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. Dan, TX

    USA TODAY/Gallup Poll: Significant drops in support for Clinton & Giuliani

    "National support for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani significantly eroded over the past month," USA TODAY Washington bureau chief Susan Page writes.

    Meanwhile, Republican Mike Huckabee's standing in the national poll has shot up - to the point where he leads a group of four GOP contenders basically tied for second place behind front-runner Giuliani.

    Susan adds that results of the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll underscore the volatile nature of both the Democratic and Republican nomination battles with just one month to go before the Jan. 3 Iowa presidential caucuses.

    December 3, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Many mass murderers were "right with the Lord" before they had the switch flipped.

    Pretty convenient don't you think?

    So this means WHAT exactly? His God accepted him?

    Ummm ... doesn't everybody's? I mean, I'd pick the one that did too ... wouldn't you?

    I'd like to sit down and have a chat with all the ones who DECLINED the offer!

    December 3, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Geoffrey, Grasonville, MD

    If the detainess at Guantanamo are terrorists, as Sen. Thompson says they are, why don't we simply line them up against the nearest wall and relieve ourselves of the trouble of having to house and feed them?

    December 3, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Christian, Tampa FL

    Unfortunately for Mr. Thompson, one of the biggest factors of being a Christian is the constant struggle against complacency. "The Lord is OK with me" sure sounds complacent to me. I say this as a religious comment, not a political one.

    December 3, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Barry D, Massachusetts

    Ron Paul 2008...What America really needs.....America do your homework........

    December 3, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. John, Cherry Hill, NJ

    Why is it no matter what topic is on the ticker Ron Paul nuts find a way to plug their guy? I'm tired of hearin about this so-called record breaking fundraiser. Elections are not won in a single day cash grab and besides the guy is certifiably insane! He's like the Republicans own personal Dennis Kucinich. Anyway he still lags in the single digits in all respectable polls. I look forward to February when Ron Paul is forgotten...

    December 3, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. TB, Anchorage, Alaska

    LB asks: Since when does religion matter so much when it comes to presidential elections? Answer: Since 2000. I say this because LB's question tells me that not everybody is aware of when the Religious Right took control of the White House. It's important that everybody knows this because the first step in avoiding repeating a mistake is to know when you made it in the first place. In 2000, a lot of non-Religious people voted for Bush even though he was touted as God's Man on Earth by the Thumpers. That should have been a BIG red flag for the average Joe. (And it happened again in 2004!) Thank goodness 2008 is around the bend - I hope.

    December 3, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. mark wilkes barre pa

    I dont know where you all have been getting your info fromm. you all here must be 20 something . look up this guys resume people. he left more on the table when he left politics years ago then the combined experience of all the frontrunning candidates put together have right now. don't under-estimate this mans savy or political know how for one second. It's too early in the game and he's way too smart to show his hand at this point

    December 3, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. John, Austin Texas

    What I want to know is who wrote this and are they really a reporter or just a blogger. After reading the first couple of paragraphs, I find it difficult to tell if Thompson attends church in Virginia or not. Thompson 'doesn't not attend church' – so I guess that means he does attend church?? Instead of this country being so concerned with religious issues, we should focus our political process on educating our young.

    December 3, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  10. Zach, Traverse City, Michigan

    The link title to this article is disrespectful...calling Mr. Thompson a "Law and Order Star." Once you become a serious candidate for the Republican nomination I think you deserve the right to be called by your name in a headline. Come on CNN.

    December 3, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Alex, Medford, MA

    Susan,

    That would be a good point if it wasn't totally wrong. The root of 'church' is the Greek 'kyriake,' meaning 'of the Lord.' The word you are referring to is 'ekklesia,' the root of 'ecclesiastic' among others, which refers to a gathering or assembly, but never a building.

    December 3, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. EB Rideout, Georgia

    He actually stayed awake long enough to come up with this gem?

    Fred, repeat after me.

    I-T I-S O-V-E-R

    December 3, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. demwit

    Didn't I once hear Hillary say she was a Christian? Hmmmmm, maybe not..

