December 3rd, 2007
06:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Thompson: 'The Lord is OK with me'

Watch Thompson direct his fire at rivals Romney and Huckabee.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson Monday said he didn't need to apologize for his faith, despite concerns from Christian conservatives that he does not express his religious beliefs enough on the campaign trail.

"As far as faith is concerned, I have not made any secret as to where I am. I am a Christian," Thompson said, noting that, while he doesn't attend church while at home in McLean, Virgina, he did attend church with his mother when he visits Tennessee. "I have no apologies to make about my religion or my relationship to Jesus Christ or God."

In a column in USA Today Monday, David Domke, a University of Washington journalism professor, said Thompson has not done better in the polls because "he lacks a religious niche" and "Christian conservatives have not been amused or enthused" by his lack of church attendance and the few times he talks of his faith on the campaign trail.

Thompson dismissed those comments, saying "I'm OK with the Lord, and the Lord is OK with me as far as I can tell."

In the wide-ranging interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the Tennessee senator also dismissed recent surveys out of Iowa and New Hampshire that show he has slipped significantly behind the frontrunners.

“I've been running consistently second in the nation-wide polls," the Tennessee senator said. "I've been running pretty consistently close in South Carolina, so our campaign is where we need to be."

"I think a lot of people expected me to blow a lot of people away when I got in the race. I knew better than that, and of course it hasn't happened," Thompson continued.

Full story

Catch the full interview on the Situation Room at 4, 5, and 6 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa • New Hampshire • South Carolina
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. jambi,cleveland,Ihio

    This is another looser. CNN you are loosing credibility with all these loosers. C'mon. I also miss old CNN. Hard to believe CNN anymore.

    December 3, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Walter, Long Beach

    Fred's right about one thing. His big problem is not the polls. It's that his candidacy lacks any compelling rationale.

    A presidential campaign has to be about something other than naked opportunism. You have to give people some affirmative reason to vote for you, not just remind them how much they dislike the other choices.

    The bigger problem is that the Republican Party lacks ANY candidate who meets that standard. I can't remember seeing a bigger bunch of light weights who thought they were presidential material.

    Lincoln, TR, and Ike must be spinning in their graves.

    December 3, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. george,derry,NH

    He doesn't have any of the things that he is talking about. Lets see who is going to elect this guy. He is good in acting but I don't think good in seeking or being a president, Period!

    December 3, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Poor Mr. Thompson – he just doesn't get it.

    December 3, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Daniel, NY

    Thompson has become irrelevant. He is at 3% in the most recent New Hampshire poll - how can he possibly survive that?

    December 3, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Ba Gua Zhang, Chico, CA

    What about "OK with the Buddha, or with Krishna, or
    OK with Mother Earth?" America is NOT a theocracy. The president is not a pope. Sadly, far too many Americans don't get it. Sad for all of America; and sad for them. And sad for other nations who bear the brunt of this religio-imperialism too!

    December 3, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Doug, Portland OR

    You do not have to go to church to be a Christian. That is a lie. All that is being said is that political... err... religious organizations are dissapointed in his lack of contribution.

    December 3, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. trent porter, tx

    Thompson is such a distraction. He is dull and really has nothing to offer America... unlike a certain TX Doctor that i know of 😉

    December 3, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Steve, Huntington Beach CA

    Isn't it laughable that "being right with the lord" is actually considered by many as relevant to being president? Maybe we all should think hard about nations who jail teachers for offensive Teddy Bear names yet commit genocide. Is that the successful mix of church and state that Neo-cons want? Here's a a current Theocratic country that you'd like to live in.

    December 3, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Michael Goldberg, Ardmore, PA

    I do not support or endorse Fred Thompson, but I feel it necessary to remind the Christian Right Wing Conservative base that under Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America it clearly states "No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office title." How come no candidate has stated that? They continue to explain themselves, when they do not have to. The Constitution protects that right.

    December 3, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. JB, Nashville, TN

    Nothing else about Fred Thompson attracts me, but it's nice to finally see a candidate honest about their religious beliefs. I don't care if my President goes to church, a mosque, a golf course or a strip bar. Run the country properly and take Sunday off. We seem to have been better off when our leaders were chasing skirts anyway.

    December 3, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. John Stone Mountain, GA

    I agree Fred's campaign seems stagnant. I would however like CNN to stop referring to him as "Law and Order Star". He is a former Senator. It is about the same as if they were referring to HRC as "The former first lady" all the time.

    December 3, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Marc, Lafayette CA

    CNN – wonderful use of English here…did our President teach your journalists how to read and write?

    "Thompson said, noting that, while he doesn't not attend church while at home in McLean, Virgina, he did attend church with his mother when he visits in Tennessee."

