November 5th, 2007
04:23 PM ET
8 years ago

Thompson advisor resigns after news of drug bust

A top aide to Fred Thompson stepped down Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top advisor to former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson announced Monday he was resigning his position with the Republican's presidential campaign, a day after news surfaced he pleaded guilty more than 20 years ago to drug charges.

"The focus of this campaign should be on Fred Thompson's positions on the issues and his outstanding leadership ability, not on mistakes I made some 24 years ago," Phillip Martin said in a statement issued by Thompson's campaign. "I deeply regret any embarrassment this has caused."

It was first reported Sunday in the Washington Post that Martin pleaded guilty in 1979 to selling 11 pounds marijuana and no contest in 1983 to cocaine trafficking charges.

Thompson said yesterday he was unaware of the man’s past, and but he wouldn’t “throw my friend under the bus.”

He did say he would talk to Martin, and acknowledged “I’m running for president, I’ve got to, you know, do the right thing.”

- CNN's Mary Snow contributed to this report

Filed under: Fred Thompson
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Julia, Orlando FL

    Fred should just drop out anyway. Just because he played a President on TV doesn't mean he can be one.

    November 5, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Sarah Lane, CA

    Go Mitt Romeny! Fred Thompson is not qualified enough to win, and he can't be the Democrats!

    November 5, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Ed, San Jose, CA

    Fred should drop out immediately, or be forced to.

    While the other item is used by a lot of people and, depending on the state – such as Ca – people can be somewhat/more tolerant, cocaine is a lot more serious and to be trafficking in it??? That should preclude *anyone* from being able to run, imho.

    November 5, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    11 POUNDS? You have to be joking...where do they find these people from?

    November 5, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. slimegreen

    Congradulations CNN, the progressive agenda's smear tactic worked, well done...

    November 5, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Steve, NY

    So disappointing.....when will our elected officials (or hopefulls)get the hint that the people they serve are sick and tired of all this cronyism. Whether it be (e.g. Harriet Miers, Michael Brown or Rudy's endorsement of Bernie Kerik for Head of Dept. of Homeland Security. etc.) We need to trust that they will make appropriate personnel decisions at every level (e.g. Supreme Court nominees, Cabinet posts, staff, etc.)

    November 5, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Lance in Monrovia CA

    Another strong day for the Thompson campaign, which really, truly appears to be catching fire all across this nation...


    November 5, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Kate, Aurora CO

    I am really confused. Doesn't Thompson market himself as a conservative Christian? If he is so Christian then why not stand up for your friend and tell the press to be a Christian means to forgive. The man was convicted of his crimes and served the time. This is the hypocrasy that goes on in this country everyday. So should this man who has already paid his debt to society (over 20 years ago) be only permitted to sweep floors or cut lawns? I really don't get these so-called Christians. Have any of them really ever read the bible? or asked themselves, what would Jesus do?

    November 5, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. J.Crobuzon

    Tune in to Rush Limbaugh tonight as he and Philip Martin get high together and talk trash about those lawbreaking Clintons.

    November 5, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Thank goodness his campaign is self destructing. It would be horrible to have Tim Griffen, the guy responsible for voter caging in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004 working for Thompson to steal the 2008 election. Tim Griffen is a senior advisor for Thompson, and Karl Rove is Griffen's mentor.

    David Iglasius, a US attorney, was investigating Griffen for election fraud, until he was replaced... by Tim Griffen.

    For more details, read "Armed Madhouse", by Greg Palast, well respected American reporter for Air America and the BBC.

    We don't need more cheating, stealing, lying, and corruption in the mold of Fred Thompson, George Bush and Hillary Clinton.

    Support Barack Obama, the only honest candidate running that has a chance of being the next leader of the free world.

    Thompson, Griffen, and his ilk would take this country further down the dark path of dictatorship, fear and war.

    November 5, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Steve, Landing, NJ

    I think it's ridiculous that what this guy did over twenty years ago is an issue. There are people voting today who weren't even alive in 1983, he's had a lifetime to overcome those mistakes.

    Of all the reasons not to vote for Thompson, this is the least of them.

    November 5, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. Eddy, Sacramento, CA

    There's soooo much corruption in the GOP these days its really hard to keep up with who's done what to whom anymore!!

    November 5, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. MJB Surprise, Az

    Don't anyone think that its only a Republican or Democrate problem. It will keep happening to each of them. Each have people that have done things in their lives and it can and does often come out. He whol throws the first stone

    November 5, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Eric Boles, Dexter, MO

    I will admit up front that I do not think Mr. Thompson would be a good President, nor will I vote for him. However, I believe it is time to stop with the sniping and looking for ways to discredit politicians in ways that have nothing to do with his/her positions on specific issues and track record related to those issues. The man made a mistake 24 years ago, didn't we all? He deserves to put his past behind him and continue to work in a productive manner. EVERYONE needs to give up the politics of personal attacks.

