August 18th, 2007
10:53 AM ET
14 years ago

Thompson: Roe 'bad law and bad medicine'

Watch CNN's John King interview Fred Thompson.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Likely Republican White House hopeful Fred Thompson told CNN Friday that he would work to overturn Roe v. Wade if elected president, and would push for a constitutional amendment that protects states from being forced to honor gay marriages performed in other states.

“I don’t think that one state ought to be able to pass a law requiring gay marriage or allowing gay marriage and have another state be required to follow along,” Thompson told CNN’s John King in an interview Friday.

Thompson added that the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion “was bad law and bad medicine.”

As for when he will jump into the race, the former Tennessee senator said "shortly."

“We are going to be getting in if we get in, and of course, we are in the testing the waters phase,” he said. “We’re going to be making a statement shortly that will cure all of that. But yeah, we’ll be in traditionally when people get in this race."

Thompson also said he believed he could enter the presidential race next month and still win the Iowa caucuses.

On the issue of Iraq, Thompson refused to provide a timeline for how much longer US forces would remain in the country under his administration, but said, “We need to make every effort to make sure that we don’t get run out of there with our tail between our legs before we’ve done the job of securing that place.”

Asked about critics who call him “too lazy” to put in the long hours necessary to run for president, Thompson said: “If I have critics in Washington it's not going to come as a surprise to me. I'll have more by the end of this campaign,” adding, “The proof’s in the pudding. I think that’s curable.”

- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King

Filed under: Fred Thompson
soundoff (535 Responses)
  1. John. Tacoma, WA

    You have to appreciate the moxey of a guy who can look you straight in the eye and openly advocate discrimination, undermining the US Constitution, and a return to the dark ages of medicine and civil rights. Only in a Republican America! And I thought "W" was a low as the right could go.

    August 17, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. patrick

    I wonder how many gay and lesbians are involved in the production of Law and Order and why he wasn't so persistent on the abortion issue when he was lobbying. This man is suite with no conviction. America we can do better!

    August 17, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Mark Bishop, Tampa, FL

    The Republican party was founded on the premises to give States more rights with less Federal intrusion. If he is the Republican candidate for President I am going to vote Democrat for the first time in my life (unless it is Hillary, then I am moving to Canada).

    August 17, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. ronnie m, Palm Desert CA

    did I say Fred as president would be "really bad new" ?? Let me rephrase that: Fred as pres. would be an unmitigated disaster for every human being on the planet!

    August 17, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Jim, Atlanta

    As a Democrat, I plead for the Republicans to nominate this pandering buffoon.

    The party of less government wants to tell everyone what they can or cannot do with their body.

    Time for your photo-op with Pat Robertson, Dr. Land and Dr. Dobson Freddie.

    Go Fred Go!!!

    August 17, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Scott Craig, St. Louis Mo.

    I really hope the American people are tired of an over bearing president whom oversteps his powers. In that light a vote for Fred is a vote for more of the same. Let the courts make law, congress pass legislation and the president handle the executive branch and the direction of the country.

    August 17, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. mike, fairfax, WV

    Earth to Liberals. The US Constitution does not protect murdering babies and homosexuality. If you are so enamored with the US Constitution, then why do insist on destroying the right to keep and bear arms, something that is actually constitutionally protected.

    August 17, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Thompson is no Jed Clampett-Hello Rudy!

    Rock oN!

    August 17, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Gordon, Toronto, Canada

    Sigh. He didn't say he'd "ban abortion", as your link indicated. The President doesn't have that authority, as anyone who has read your Constitution knows – apparently this doesn't include folks at Thompson said he'd work to overturn Roe V. Wade. By all means : throw it back to the states, and create an abortion growth industry in Canada and Mexico.

    August 17, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Allan G. Hanson Cameron Park, Ca.

    First his not commiting allows his free publicity on Law and Order. As soon as he stated his intentions all the segments of L.& O. in which he acts should have been pulled.
    He is not that good of an actor but his far right wing stance scares me.
    I think he is a joke. But then I thought Rush Limbaugh was a joke, until I found some take him seriously. I hope no one considers Fred seriously.

    August 17, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Beasley, Austin TX

    Misleading text in article ...
    overturn Roe v. Wade implies banning abortions.

    He's saying the Congress and the People of US should VOTE on this ... not the courts.

    I't very important that the people of the US have their say.

    Courts are too powerful and are making laws.

    August 17, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Tom Dawson, Pacific Palisades, Ca.

    Well, he's certainly sounding worse by the minute.

