January 6th, 2008
02:31 PM ET
10 years ago

Thompson defends South Carolina strategy

Thompson is counting on a win is South Carolina

Thompson is counting on a win is South Carolina

(CNN) - Republican Fred Thompson defended his campaign strategy of conceding early voting contests to focus on southern states in a CNN Late Edition interview Sunday - but conceded the plan hinged on a fundraising boost to his cash-poor campaign.

“If we can raise the money sufficient to hold our own on television…we will win South Carolina and we will be in good shape,” Thompson told Wolf Blitzer. His campaign has struggled to stay competitive on the airwaves in recent weeks, and briefly went dark in Iowa in the days leading up to the state’s January 3 caucuses.

The former Tennessee senator is statistically tied for third, along with Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in most recent surveys of South Carolina GOP primary voters. Iowa winner and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is leading most polls, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is turning into a must-win for Thompson, who finished third in Iowa and is running last in New Hampshire. Last week, he was forced to deny reports he was planning to drop out of the race and support John McCain if he fared poorly in Hawkeye State voting.

”Everybody said that Rudy was inevitable, then Mitt was inevitable, now they are on to McCain, you know, everybody I would come in fourth in Iowa,” Thompson said Sunday. “I didn't, I came in third. So steadily…we are getting to be exactly where we wanted to be at this point.”

South Carolina's Republicans head to the polls January 19.

–CNN’s Jessica Rummel and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Fred Thompson • South Carolina
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Pete

    Go Obama! Never thought I would be this excited about politics!

    January 6, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. CJ

    Fred Thompson should have remained on Law and Order. I used to like watching the show, but now, after watching the debates, I find it extremely difficult to even like the show.

    January 6, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. schmaryahoo pizzakovsky

    Mitt Romney is a practising Mormon who grew up in a priviledged family and has been married to the same woman for (help me here, 35 – 40 years). And he is exceptionally smart, having graduated from the Harvard joint JD-MBA program . Neither he, nor any of his five healthy looking sons have ever been on active military service. As such one can assume that:

    he's never had a hangover
    he's never been drunk
    he's never sat on a plane going through nicotine withdrawl
    he's never been hungry (other than by choice)
    he's never snuck into the house at 2 am with the smell of cigarettes, whisky, or cheap perfume
    he's never had to worry about making a mortgage payment
    he's never had to lie on a job application and then worry about gettong caught
    he's never had a personal stake in the progress or outcome of a war
    he's never (fill in your choice)
    he's never (fill in your choice)
    he's never (fill in your choice)
    he's never (fill in your choice)
    and you wonder why voters don't identify with him; at least Dubya got the rehab vote.

    January 6, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Patty D.

    Thompson made a big mistake foregoing Iowa. His campaign has been lackluster from the start. Add the fact that he doesn't seem to have his heart in it have spelled doom for his campaign.

    January 6, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. EB Rideout, Georgia

    Why not wait until Nov. 3rd, Fred? The day before the election should be soon enough, and think of all the money you'll save.

    January 6, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. RobTN

    I understand you are trying to show some clever wit, but what kind of comment is that. Fred has won most of the debates. His southern drawl hurts him in the north. When he speaks, he's intellectually superior than all of the other Republican candidates on the issues and conservative policy.

    January 6, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Julia

    Well, if Fred doesn't get his head out of his butt and actually DO SOMETHING, he is history!

    January 6, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. stlpatriot

    yeah, Fred seems to scare people with his federalist attitude and common sense, i can understand why you wouldnt want to watch it CJ...

    GO FRED!!!

    January 6, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |


    January 6, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Madmax

    How shallow a person (CJ) that they only think know something from a TV show, let's hope people like that are not what will decide this Presidential election, as unfortunately, people like them, with obviously little education, are the ones whom head the mushroom cloud would land over first.

    Fred Thompson is the only true conservative in this race and one who has the only stated vision for social security, Military, Economy, and Illegals and yes Health Care.

    No One else has a vision only Yesterday's News....................