    Who edits this crap? "Doesn't not attend church"??? Nice double negative...

    "He did attend church with his mother when he visits in Tennessee." Are you serious??? How about using the correct tense here?

    We are truly becoming a NATION OF MORONS!

    Think maybe you should be applying elementary grammar skills in your articles? I know most southern Republicans talk like this and won't notice but come on!

    December 3, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Scott, Toledo OH

    Why is it any time one of these losers farts we have to hear about it. However, Ron Paul raises over $10.4 million, has thousands in attendance at his rallies, etc. etc. – and the mainstream media does everything they can to ignore it.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that can save this country from disaster. It obvious this country is in a sad state when respect for the constitution, the rule of law, freedom, liberty, and limited government are deemed as radical or crazy ideals. RON PAUL 2008!

    December 3, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    What he's saying really is that he really doesn't care much about religion but now that he's running for president he needs every possible right wingnutty republican voter out there, and that includes the evangelicals. That's all he's saying.

    December 3, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Ciara, New York, New York

    First you wrote "week" when you meant "weak" in the Rove/Obama story.

    In this story you wrote:
    "As far as faith is concerned, I have not made any secret as to where I am. I am a Christian," Thompson said, noting that, while he doesn't not attend church while at home in McLean, Virgina, he did attend church with his mother when he visits in Tennessee.

    He doesn't not attend church? So he does attend church?

    Awesome editing, CNN.

    December 3, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. summus

    Thompson is learning the hard lesson. If you don't talk up Christianity enough then they string you up.

    December 3, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Jeff - Jacksonville, FL

    To Michael Goldberg: Your point is well taken. However, that line in the Constitution refers only to the fact that in order to run for or hold office, a religious test cannot be applied. HOWEVER, that does not mean that you don't have to convince the people of this country that you aren't a religious person. This is about getting votes, not meeting requirements on a checklist. I'm 35 years old and I meet all the other requirements stated in the Constitution to be eligible to be President of the United States. However, I know I don't have a snowball's chance in Hades of being elected. Just because I meet the qualifications, doesn't mean I can be elected.

    Too bad we don't have an IQ test. Then maybe Bush wouldn't have been elected.

    December 3, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Eric - Klamath Falls, OR

    I'm excited that Mr. Thompson recognizes that there is a difference between Jesus Christ and God. This is far more than the other so-called Christians have done.

    December 3, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. LB, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    Why are candidates so concerned about being a good Christian? Since when is that a criteria for being the president of the US? With all the things that need fixing in this country and its relationship with the rest of the world, why is a candidate's religion seem to be so all important? It seems the rest of us are allowing the Christian right to control the debate and the issues. People who vote for a candidate based on his or her religion rather the issues that really affect their lives need to really think about whether they're voting for or against their own best interests.

    December 3, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Jim, Cleveland OH

    The Republican Party brought this on themselves with their "vote your values" message they peddled to the Evangelicals. Now we are sticking to "our" values, not theirs, and everyone is up in arms.

    I'm glad Mr. Thompson feels he is "right" with the Lord. I would be happier for him if he was more convincing in his confession of faith. He's OK. Nobody expects him to be some kind of Evangelist, just true to the values of the Christian Church.

    Oh, and yes you have to attend a church and have fellowship with brothers and sisters in order to walk a Christian path. I'm sure it's difficult for a man in his position to make regular attendance but it sure would be nice if he would try.

    December 3, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Susan, Atlanta, GA

    I have nothing against Mr. Thompson, but I want to remind him that a sincere Christian voluntarily meets an obligation to WORSHIP GOD WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS, to break bread, to pray, sing, hear God's word preached, contribute to the work of the church and encourage other Christians. Some of us forget sometimes that the word "church" means "the called out ones." We Christians are called out from worldly thoughts, speech and behavior–imperfect as we are–and the church (founded by Jesus Himself) funtions best when Christians meet regularly on the first day of the week (and for some of us, on Sunday night, too, and Wednesday night). We cannot be pleasing God if we "forsake the assembling ourselves together, as is the habit of some" (Hebrews 10:25).

    December 3, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. EllieMay,Tennessee

    I am undecided on who I will be voting on for president this time around. I do know that religion will not have a factor on my decision. I don't care if the they worship their socks as long as he or she can lead our country in the right direction! I believe people now a days tend to focus more on the petty little things than on the whole picture. Maybe if we could get off our cell phones long enough to pay attention to what is really going on around us maybe we could focus more on the things that could make this world a better place for all!!!

    December 3, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Michael Torrance, CA

    Not that Fred is the right guy but at least one republican understands that there has to be separation between church and state.

    December 3, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Bill S., Commack, New York

    Hey, Susan from Atlanta..."Judge not, lest ye be judged."

    December 3, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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