June 5th, 2007
09:58 PM ET
11 years ago

Thompson: Washington changed us

WASHINGTON (CNN) - "We didn't come up with new ideas," said former Gov. Tommy Thompson, when he was asked to name President Bush's biggest mistake over the past several years.

Thompson, who served as secretary of Health and Human Services during President Bush's first term, said, "We went to Washington to change Washington. Washington changed us."

He made his comments at CNN's Republican presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.

The former Wisconsin governor also criticized his party's spending habits saying, "If we're going to spend money foolishly, and as stupidly as the Democrats, the voters are going to vote for the professional spenders, the Democrats. Not the amateur spenders, the Republicans."

- CNN Political Researcher Xuan Thai

Filed under: Race to '08 • Tommy Thompson
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois

    President Bush has drastically hurt the Republican Party, and for the Republican Party's candidates to not acknowledge that fact would be devastating to the party. Thompson's acknowledgment and critic of the mistakes made by the Bush administration was justified.

    June 5, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. Dave, Naples, NY

    Yes Washington changes all of them. Only one candidate has kept his moral compass and the best interests of the American People in mind despite McCain's "it's the money that corrupts us" comment: Doctor Ron Paul! Ron Paul is the most honest man in Congress, and the only one who truly understands the seductiveness of power in Washington DC. Go Dr. Ron Paul!

    June 5, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  3. Mark G., Boothbay Maine

    It has never changed Ron Paul, and that is why he has my utmost admiration, as well as my vote and grassroots support.

    June 5, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. Bob, NY

    Thompson is anti freedom much like his good friend bus. I'll be voting for the only guy that cares about our country, and thats Ron Paul!

    June 5, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. Brett Huebner, Hillsboro, KS

    While Tommy Thompson may have gone overboard in calling the Dems "stupid", I felt he got the point across, shared by others there also, that 'spending' has been a problem with the Bush administration. Instead of 'tax and spend' liberals, they are 'cut taxes but still spend like the money's there' conservatives. And our record-sized current debt shows the results. If you're going to finance such a giant war, the money has to come from somewhere.

    June 5, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. Linda Roberts Madison Wisconsin

    It's embarrasing that Wisconsin voted Tommy Thompson to be governor for four terms. Yikes! 16 years of him. On one hand, it would be good for him to be elected president, as we Wisconsinites would get him out of our hair. But, boy would the country be in big trouble.

    Governor, you are no "Fighting Bob La Follette."

    June 5, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. bret, atl, GA

    if washington changed you, why in God's name would we put you BACK when we want YOU to change washington? Jeez, TAKE YOUR MEDS.

    June 5, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. Stephen, Madison WI

    If we agree that a"professional" is someone who draws a salary for their career, then Tommy's line is a bit puzzling. Elected straight into government after law school in 1966, he didn't really have a private sector job for almost 40 years (in 2005 after he left the Bush administration.)

    June 7, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Tom Campbell Blacksburg, SC

    Over two centuries ago, an infant nation founded on principles of individual liberty and a small, unobtrusive federal government that played no role in the lives of most citizens was in danger of ending. The Executive Branch had usurped powers not delegated to it, going so far as to prohibit, upon pain of imprisionment, criticism of the President and other government officials.

    A man, so soft-spoken and shy that few in attendance could hear his speeches from more than a few feet away, stepped up to challenge what he, and many other Americans, saw as a mortal threat to liberty and the first nation on Earth specifically dedicated to its preservation. The establishment press of the time villified this man with every epithet they could muster. He was given no chance to supplant the leaders who had taken the dark path away from the beacon of freedom.

    Yet, this man and his growing body of supporters took back the reins of power and once again set the nation along the path of its founding principles.

    Reach into your pocket and gaze at a lowly nickel coin. Upon its face you will see the visage of that man and the word "Liberty". That you still carry such a message in your pocket is the gift of the man whose face you see, for liberty was, indeed, almost lost in his day. Thank you, Thomas Jefferson.

    Even in this age of televised media, where image counts for more than substance, if there is to be any future for the sons and daughters of the revolution, do not disparage the soft-spoken man without pretense. Look behind the curtain-like masks placed before you, listen to the meaning of words and not their rhetorical flourish. Think of your children and the blinding innocence of the children at this nation's dawning. If you want your posterity to bask in that light, you have no choice but to support the only person in the current race, from either party, who truly deserves to sleep under the same roof as Jefferson-Ron Paul.

    June 7, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |