January 19th, 2008
09:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Fred Thompson weighs options

Will Fred Thompson stay in the presidential race? (Photo Credit: AP)

(CNN) - After a weak showing in the South Carolina primary, Fred Thompson gave a wistful speech to supporters, telling them "we'll always stand strong together."

Thompson had staked his campaign on a strong finish in the Republican primary here.

While he remains in the race, two sources told CNN that "it was abundantly evident to all of us" that the bar was a win or a very competitive second place in South Carolina to continue to be viable in the GOP presidential race.

Thompson has no public schedule Sunday, and is planning to consult with campaign manager Bill Lacy and other top advisers about the next move.

"We are not blind to the obvious," said one senior campaign adviser.

But, given the muddled course of the Republican race so far, both aides said Thompson and his advisers wanted to watch the results come in tonight before making a final decision.

Related video: Watch Thompson's S.C. concession speech

–CNN's John King, Candy Crowley, and Gloria Borger contributed to this report

Filed under: Fred Thompson
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. CranialRectalLoopback

    Mike from Atlanta, you're an idiot. How can the guy who was mayor during 9/11 prevent another 9/11? He had 8 years to prepare the city for 9/11, and he failed.

    January 20, 2008 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  2. Richard


    January 20, 2008 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  3. Jared C.- in Korea

    Mitt will surprise the nation when he takes Florida. He is the man. He has the experience, leadership, and morals our country needs. He will be the nominee. We support you overseas.
    Go Romney!
    Thompson will endorse Romney very soon. Watch for it!

    Romney/Thompson 2008!

    January 20, 2008 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  4. Tim, Minnesota

    Fred, Send your people over to Ron Paul's camp

    January 20, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  5. Susan

    Please don't give up! We need you!!!!!

    January 20, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  6. Dave, Houston, TX

    The late-night talk show hosts and comedians and impressionists are going to be pretty sad about Fred's inevitable departure! He's just about the easiest candidate to impersonate (one would do well to drag out an old Deputy Dawg voice), and his penchant for laziness and perpetual fatigue make easy targets for one-liners.

    January 20, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  7. Mike VE

    I am voting for MITT ROMNEY!!!!!

    Mitt has not been in Washington for years like John McLaim, Clinton and Obama.

    Mitt has held executive positions as a Govenor and in private business, Obama, Clinton and John McLaim have only worked in Washington they do not have a clue about private business or the American economy.

    Mitt is a conservative that’s why the media hates him; John McLaim is a liberal just look who he associates with Kennedy, Feingold, the gang of 14, ect. and that’s why the media loves John McLaim.

    Mitt is against amnesty for illegal aliens; Obama, Clinton and John McLaim are for amnesty for illegal aliens.

    Mitt is for tax cuts, Obama, Clinton and John McLaim are against tax cuts and want to raise our taxes.

    Mitt is for conservative judges, Obama, Clinton and John McLaim are for liberal judges.

    Mitt wants to free Americans and American business from the federal government Obama, Clinton and John McLaim want big government and are responsible for big government we have.

    Mitt will fight to protect this country and build a strong military; Obama, Clinton and John McLaim stood by when al-Qaeda attacked our interests in the 1990 and the 1980s.

    Mitt Romney is the right change for America

    Vote for Mitt!!!

    January 20, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  8. Mrjimbo, TX

    Romney/Thompson in 08!

    January 20, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  9. just pixesl

    Is it just me or is Romney just a copy of Bush 2000? Running as the outsider, governor for a few years after private sector, wealthy son of prominent Republican (with family issues to match).

    Plus - I gotta say - blaming Washington? The Republicans had the White House and both houses of Congress for almost the entire past 7 years. So Romney's saying the Republicans (in Washington anyway) are the problem.

    January 20, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. Bill Lawtey Florida

    If you look at the delegate count, it does not make sense for Fred to quit. Rommney needs 1119 more delegates, McCain needs 1153, Huckabee needs 1162, Fred Thompson needs 1183, Paul needs 1185, Giuliani needs 1189, and Hunter needs 1190. Fred, needs to stay in because he’s the common sense conservative candidate even if he should not win Florida he needs to hang tough. There’s two more debates before Feb 5th. Fred, needs to come out fighting at the first question. He needs to stir up the media wasp nest, so that every stinging question during that debate will be the other canidates trying to defend their lame record. Phrased “Gov or Senator ???? Senator Thompson said this week that you are flippy flip flopper that would ruin this country and the republican party too boot. He says your record squishes like a pair of wet tennis shoes. And he has pointed out such this week. What do you say, blah, blah, blah, burp….Senator Thompson would you like to reply..”Thank You ….do you really think that this guy is going change the constitution, or do you think this guy going to defend the constitution. I don’t think so…this is a battle for the hearts and souls of our people.

    January 20, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. Anon

    So long old man... stick to acting.

    January 20, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  12. Cosmic Comedy Queen

    I never ever felt that Tompson has really been in the race, am I missing something?

    January 20, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Bob, Dallas

    I think that all the Republican candidates and there supporters are morons. Vote Rommny 2009

    January 20, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Terry, El Paso, TX

    How will Romney or any other Conservative candidate stimulate the economy? The only solution they have to any economic problem is:
    1. Eliminate the Death Tax on multi-million dollar inheritances
    2. Reduce taxes on the wealthiest wage earners
    3. Give tax breaks to multi-national corporations

    This is Reaganomics. It was also famously named "Voodoo Economics" by George Bush the elder during his campaign against Reagan in 1980. It is also nonsense. How many times are rank-and-file Conservatives going to fall for this?

