August 29th, 2007
12:08 PM ET
14 years ago

New Hampshire paper: Thompson better go to debate

Thompson, in Iowa earlier this month, is expected to get into the presidential race soon.

(CNN) – An influential New Hampshire newspaper Wednesday morning put new pressure on likely GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson to take part in next week’s debate, warning that “avoiding it costs him stature, which is his chief political commodity right now.”

The Union Leader editorial page, closely watched in the state and by conservative activists, said Thompson “has flirted from afar with Republican voters for long enough. It's time for him to accept a date. And there is no better first date than the New Hampshire Republican Party's presidential debate.”

The state party is sponsoring its first debate on September 5 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Thompson has indicated he is close to formally entering the race, but hasn’t yet said exactly when he’ll officially announce. The Union Leader said that if he announces before the debate but skips the event, “a no-show will be counted here as a snub.”
The Leader’s editorial also said that if the former Tennessee senator still hasn’t announced “it will appear to some as if he timed the announcement just to avoid the New Hampshire debate.”

There was no immediate response to the editorial from Thompson.

New Hampshire Republican Party Executive Director Stephen DeMaura told CNN the party has “been speaking with (Thompson representatives) on an ongoing basis.” He said they were first told Thompson would enter the race September 4 and take part. He said they were later told he wouldn’t jump in until September 6. DeMaura said while nothing is set yet, he believes that, “in the end, they’re probably going to get in (the debate)”.

DeMaura also indicated that if Thompson delays the announcement or doesn’t take part in the debate “some of the other campaigns are ready to strike back at him.”

He said Thompson would run the risk “of showing he doesn’t care about retail politics and only cares about campaigning in major media markets” if he skips the debate.

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Fred Thompson • New Hampshire
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. David, Salinas, CA

    Thompson sounds good when his speeches are written by Dick Wolf and his Hollywood screen-writers.

    But how good will he sound trying to defend his record as a pro-abortion, pro-tobacco, pro-asbestos, pro-foreign mining, pro-dictator Washington insider lobbyist?

    How good will he sound defending his record of no accomplishments in the Senate?

    Thompson has done well ducking debates so far, but sooner or later he’ll have to speak his own mind and America will see him as the empty-suit lawyer-for-hire pretender he actually is.

    September 3, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Zendo

    New Hampshire Debates


    Well it is clear that the republicans, with the exception of congressman Ron Paul, are too far gone and removed from the real needs and concerns of middle class Americans to effectively lead this nation. At least the democrats can agree on a few things like universal healthcare, global change and reformation, and on the important task of removing all American troops from Iraq as quickly and responsibly as possible.

    Only 15 minutes into the Republican New Hampshire debates and Ron Paul, who is the most rational and relevant politician in this debate, is already getting chewed on and rudely interrupted by all the Candidates. All that former Mayor Giuliani and the rest of the republican candidates want do is back Bush on his atrocious foreign policy. Still they talk about a troop surge and 9/11 as if most informed people all over the world don’t already know and understand that 9/11 was an inside job paid for by corrupt politicians. All this proves that you cannot expect an ounce of truth to come out of our mainstream media when it comes to anything republican candidates are saying. The media does a great job at ignoring and concealing the real facts. So don’t be surprised when Bush attacks Iran and don’t be surprised if Bush stages another “terrorist attack” on America so that he may postpone if not cancel the 2008 elections to propagate his sordid agenda in which he only means subvert Americans and take away our independence and our liberal rights.


    I though the democratic New Hampshire debate was very relevant and direct. It was a breath of fresh air to finally hear some of these important issues being clearly addressed. I did feel that senator Hilary Clinton was a bit nasty at times, especially when addressing Barack Obama, however, I think she’s entitled, they all are. You have to be very firm and convicted when addressing your views if you want to be forceful or compelling.

    I only have two complaints about Barack Obama, one being that he signed the patriot act, and if you ask me he did so because he is inexperienced and so he acted on pressure and necessity, not conviction. I understand he was trying to show his concern for homeland security and for the current threat of terrorism. But Hilary Clinton for example, did not sign this act, She stuck to her guns, because she had enough experience and foresight to understand that this was a ludicrous opportunistic act that only means to take away our civil liberties and undermine our right to privacy.

    Another thing that bothered me about Obama is that he said, in the matter of bringing troops back home, that if his military advisors tell him that it might be best for troops to remain in Iraq for an unclear amount of time he would agree, which makes me wonder if he is truly firm and convicted about anything I heard him say tonight. I don’t doubt his passion when he talks about change, he just needs to assert himself a little better.

    But I do feel there is much to be hopeful about. Between Hilary Clinton’s clear intentions to immediately remove all American troops from Iraq, Senator Edward’s expressed concern for political lobbyism and private interest, Governors Richardson’s keen understanding of the need to unite and bring people together, And Barack Obama’s favorable, passionately expressed but not incredibly original ideas I’d say we are in good shape for change.

    This is just my own take on the debate.

    January 6, 2008 03:21 am at 3:21 am |