


5 posted on 01/07/2008 12:22:22 PM PST by cripplecreek (Only one consistent conservative in this race and his name is Hunter.)
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To: SmithL

Winning every debate and propounding solid Conservative principles will pay off. This primary is going to Conference anyway.


6 posted on 01/07/2008 12:22:53 PM PST by agere_contra (Do not confuse the wealth of nations with the wealth of government - FDT)
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To: SmithL
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who finished first in Iowa's Republican caucuses, is a fellow Southerner who espouses many of the same conservative principles that Thompson does.

LOL.

7 posted on 01/07/2008 12:23:06 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: SmithL

It’s amazing the amount of ink they spill about Fred not being competitive...


8 posted on 01/07/2008 12:26:25 PM PST by ECM (Government is a make-work program for lawyers.)
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To: SmithL

A brokered convention....

Hum....

Heh heh, always have a plan B...


9 posted on 01/07/2008 12:28:12 PM PST by ejonesie22 (In America all people have a right to be wrong, some just exercise it a bit much...)
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To: ECM

Third place in Iowa is competitive, 4th or 5th place in New Hampshire will not be.


10 posted on 01/07/2008 12:28:12 PM PST by trumandogz (Hunter Thompson 2008)
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To: SmithL

No mention that Fred came in second in Wyoming. Or that Duncan Hunter came in third. What a goofy reporting process there is. The reporters see only what other reporters tell them they should be seeing.


11 posted on 01/07/2008 12:37:42 PM PST by Greg F (Duncan Hunter is a good man.)
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To: All; SmithL
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who finished first in Iowa's Republican caucuses, is a fellow Southerner who espouses many of the same conservative principles that Thompson does.

Okay. But only when it suits the audience he's pandering toward. I heard Huckabee on Hannity the other day...talking about the tenth amendment, lower taxes, limited government, reducing spending, being tough regarding what our foreign policy should be...I thought I was hearing things. This is the same guy who railed against CEO pay, called the CFG the Club for Greed, thinks it's a good idea to implement smoking bans in restaurants and bars, would give children of illegals tuition rates at public subsidized higher education institutions that are on par with a legal resident, and has a record of supporting the raising taxes during a period of time where he governed a state. But that's not all, he bad-mouthed our current foreign policy in an interview.

I'm not trusting this guy! If he happens to get the Party's nomination -- I hope that his campaign and support are decimated before then -- I will hold my nose very tightly from around August onward.

12 posted on 01/07/2008 12:39:38 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (Do class-warfare and disdain of laissez-faire have their places in today's GOP?)
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To: ModelBreaker

Thompson needs to take Huck OUT, NOW. Huck’s voters are closest to Thompson’s on positions. That’s his short term goal. Romney can wait, especially with McCain beating him in NH at the moment.

Thompson needs to dig deep on Huck and have a dossier on all the crap from his governorship down to the last detail, then start shouting it from the mountaintops.


13 posted on 01/07/2008 12:42:22 PM PST by Free Vulcan (Hey Iowans: the only opinions that matter are the ones in the room voting January 3rd.)
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To: LowCountryJoe

“espouses many of the same conservative principles that Thompson does” False premise. Not even close in fact.

Anyone who insults the Club for Growth has their head up their orifice. The M$M would love for Fred to be over with. No such luck for them.


14 posted on 01/07/2008 12:43:45 PM PST by RKV (He who has the guns makes the rules)
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To: Onerom99
If this goes to the convention and everybody has 500 or so delegates (and Fred has more than Mitt), Fred is the winner!!!

If that scenario pans out and Obama is the Democrat nominee, I will be really concerned. With this electorate and the ongoing MSM Obasm, that skinny bag of socialist helium will get himself elected.

15 posted on 01/07/2008 12:44:55 PM PST by outofstyle (My Ride's Here)
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To: SmithL

Bill Clinton got 3% in Iowa in 1992.

Fred Thompson got 13%. ‘Nuff said.


16 posted on 01/07/2008 12:44:59 PM PST by Teacher317 (Eta kuram na smekh)
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To: Free Vulcan

You hit the nail on the head. I do NOT trust Huckabee for some reason. I don’t know why, but I don’t. One of those things you can’t “quite put your finger on”.


17 posted on 01/07/2008 12:46:27 PM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: LowCountryJoe

I heard the Huckster mention limited government and local control over things like schools as well. Either he is not understanding that limited and decentralized government are the oposite from the centralized federal social, health and educational programs he touts or he is playing the public as a sucker. I think he knows that these are fiscal conservative stands and he mouths the words but his record shows he does not walk the walk.


18 posted on 01/07/2008 12:47:55 PM PST by marsh2
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To: Teacher317
Bill Clinton got 3% in Iowa in 1992.

Fred Thompson got 13%. ‘Nuff said.

Bill Clinton finished a strong second in NH. If Fred does that, then "nuff said."

19 posted on 01/07/2008 12:50:28 PM PST by outofstyle (My Ride's Here)
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To: Free Vulcan
FT need not dig deep for a dossier on Huck.

Huck is RUNNING straight out as an economic populist using liberal parlance.

He is RUNNING a campaign on CHANGING the Republican Party.

FT must REPEAT Huff's platform where ever he goes, not get in the weeds about numbers.

20 posted on 01/07/2008 12:50:35 PM PST by roses of sharon
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To: SmithL

Since midnight last night, Fred has gain 218 friends on MySpace. That’s kinda a big deal.


21 posted on 01/07/2008 12:51:16 PM PST by rintense (Thompson / Hunter 2008!)
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To: Rick.Donaldson
I do NOT trust Huckabee for some reason. I don’t know why, but I don’t. One of those things you can’t “quite put your finger on”.

Could it be that he's as fake as it is asserted that Romney is? Granted, Romney comes off as easy as a three-sizes-too-big pair of plastic flip-flops, but Huckabee makes Eddie Haskell come off as an amature snow-job artist.

22 posted on 01/07/2008 12:53:54 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (Do class-warfare and disdain of laissez-faire have their places in today's GOP?)
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To: SmithL
The arab says Fred has no chance... but is polling above mcinsane in SC... second in delegates but Fred has no chance and mcinsane does. No sale... total BS on toast.

LLS

23 posted on 01/07/2008 12:54:54 PM PST by LibLieSlayer (Support America, Kill terrorists, Destroy dims and vote Fred!)
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To: ModelBreaker

‘Bout peed myself on that one!

LLS


24 posted on 01/07/2008 12:55:54 PM PST by LibLieSlayer (Support America, Kill terrorists, Destroy dims and vote Fred!)
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: SmithL

~snip~

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who finished first in Iowa’s Republican caucuses, is a fellow Southerner who espouses many of the same conservative principles that Thompson does.

~snip~

The only things Thompson and Huckabee share in common is they’re both running for the Republican nomination for president.


26 posted on 01/07/2008 12:58:54 PM PST by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: outofstyle

NH liberal beyond liberlism... NH means nothing in the Conservative world... beyond it’s paltry delegate count.

LLS


27 posted on 01/07/2008 12:59:10 PM PST by LibLieSlayer (Support America, Kill terrorists, Destroy dims and vote Fred!)
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To: Greg F

Wyoming is fly over country to the msm. They don’t count in their minds.


28 posted on 01/07/2008 12:59:50 PM PST by Parley Baer
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To: LowCountryJoe

I never thought I would find a smoother flim-flam artist running in the Republican primary as Romney. Huckabee has proven that incorrect. Their styles may differ, but they are both “disguising” their past.


29 posted on 01/07/2008 1:01:07 PM PST by Ingtar (The LDS problem that Romney is facing is not his religion, but his recent Liberal Definitive Stands.)
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To: outofstyle
Bill Clinton finished a strong second in NH. If Fred does that, then "nuff said."

Please show the rest of us with the historical data from past elections how the pattern you state guarantees any of the candidates that they are either viable or will win the election.
30 posted on 01/07/2008 1:04:42 PM PST by SoConPubbie
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To: LowCountryJoe

I don’t know. Might be it. Over my life I’ve come to listen to that “inner voice” that says “DON’T DO THAT!”