    During the time that Reaganomics has been practiced, the American middle and lower classes have declined in the percentage of income that they earn. The top 20% is earning a much larger percentage of all American income.

    Total Wealth
    ------– 1983 ----- 2001
    Top 20% --- 83% ----- 91%
    Bottom 80% - 17% ----- 09%

    Now the wealthy complain that they pay too much in taxes. The top 25% pay 96% of all taxes. The wealthy only want two things: (1) a larger share of the national income because 91% is not enough for them and (2) a dramatic reduction in their taxes. Wouldn't that be nice?

    My household is in the top 25% of households in terms of income, and I fully expect to be in the top 20% before I retire in ten years. I pay more taxes than most people reading this post, but I have much more disposable income too. We don't even come close to worrying about the cost of prescriptions or gasoline. We are much more worried about the high cost of high definition TV sets, the outrageous cost of art supplies, the unamerican prices on digital cameras, and other fun items. The single mom living next door is really struggling to put her daughters through college (she and all three children have full time jobs). I presume she pays very little in taxes, and that is fine with me.

    Why should MY hard-earned money go to taxes go to help a few good, hard-working kids get through college? Because in America every kid who has some spunk should be able to work her way through college. Why should my hard-earned money go to pay the salaries of policemen who patrol the south side of town? I live in a safe neighborhood and I have never been the victim of a crime (except for some jewelry and cosmetics stolen by a maid)? Because the poor kids and decent families who live on the south side deserve protection from crime.

    When are you Conservatives going to realize that you are being sold down the river by your leadership?

    January 20, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Ralph Bogosian

    Did anyone tell Fred, that the writers are on strike and that this is a race for the Prez, and not another role? Adios, hasta la vista!

    January 20, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. NoMoreRinoPresidents

    McCain/Ted Kennedy Ticket.


    January 20, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. No lib for president!

    just pixes, what are you a nut! Romney has more things going for him to be a leader of this country than you hero Obama of Bilary does!

    If you want to have your taxes raised, told how to live, give up your way of life as you know it while both of those knucklheads live like they want to and scare you about "global warming" which is just another hoax to raise your taxes.

    30 years ago we weere told we were going into an ice age... by politicians!

    If you want all those things for yourself, fine, move to Mexico then, you lib freak!

    January 20, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. No lib for president!

    Fred, your a good man, but it's time to go. Good luck!

    January 20, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Patrick, Takoma Park MD

    Steven Hill was way better as the district attorney on L&O. I bet he would have done better as a presidential candidate too.

    January 20, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Doc Magnus

    To the Romneybots: I've looked Romney in the eyes, and saw his soul - was that of Valeri Putin's. This man is the ultimate phony. And I have actually looked him in the eyes, long before he started this campaign.

    January 20, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. Deborah Mulholand

    More jobs will come back to America with Governor Huckabee's FairTax. Under FairTax, the next time you spend $3 for a gallon of milk, your grocer will send 75 cents to Washington D.C., paying your taxes for you, and you will keep 100 percent of your paycheck. Money that is now hidden in tax shelters all over the world will come rushing back to the U.S.A. to create new jobs once our tax code is competitve again.

    January 20, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. Leslie C.

    Stay with us, Fred. You are the best candidate in the race. The media was starting to realize that just before South Carolina. Continue to show us your great strength!

    January 20, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Lillz

    Hillary's Hates CATS
    Romeny (your misspell not mine) JOBS etc etc and whatever other names you use

    Perhaps if you put as much effort into getting a job as you do whining on messageboards you'd be employed. Seriously, you spam boads with repeat posts and whine cause you are unemployed? If Hillary wants a crown you seem to think you are owed a job.

    January 20, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Casey, FL

    I agree with Bill Lawtey Florida. He needs to run in states with more true conservatives. Fred should stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday.

    January 20, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. srxman

    It always strikes me as odd when candidates campaign by touting their “conservative” credentials. Fred and the rest of the conservatives should drop out instead of openly bragging about being hateful, intolerant, war-mongers that want to take the country back to the stone ages. Conservatism is like a plague that does nothing to help the country; it only causes pain, hate and economic despair.
    Why do you think NYC, LA, Seattle, Boston,Dallas and many more major metropolitan areas always seem to thrive? Is it because of their low taxes, low cost of living and business friendly regulations? No, it’s because these areas are LIBERAL, and liberal areas attract bright, liberal minds that are the ones who develop tomorrow’s innovations.
    If you look “conservative” up in the dictionary, the definition will read some variation of “opposed to innovation or change”. What business is going to prosper if the employees in the area are “opposed to innovation or change”?
    So, all of you so-called “conservatives” who are sitting in your nice, warm house in front of your computer with the cordless laser mouse, your cordless digital phone and color printer beside you, thank a liberal. And the next time you or a loved one needs to go to the hospital for an MRI, or needs a defibrillator to get their heart beating again, or needs the medicine that keeps them alive, thank one of those awful liberals who have the forward thinking minds that dream up the innovations of tomorrow.

    Conservative = economic despair

    Liberal = economic prosperity

    January 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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