    August 17, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Ann Birmingham AL

    And to think that I was wondering and even concerned what Thompson getting into the race could mean for the Democratic Party's shot for the white House. What does Fred Thompson bring to the race and to his party’s chances? Obviously, he’s hoping to rely on the tried-and-true knee-jerk reaction votes of the extreme of the religious right, by using misinformation, bigotry and fear as his hot button sound byte issues. In other words, “Vote for me and we’ll show those “liberated” women and awful gays that were not having any of that!” Thanks, Fred. Now I can rest easy knowing that educated, reasonably minded, real people of both parties aren’t going buy that and let someone like you have the opportunity to take this country BACKWARDS. Thanks again! I’m relieved.

    August 17, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. jim, fayette, VA

    J.Miller, more qualified than the Democrat candidates. Let's see. Obama, a one term senator. Hillary, two term senator, but wife of former president. Not qualified at all. The best presidents tend to be governors, who have run an executive branch. Senators don't run anything. They are bought by lobbyists, and vote on legislation. Senators, by and large, are not qualified. Governors, or mayors of large cities, are the best executive heads.

    August 17, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. E. M. Lennick

    After listening to Fred Thompson call for a ban on gay marriage and working to overturn Roe v Wade, we say how about a constitutional amendment banning stupid men that want to turn back the clock to the 1950s.

    August 17, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    He's a great actor. Leave politics to the ones that do it full time and know what is really going on. Don't run. I

    August 17, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Lisa, San Diego, CA.

    I really don't understand the conservative agenda. They want big government to stay out of peoples affairs by taking away from Medicare and privatizing social security and health insurance, but they want to be all up in my uterus and in my bedroom. Why is that? Who gave this guy the right to judge what is good or bad for me? Stay out of my bedroom and my reproductive system, Fred!

    August 17, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Dan Ferrisi, Garden City, NY

    Even though I never had any intention of voting for him, I thought Fred Thompson had more common sense than this.

    Thompson's idiotic opposition to gay marriage and misguided assault on abortion rights perfectly encapsulate the Republican Party's animosity toward the principle of bodily sovereignty. What Thompson and those of his ilk seem to forget is this: I own my body, and I may do with it whatever I wish. My marriage is none of Fred's business. My medical decisions are none of Fred's business. In short, Fred's moral opinions are inapplicable to me, just as my moral whims are inapplicable to Fred.

    We have descended into a state of moralistic busybodies, intent on telling everybody what they can and cannot do. Buzz off, morality police!

    The Dems are far from perfect. But, at the very least, they seem to respect bodily sovereignty. That, by itself, makes every Democratic candidate infinitely more palatable than every GOP would-be Big Brother.

    August 17, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Mary, Holland, MI

    Like clock work, every four years a Republican will dust off the issues of abortion and gay marriage to rally the base. Trouble is, over the last decade-plus, their base has been conservative Christians who like a family values kind of guy. Hmmm...the Republicans better keep looking.

    August 17, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Paul Taylor

    Let's have separation of church and state and have civil unions available to all couples of leagal age. Enough discrimination, yes, it's Discrimination not to give gays the same rights given to straight "married" couples. We did the same to blacks and women in the past. When will they WAKE UP.

    August 17, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Jenn, Amherst, NY

    If you really think that banning access to abortion is really going to solve the abortion issue, then you are blind, Mr. Thompson!

    The goal of both sides of the coin is to reduce the number of abortions- but those of us who are pro-choice want to do it by providing reliable access to birth control. But OH, you don't have to dispense it if you don't believe in it! And abstinence is the only way (as long as you love Jesus and your Bible)!

    Give me a break! Give me someone who actually understands women's rights and is willing to help.


    August 17, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. walter,westerville,ohio



    August 17, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Safety First

    and keep safe abortion legal for those
    who wish it else the mafia will perform
    this procedure or worse.
    It will be impossible to overturn Roe
    Vs.Wade ,Have people forgotten Gore won
    the popular vote for president?
    Go Democratics!
    Gore/Clinton will be the ticket i'd bet on it.

    August 17, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Bukky, Baltimore, MD

    Dear Mr. Thompson

    It seems like you may be even dumber than Bush. Congratulations that is a rare feat. By the way if you stumble upon this and happen to know how to read

    1) Only the Supreme Court can overturn Roe v. Wade, and last I checked you are not a Justice. Even if you are a justice you would need to be 5 justices to overturn Roe

    2) One state CAN NOT force another state to deny/grant/recognize a gay marriage. That is already law. For this you can thank Bill Clinton and DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)

    Once again you Sir are an IDIOT.

    August 17, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. David, Berkeley, CA

    I am very disappointed in the Ticker Headline: "'Law & Order' star: I'll ban abortion". Overturning Roe would mean that abortion law would return to the states, instead of being a federally mandated 'right' opposed by over half the country. Some states would ban abortion, but most would not. Overturning Roe does not mean BANNING abortion!

    August 17, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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