When I meet someone or watch them for the first time speaking (either TV or in person) I can and do generally get a ‘feeling’ about them. I remember Bill Clinton giving me that ‘feeling’ when he was being interviewed on TV during the campaigns before he went on to beat Bush. There was a particular thing that caught my ear, about “Drug addicts”. I don’t remember the precise exchange but something he said sounded good at the time, like “he wasn’t for giving drug addicts help” - and I knew he was lying. Later I found out he was helping a brother who was a drug addict or something along those lines. Anyway, it’s been to many years to remember the exact details, but the VOICE said “He’s lying”.

I get the same thing about Huckabee and I know very little about his background or positions (I know MUCH more about Ron Paul for instance, and I’d not vote for him on a BET).

I like Hunter and Thompson and I’ve met Thompson once, long ago when he was much younger and I remember him as coming across as a real person, no fake, and very genuine. I can’t say that about the rest of them at all.

I have HEARD stories about Hillary from people inside the WH whom I know well, and she’s someone to avoid like a terrible disease. She’s bad for America. Period.

But, Huckabee comes across to me as not-so-genuine, and he may indeed be a liar, I don’t know that for sure, but he comes across as someone to NOT TRUST. Thus, I listen to the voice.


31 posted on 01/07/2008 1:04:55 PM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: Free Vulcan
Thompson needs to take Huck OUT, NOW. Huck’s voters are closest to Thompson’s on positions.

Interesting. I would regard Huckabee and Thompson as about as far apart as two candidates can be in the race (Hunter excluded). They agree on some social issues (although Huckabee appears to be a weak sister on school choice) but Thompson is a constitutional federalist. Huckabee shows no understanding of that idea. I lean to Thompson; but I lean strongly against Huckabee.

32 posted on 01/07/2008 1:06:22 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: roses of sharon

“FT need not dig deep for a dossier on Huck.
Huck is RUNNING straight out as an economic populist using liberal parlance.
He is RUNNING a campaign on CHANGING the Republican Party.
FT must REPEAT Huff’s platform where ever he goes, not get in the weeds about numbers.”

Like you said Huckabee is not hiding his message. He’s running as a change candidate within the GOP, and like it or not, he’s getting traction. So someone somewhere is impressed.


33 posted on 01/07/2008 1:08:09 PM PST by snarkybob (')
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To: ModelBreaker

I think most of Huck’s voters are suckered. Once he’s outed I think they’d head for Thompson v. Romney.


34 posted on 01/07/2008 1:09:40 PM PST by Free Vulcan (Hey Iowans: the only opinions that matter are the ones in the room voting January 3rd.)
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To: SmithL
Memphis should be the heart of Thompson country. I have seen one bumper sticker, and don’t know a single soul who is planning on voting for him in the primaries.

Fred Smith endorsed McCain very early, if that means anything.

35 posted on 01/07/2008 1:12:20 PM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: ejonesie22

What have I been saying,,,,,,,,,,,


36 posted on 01/07/2008 1:14:33 PM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: snarkybob
Exactly, like I have said for years, and years.

This board complains about big spending Republicans when they need to look at their fellow Americans who do not even behave as Americans anymore, and elect these men.

They are completely dependent on government, becoming wards of the State, literally and emotionally.

To change it, will take much grass-root work in the States, not calling DC and complaining.

37 posted on 01/07/2008 1:15:44 PM PST by roses of sharon
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To: Free Vulcan
Forget it! It isn’t going to happen!

Fred doesn’t want it as bad as Huckabee.

38 posted on 01/07/2008 1:16:15 PM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: Coldwater Creek

I think the more someone “wants to be President” the LESS we should want to vote for them. Washington was PRESSED to the position.

Thompson had to be begged by literally thousands of us to “join up”.

He’s the man.


39 posted on 01/07/2008 1:21:35 PM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SmithL

Fred’s wife wants him to be President, I’m not so sure Fred does.


40 posted on 01/07/2008 1:24:03 PM PST by HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath (Christ's Kingdom on Earth is the answer. What is your question?)
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To: Rick.Donaldson

“I think the more someone “wants to be President” the LESS we should want to vote for them. Washington was PRESSED to the position.
Thompson had to be begged by literally thousands of us to “join up”.
He’s the man.”

JMO but playing hard to get doesn’t make a candidate anymore qualified for the job. FDT can still pull it out, but it’s a long shot. I still don’t understand what happened to his numbers...he fell right off the chart.