    November 5, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Phat-Rat Portland Oregon

    Whats silly is in live in a country that preaches forgivness and rehabilitation.

    Yet this man's occupation is now jepordized to some mistakes he made 20+ yrs ago and has since paid his debt to society.

    a sad state of affairs...

    November 5, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Corbett, Washington DC

    I agree with Kate – wouldn't it be the Christian thing to forgive... Heck, isn't that what our Justice system is supposed to be about? The guy did something bad, even he understands that. But it was a quarter century ago, he served his time, he repaid society what we deem he should; then why continue to punish this guy for that?

    Yes, I never had any intention of ever voting for Fred Thompson, and if I needed evidence to say why, I'd list this firing.

    November 5, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Ivan

    it is amazing just how stupid the political behaviour is in the USA considering the PRESIDENT himself admitted having used drugs in his past. WHEN is it going to be OK to be HUMAN having had made a mistake &/or having EXPERIMENTED in legal &/or Illegal practices.

    November 5, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. Tim, Raleigh, NC

    Why, this is nothing new...He should fit right in!

    "In recent years, members of Congress have gone to jail for child molestation, fraud and other charges.

    Our research found 117 current and recent members of the House and Senate who have run at least two businesses each that went bankrupt, often leaving business partners and creditors holding the bag. Seventy-one of them have credit reports so bad they can't get an American Express card on their own (but as members of Congress, they get a government-issued Amex card without a credit check).

    Fifty-three have personal and financial problems so serious they would be denied security clearances by the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy if they had to apply through normal channels (but, again, as members of Congress they get such clearances simply because they fooled enough people to get elected).

    Twenty-nine members of current and recent Congresses have been accused of spousal abuse in either criminal or civil proceedings. Twenty-seven have driving while intoxicated arrests on their driving records. Twenty-one are current defendants in various lawsuits, ranging from bad debts, disputes with business partners or other civil matters.

    Nineteen members of current and recent Congresses have been accused of writing bad checks, even after the scandal several years ago, which resulted in closure of the informal House bank that routinely allowed members to overdraw their accounts without penalty. Fourteen have drug-related arrests in their background, eight were arrested for shoplifting, seven for fraud, four for theft, three for assault and one for criminal trespass."

    November 5, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. FBT, Longmont, CO

    So the guy was a young entrepreneur. Big deal.

    Bushies have done worse, but they get appointed to cabinet positions.

    November 5, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. drbcool, Claremont, CA

    And this, dear reader, is exactly why it is so hard for the ordinary citizen to run for office any more, be it national or local. Is there anyone out there who didn't do something stupid/illegal/immoral before the age of 25? If so, please tell me why that is a reason to prevent you from being a contributing member of society now. I don't think the press should cover up one's past when it unearths it. I do think we could be a little more forgiving, however. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" comes to mind.

    November 5, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Nick Hess, Springtown, TX

    Just a thought regarding Fred Thompson and his presidential bid. He's Hollywood!

    November 5, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. mark wilkes barre pa

    hope your all happy you libral snipers, cause you might just have awoke the sleeping giant. You guys and cnn have all stooped to a new low.Look in the mirror at your own past,, bet you could remember somthings you did when you were young and dumb !!!! remember all the things you didn't get caught doing you idiot's !!!!

    November 5, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. P.J. midland TX.

    Big deal,I can not believe CNN would even mention this. So what if some "goofer" for a pwerson running for president did something stupid over 20 years ago. He got caught paied his debt to society and its OVER forget it CNN and everyboby else too!!

    November 5, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Chris Pugh

    I dont understand how CNN doing this story and Thompson firing this man has anything to do with liberals. Looks like it was handled internally by the Thompson campaign and liberals had nothing to do with it. Cnn was just doing there job. This is news worthy. Typical of right wingers to blame everything their party does wrong on someone else. Republicans seem to have a problem accepting accountabilty. Just the other day someone was blaming Bill Clinton for high oil prices. He has been gone 7 years now. It is time to place the blame where it really goes.

    November 5, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Matt, Chicago

    Although I think Thompson is a total fraud in terms of his candidacy, I agree with his response to this. This is almost a 30 yr old crime – who really cares? It's not a fraud case, it's not a violent crime. It's a stupid mistake (or 2) by a young guy. Romney or Giuliani would've "thrown the guy under the bus," even it is was their own child.

    There's plenty of other hypocrisy around FT that we could focus on. God knows that if Obama ever worked as a lobbyist for two Libyans who eventually hijacked the PAnAm plane (like FT), we wouldn't hear the end of it from the self-righteous, god/allah-fearing, brown-skin-fearing right.

    But hey, the double standard is no longer surprising and at the end of the day, it's not a big deal to reasonable, level-headed Americans who actually look for substance as opposed to sensationalism when examining the candidates.

    November 5, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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