    December 3, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Cara, Harrisonburg VA

    Hmmm...something about this seems exceedingly oxymornonic. "Christian Conservatives" (who are called not to cast judgement) deciding how much "show" of faith (um, we are also given some pretty succinct cautions against ostentation in this regard) is appropriate for a candidate to display. As a moderate Republican (who is also a Christian), I admit that I will be more inclined to vote for someone who I believe has similar values as my own (so, it is highly likely that said candidate would also be a Christian). I think that "Christian Conservatives" whose primary concern is church attendance would far better serve themselves by delving into real issues instead of playing God's Truancy Deputies.

    December 3, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. Fred, TN

    You people at CNN are flagrantly igroring Ron Paul, a conservative Christian who has delivered over 4000 babies and is pro-life. How you can make a story out of Fred's faith and ignore the leading fundraiser of all active servicemen and the choice of a growing legion of devoted conservatives is beyond belief. Pardon me while I turn the channel.

    December 3, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Jay Nashua, NH

    Fred Thompson is irrelevant. He has run his campaign like a circus from day one with the "late announcement" and then has barely been campaigning much at all. I think what upsets me more is how he made Mr. Macaca, George Allen his national chair. Is that the best he could get support wise? Even Mike Huckabee has Chuck Norris on his side.

    The Indian American community is still upset about this from recent blog psot i read
    http://usinpac08.blogspot.com/2007/10/fred-thompson-hires-mr-macaca.html#links

    December 3, 2007 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Eric Olson, New York, NY

    What you see is what you get...a tired old man with no new ideas. Good riddance.

    December 3, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. ronnie knoxville, tn.

    that is NOT a backdrop of the White House. if so, how cheesy

    December 3, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. A real Christian

    Lisa in Kansas wrote
    "With everyone wanting to take God out of everything, why is this an issue"?

    Well its an issue because the religous extremists continue to bring it up. I for one would rather you leave your religon in your church and home as I do. Thats the type of person Jesus was. If you talk the talk but not walk the walk then you need to shut up and sit down. We have had a "Christian" president in the White House for the past 7 years and he has acted unChristian like. All this relgious talks makes me not want to vote for anyone who talks about thier relgion. You can give thanks to the Christian fanactics for that one.

    December 3, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  20. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    This piece of southern fried chicken scratch is, for an actor, the least convincing politician i've ever heard. He's the Foghorn Leghorn of Gucci Gulch. These K- Street lobbyist types are usually so bloviated with there own successes and connections that they are incapable of sounding sincere, at least to somebody like me who doesn't worship the ground these social elitists walk on. They would sell your Jesus Christ off the Cross to make a dollar. But to most of you simpletons who never took a public speaking course are taken by the words of sharp tongued idiots. Writers for the Law and Order the T.V. show use pathos to evoke emotion, so you don't get bored. These politicians need to be using logos to evoke logic, evidently a precious commodity in D.C.

    December 3, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Why doesn't CNN.com have any blogs about Ron Paul? He is all over the Internet but not on CNN.com or FoxNews.com. Why does mainstream media veiw him as such a threat? He raised more money than any other candidate in the fourth quarter thus far. Main stream media yet again fails the American people

    December 3, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  22. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    The understated, simple sincerity of Fred's comments stand in stark contrast to the pandering most candidates seem to put themselves through when discussing their faith.

    Perhaps, at the end of the day when those currently enchanted by the likes of Mitt Romney come out of their spell, they will be drawn to a humble and yet capable man like Fred, who exudes not only style, but class.

    I sure hope so.

    December 3, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  23. Glen, Boston, MA

    1. It's ironic that in ultimate reality "God" is all of life – more powerful and incredible than any religion could conceive and more omnipotent than any atheist could deny.

    And, yet, we have this one religious faction counting how many times someone goes to a building to worship himself. At lest the evangelical stranglehold on our country has broken under the weight of political corruption.

    Lest we forget:

    Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America: "No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office title."

    December 3, 2007 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. Rev. Chuck Currie, Portland, Oregon

    The senator is on the wrong side of Iraq and thinks global warming is a joke. I think he'll have a lot to answer the Lord when the time comes. In the meantime, I hope the voters pay attention to his policies.

    Rev. Chuck Currie
    http://www.chuckcurrie.com

    December 4, 2007 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  25. Paul Thompson

    Fred...if you read this...clue...
    Jesus, The Lord, is for the needy...
    not the greedy!!!

    December 4, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
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