    January 6, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  11. Mike Bregan

    THis guy is another "actor" and a muti millionare, we don't need another ACTOR in the white house period! ALL these YO-YO'S talk about Health Care saying that middle class-poor- have to "buy in to it" while these people GET FREE HEALH CARE. They never say if anyone is out of work [but they all claim the everyone is working] MITT- McCain-RON PUAL[ who said that he is going to have to cut off 'intidulements'] LET HIM AND ALL OF THE OTHERS CUT OFF THEIR INTIDULEMENTS! also there is no such thing as an "REPUBLICAN-DEMACRAT-{LIBERTARIAN} DON'T INSULT MY PARTY, I'M A REGISTERED "LIBERTARIAN" STUPID'S.

    January 6, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Anyone who says that Fred's heart is not in the race, or that he lacks the "fire in the belly" necessary to run for the presidency, is an absolute moron. Thompson had over 50 campaign stops during the remaining three weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus. I don't know if its just me, but attending 3 or more campaign stops a day for three weeks suggests sufficient fire in the belly. For whatever reason – maybe because he didn't fly into Iowa on a winged unicorn after declaring his candidacy – Thompson has not been given a fair shake by anyone in the mainstream media. He's been consistently crapped on, and called lazy by everyone – including those evil conservative analysts over at the Fox News Network. In the last week alone, those retards over at the Politico came out with another hit piece on Thompson in which they claimed he would resign following a poor showing in Iowa. Thompson is still in the race, he will remain in the race, and when people finally see Huckabee and McCain for the rino's that they are, I have no doubt that Thompson (who has been the only candidate to consistently put substance over form) will become a force to be reckoned with in the primaries. Thank you and good night.

    January 6, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Thompson doesn't have enough brains to understand inflation. We already went through seven years of another idiot war criminal turning our dollar into dirt. If he were president,nine out of ten republicans would be riding horses to work. Hey,maybe that's a good thing. Teach you all a lesson.

    January 6, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Andrew Marfink


    O-of our

    January 6, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. Patty D.

    Well Ryan I call them as I see em! Thompson ducking out of Iowa hurt him and his chances. And I am definitely not a moron. The fact that your post is full of invective speaks volumes about you.

    January 6, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  16. asher

    Thompson's problem is that his canidacy is extremely unorthodox. You can say he had 50 events in 17 days. The problem is that in the prior 50 days, he only had 17 events. Huckabee out hustled Thompson in Iowa. He may be able to pull out the upset in SC, but he needs to be down there until the primary and seriously working the state.

    One thing he may have in his favor is that most of the spotlight for the next 1 week will either be on McCain or Romney. If McCain, Huckabee will try and put some time and resources into Michigan. That may give Thompson a little a bit of an opportunity.

    For all you Fred heads, you better donate and donate quickly. If the cash doesn't come in soon, he will be gone before the first SC vote is cast. Time is running out for Fred.

    January 6, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  17. Gane

    -GO GIRL, GO!!!!

    Dear Mrs Clinton,

    I do relate to you very much. I am a mechanical engineer who works with 99.9% guys.

    Oh boy, they can be sooo mean!

    Please, do not aloud them to intimidate you! You are very , very smart woman.

    I am Canadian. We are nor directly affected from american choice of President, but we care.

    I was watching the debate and judging on the merit. You girl, was on the TOP- well informed , articulate, on the point, charming...but I have some suggestions: (I wish I ware in your team)

    – Please pay attention that Mr.Obama very carefully listen what you are saying , make marks and then use the information paraphrased and presenting it "very knowledgably" (Plagiarism). Please , thy to talk after him.

    Bay the way, I really steak my ears out to hear something substantial from him; goes around, around... entertainer.

    – At the debate several time Obama kind of "bay the way" has mentioned the time presided G.Bush???!! Halloo? PLease , do not aloud him to do that. Only once you effectively reacted. May be you want to reconsider your position , there is nothing wrong to defend Clinton's era. Do not mess any opportunity.

    – Tell people : yes you are tough but the job is more than tough. Every day!