41 posted on 01/07/2008 1:25:43 PM PST by snarkybob (')
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To: SoConPubbie
I was replying to Teacher317 post #16. I was being mildly sarcastic.
42 posted on 01/07/2008 1:32:28 PM PST by outofstyle (My Ride's Here)
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To: snarkybob

. I still don’t understand what happened to his numbers...he fell right off the chart.

What numbers? LOL Polls are insipid and mostly useless. Don’t pay attention to numbers when picking a candidate. Pay attention to the MAN (or woman) and their message. People who listen to polls are lazy and mostly illiterate. :) (Not you, because you’re obviously not choosing a candidate based on numbers)


43 posted on 01/07/2008 1:32:38 PM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: HisKingdomWillAbolishSinDeath

I would like to see Fred’s wife as First Lady too... (ok, NOW you know my reasons for voting for him!) j/k


44 posted on 01/07/2008 1:33:28 PM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SmithL
Rasmussen had NH as more or less a dead heat.

They don't know any more than we do.

I'd prefer it, if Fred were comfortably in the lead, but I'm not disappointed with his current positioning. The only thing that worries me is that the MSM is studiously ignoring him.

45 posted on 01/07/2008 1:34:44 PM PST by wbill
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To: trumandogz
Third place in Iowa is competitive, 4th or 5th place in New Hampshire will not be.

Because we all know how representative New Hampshire is of the rest of the country?

These early primaries really don't mean a lot. The media hypes them for the sake of ratings, and there are some things that can be learned from them, but doing bad in a couple early primaries that account for relatively few delegates doesn't mean a candidate isn't viable.

If a candidate can't find a solid base of support from somewhere they are in trouble, so Thompson does need to do reasonably well in South Carolina, but he doesn't need to do well in New Hampshire, and never really expected that he would.

46 posted on 01/07/2008 1:36:02 PM PST by untrained skeptic
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To: Free Vulcan

“Thompson needs to take Huck OUT, NOW.”

Not now, but Wednesday, after Huckster finishes what he started and chops off Romney’s other leg. Then it’s time for Fred to take this bozo down.


47 posted on 01/07/2008 1:40:04 PM PST by Pittsburgher (Fred: the elephant in the room)
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To: Rick.Donaldson

“What numbers? LOL Polls are insipid and mostly useless. Don’t pay attention to numbers when picking a candidate. Pay attention to the MAN (or woman) and their message. People who listen to polls are lazy and mostly illiterate. :) (Not you, because you’re obviously not choosing a candidate based on numbers)”

Sorry to disagree with you, but I think the polls while not 100% accurate, do in fact show trends. Fred entered with great numbers, polling 2nd in national polls(national polls don’t mean much in a primary, but again point out trends) Fred was trending down in Iowa, and finished in a virtual tie with McCain who didn’t seriously contest Iowa.He’s now polling 3rd or 4th. As I said he can still win, but his window is closing rather quickly.


48 posted on 01/07/2008 1:44:16 PM PST by snarkybob (')
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To: untrained skeptic

“These early primaries really don’t mean a lot. The media hypes them for the sake of ratings, and there are some things that can be learned from them, but doing bad in a couple early primaries that account for relatively few delegates doesn’t mean a candidate isn’t viable.”

I keep reading here that the early primaries don’t matter. If they didn’t matter, nobody would contest them. They matter because of the momentum to be gained or lost, and the fund raising opportunities that go with winning. Rudy decided to skip the early contests and try to get all his delegates after Fl. Fred seemed to be taking that same strategy, but then with 3 weeks left before Iowa, decided to contest it. His 3rd place finish in a virtual tie with McCain, while certainly not the kiss of death, isn’t really much of a victory either. It gets Fred a ticket to the next couple of primaries, but he has to win SC. A 3rd place finish in SC won’t get it done.


49 posted on 01/07/2008 1:50:23 PM PST by snarkybob (')
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To: Coldwater Creek

;-)

The game is afoot!


50 posted on 01/07/2008 2:03:19 PM PST by ejonesie22 (In America all people have a right to be wrong, some just exercise it a bit much...)
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