Romney's campaign denied it had any knowledge of a Web site critical of Thompson.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is distancing itself from a Web site that is critical of one of his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.
The website, www.phonyfred.org, was live Monday, but was taken down shortly after a reporter from The Washington Post called the Romney campaign to inquire about its connection to one of its campaign advisers, the newspaper reported on its Web site.
The Post established a link between the site and Romney’s top South Carolina political adviser Warren Tompkins. Screen grabs of the site captured by the Post before it was taken down show a banner headline describing the Tennessee Republican as “Phony Fred.” Subcategories are titled: “Hollywood Fred”; “Washington Fred”; “Pimp Fred”; and “McCain Fred.” The latter is an apparent reference to Thompson’s friendship with Arizona Sen. John McCain. While McCain is one of his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, Thompson backed the Arizona senator’s presidential bid in 2000.
Kevin Madden, Romney’s spokesman, told CNN that the site “has no direct affiliation to our campaign, and we had no knowledge of its development.”
“We discovered it was created by an individual who works at an internet firm, who parked the site temporarily on the company server space of a firm whose financial partner is a consultant to the campaign,” Madden said.
The consultant referred to by Madden is Tompkins.
Thompson spokesman Todd Harris deferred any comment on the matter Tuesday, because he said it is the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But Harris added, “We will have plenty more to say about this tomorrow. “
- CNN Political Ticker Producer Xuan Thai