    – The only remark that I have from the debate evening was: you should be the last with your closing wards. It was Obama repeating your statement make it sound like his.

    – If you have a time and see the tape of that debate you will see a lot. Obama- black,white or pinkish is just ENTERTAINER .

    P.S. Every time spellchecking Obama there is suggestion to be change to Osama!!??

    Gane, Toronto< Canada

    January 7, 2008 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  18. Lame McCain

    McCain is Lame because he has no brain.

    His lame smart ass comments suck.

    He is getting almost as irritating as Hillary.

    January 7, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  19. ishok

    Fred Thompson can't win. The knock on him is that he is EXTREMELY LAZY .
    If that's not bad enough he is known here in Washington DC as a legendary WOMANIZER. Give this man 4 years in the White House and we'll be praying for a BUSH return.

    January 7, 2008 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  20. Sidney madsen

    Wow america is in worse shape than I thought. I take it from the comment at the top of this blog you are looking for a stupid drinking smoking liar who has been married 2 or 3 times or at least cheated on his wife whose ugly so he can identify with America. Call me crazy but I'm still looking for some one to lead this country who just might raise the bar. Since when is being smart honest wealthy sucessful and heck even good looking such a bad thing? I for one relate to it just fine. Oh yea and I guess we need to throw their religion out too, how about some one fat of mixed race whose just out of rehap been on welfare their whole life and then they can really relate to the world. What exactly is that going to get you....a warm fuzzy feeling all over because you've finally been understood.

    January 7, 2008 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  21. David

    I wish people would stop being so narrow minded when it comes to Fred Thompson. Just because he has appeared in movies and TV doesn't mean he isn't an extremely intelligent man. Fred has been an attorney his whole life and as a result, got roles on TV and in film based on his background. He was the senator for Tennessee for 8 years.

    Just listen to him speak and you'll understand that he's a no non-sense type of guy who has a very realistic outlook and knows what it takes to turn this country around.

    People need to stop assuming they know these candidates. Read up on them, watch them, study them...etc. Prime example is Barack Obama, yeah he looks likeable and has charisma..etc, but he knows very little when it comes to politics. He is no where ready to lead this country.

    January 7, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. beastofbourbon

    " full of sound and fury , signifying nothing "...........Fred will be only a footnote in the history of this campaign..............he is a dog barking at a passing automobile......I question the judgment of anyone who would support such a man for President , indeed I question the judgment of anyone who fears / thinks he has a chance to win.........................

    January 7, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Not being in a state that has had a primary or caucus yet, I can only see what the news says. I can't bring myself to believe that Thompson is a conservative. Well, okay he is enough of because someone thinks he is anti-abortion. I don't see him as moving enough to get going. If he had been polling well in the national polls like Giuliani, then my position would be differnt. There was so much build up to his entering the race, that when it happened with so little huplah, I am sure that most people just said, "Oh, what happened? Who is running?"

    January 7, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Shain

    Mike Huchabee will fall apart on Feb. 5th. John McCain will fall apart after South Carolina. Rudy will never get the nomination, no chance, he isnt a Republican, and Mitt Romney has proved he will say anything to get elected..just depends on what state he goes to. But he does have the money..that is a plus...leaving Fred Thompson...if he can win South Carolina come Feb. 5 he wins at least half the contests....he is the only real common man in the race. He has worked his way up through his entire life and had some doors opened up when he got there. He his the most practical for the nomination...dont count him out! The media doesnt like him because he doesn't play by their rules but if he can win South Carolina it is his. I have been around during enough elections to know people!

    January 7, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. ChasmGM

    C'mon folks. There is only one canidiate that says-it-like-it-is and has any typeof plan to improve things in the good 'ole usa – that candidate is Fred Thompson. His straight forward, no bs personality is what america needs. We need someone with "real" character to represent us. Not someone who will say anything to get elected. This man is the only candidate that will tell us the truth. He is not be a candidate that will say whatever will get him elected. This guy wouldn't even be running for president if it weren't for his country needing him. We need Fred to be our president.

    January 7, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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