September 12th, 2007
08:27 AM ET
7 years ago

Thompson camp accuses rival of a 'cover-up'

Obama said he doesn't think the Iraq hearing should have been held around 9/11.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The race for the Republican presidential nomination just got uglier.

A spokesman for Fred Thompson’s presidential bid accused GOP rival Mitt Romney’s campaign of a “cover-up” Tuesday over a now defunct Web site, which portrayed the former Tennessee senator in an unflattering manner and referred to him as “phony.” The Web site, www.phonyfred.org, was created by Wes Donehue, an associate consultant and vice president of the firm Tompkins, Thompson, and Sullivan. A principal of the firm – Warren Tompkins – is a paid advisor to Romney’s presidential campaign.

"Today's half-baked cover-up attempt by the Romney campaign does not even pass the laugh test,” Todd Harris, Thompson’s communications director, said in a prepared statement.

Earlier in the day, Harris indicated the campaign would wait until the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks passed before commenting on the matter. A few hours later he issued the statement.

“The Romney campaign has paid Warren Tompkins and his various firms hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Harris said.

“Wesley Donehue works for Tompkins and is listed on Tompkins' own Web page as an associate of the firm.”

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden denied that the campaign had any knowledge about www.phonyfred.org.

"We had no knowledge of the development or administration of this site,” Madden said in a statement to CNN. “We also disapprove of the site and have made it very clear that the site does not have an affiliation with our campaign."

Madden also questioned why the Thompson campaign would issue such a sharp attack on a day when politics is traditionally set aside.

“Today is a day of remembrance, and should be a day without political statements or attacks on opposing campaigns,” Madden said. “Our campaign is focused on running a campaign about issues that are important to the American people.”

– CNN Political Ticker Producer Xuan Thai


Filed under: Fred Thompson • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Shawn Kansas City MO

    to be quite honest, fred is not only hard to look at, physically, but is a little too conservative for this ever evolving, modern society. why would anyone vote for a president who would deny any group of individuals their human rights? your children could be a memeber of this community, how does that make you feel?

    September 11, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Steve, Denver, CO

    "...on a day when politics is traditionally set aside."

    How can you make this claim when the Sept. 11 attacks happened only six years ago? Is five years enough to establish a tradition?

    Besides, let's not pretend Congress' Sept. 11 commemoration resolution and other events today aren't political in nature. They are. Nobody's setting aside politics for a second.

    September 11, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Hale Crowen, Denver, CO.

    I, too don't know ANYONE who has voted in a poll of this type ...
    but I am not surprised that someone so reminiscent of Ronald Reagan is pulling away the Republican favor.

    September 11, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. RA The Framing Wizard LV, NV

    The crap is starting and his headed straight for the fan. Just like American counted on for all presidential elections. Have no fear the crap is here! Hear goes the mud slinging is on.

    September 11, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    B-actor calls out Cult Christian for dirty tricks making fun of his well-known lightweightness, gains ground on Sodom & Gomorrah Mayor Rudy. But Rudy can beat her and Fred can't. Tread carefully Repellicans.

    September 11, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Will the real Fred stand up?

    How many other low-life things will Fred do? Take your hat off Fred and show some respect. It's 9/11.

    Romney's camp showed a clear disavowal and disapproval of the site.

    September 11, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. Rennie Dallas, TX

    One day he says they wait to comment, the next day, they go ahead and comment.

    Ron Paul is the only guy who rises above all of this hogwash & drama.

    September 11, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Michael, Seattle WA

    once again cnn is covering the wrong part of the story.

    were any of the accusations on phonyfred.org true? who cares who created the site if the information was true.

    September 11, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. F.T Doylestown,Pa

    Looks like Thompson is REALLY In the RACE! GOOD BOY! I Like a guy that's Not afaird to tell some one off when they are playing Dirty Pool!

    September 11, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. MARK, DEKALB, IL

    Romney continues to avoid a true discussion of when his current image/presentation deviates from his history/previous presentation. One of the issues that I am concerned with is "integrity." I don't believe this is a strength of Mitt's.

    September 11, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. Christian, Tampa FL

    So much for having enough respect for the September 11 anniversary. Thompson is more immature and adolescent than the rest of them.

    September 11, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    Fred Thompson's people better back up these claims with facts or he's sunk. If he does than Romney is sunk. Either way this is good for the only good candidate on either side, Rudy Giuliani. Fight, fight, fight!

    September 11, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. Jeff Old Bridge,NJ

    In the first place Fred Thompsen IS a phoney.This deferral of comment until after today's 9/11 cermonies are over are as insincere as everything else his campaign has ever commented on,even with a 'no comment'.That's just a cheap political ploy all wrapped up in an American flag.
    Secondly it just proves that the Republicans have at least as much disunity as the Democrats.

    September 11, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. Arthur, Immokalee, Florida

    Talking about remembering the 9-11 victims, it's no surprise that many of those politicians only mention it just it weighs so much in the political scale. They would do anything, I mean anything to be on the news. What a shame!

    September 11, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. H. Walker, Jersey Cty, NJ

    like Mick Jagger would say "why are we fighting?"

    September 11, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. S. Richard, Olathe, KS

    I'm going to have to take Mitt's side on this one. From reading the original headlines, I thought this would be a major black eye for Romney's heretofore clean campaign. Upon further reading, however, I see that the campaign's link to the attack site is tenuous at best.
    Additionally, I agree with Mr. Madden about the 9/11 anniversary. Fred's campaign has probably hurt itself with this maneuver much more than if they had simply ignored the web site.

    September 11, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. Barry Shepherd Wasilla Alaska

    What I don't understand is why we are even having elections, Just let the Supreme Court appoint a president like they did in 2000. Democracy??? what a joke

    September 11, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  18. steel providence, ri

    Keep it up you 2 morons

    VOTE DEMOCRAT!

    September 11, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  19. josh, Chicago, IL

    "reminiscent of ronald reagan"?

    Are you KIDDING? Thompson is NO Reagan. Womanizing, and lazy does NOT = Presidential.

    September 11, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  20. JR, Wichita, KS

    Ask Rommey who Maronni is. Here is a person that doesn't believe in Christ and is running to be president of this God given country.

    September 11, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  21. Cathy Turtletown Tn

    Fred Fred Fred
    Playing Catch Up
    Story after story
    Well, I guess that's how you play the game. No matter what ya hear as long as ya hear about a candidate enough you'll vote for them. Right?
    I hope we are smarter than that by now. If not, according to all I see, we will elect Hillary since she just stays in the headlines. Now, that would be a real shame.

    September 11, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Well, to be fair, Kansas-person, Romney does believe in a god. Maybe isn't exactly not your God, but it is a god.

    September 11, 2007 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  23. DK

    I'd be much sooner to vote for someone who wasn't "god fearing" and I'm going to run as fast as possible from anyone who's name is mentioned in the same sentence as the name Reagan!!!!

    September 12, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  24. Ginny, Hoover, AL

    To one of the commentors: A lot of people don't believe in Christ, but believe in God. Mr. Romney does believe in Christ. The name of the church he is a member of is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a Christian AND believes in God as well. Please don't beat him over the head with his religion. We are all entitled to believe and worship as we wish. People have died for the the right and privilege to worship as they choose. Politics is politics and religion is religion. Let these candidates campaign and let's all vote for who we believe is the right person to lead our nation, the greatest nation on earth. God Bless America!

    September 12, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  25. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Romney is going down!!!!!! This country doesn't want a fraud as it's President!

    September 12, 2007 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
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