December 4th, 2007
04:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Thompson: Don't let the government tell you what to eat

Thompson campaigned in South Carolina Tuesday.

SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (CNN) - Fred Thompson wants the government to keep its hands off your dinner plate.

That's what he told a questioner Tuesday in South Carolina, anyway.

Standing about 15 feet away from a mouth-watering steam tray buffet loaded with fried chicken, creamed corn and macaroni and cheese at Wade's Southern Cooking in Spartanburg, Thompson dismissed the idea that preventative care and wellness education should be central features of a government's health care system.

"I'm telling you, I don’t think that it’s the primary responsibility of the federal government to tell you what to eat," Thompson said to applause when asked if his health care plan included any details on preventative care, a priority for Democratic candidates.

"The fact of the matter is we got an awful lot of knowledge,” said the former Tennessee senator. “Sometimes we don’t have a whole lot of will power, and I don’t know of any government program that's going to instill that."

Thompson, ever a fan of small government, said healthy living should be the responsibilities of families first.

"We shouldn’t be looking at the federal government in Washington first and working our way down, it ought to be just the other way around. With that, or whether you're talking about education, there's some things the federal government can't do," said Thompson.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Fred Thompson • South Carolina
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. cmblake6

    What he is saying is not that nutritional education shouldn't be taught, it's that the gummint should NOT mandate what you eat. You know what each food IS, now make your own choice as to whether you eat it or not.

    December 5, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Michelle, Ohio

    "Preventive education is NOT telling you what to eat or do. Should we not teach kids how to brush their teeth, not teach them gym class, not teach drivers' ed, etc.? He's confusing education with coercion. Typical Republican propaganda about the role of government."
    Are you kidding me? Yes, you should teach your children to brush their teeth, but the GOVERNMENT is not REQUIRED to do it FOR YOU. It's called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Liberals. They just don't get it.

    December 5, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. Steve, North Versailles, PA

    Should we not teach kids how to brush their teeth, not teach them gym class, not teach drivers' ed, etc.?

    Considering that the Federal government teaches none of those things, I assume the agreed-upon answer is "No it shouldn't."

    December 5, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. db, west palm bch, florida

    ha, ha, now that's funny!! Leave it to a fat guy to get mad about something that like!

    December 5, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. ProConServative Santa Maria CA

    You liberals are, in every sense of the word, HYSTERICAL!
    Why do Conservatives scare you so, when they want gov't OUT of your lives? Have you missed that point?

    Conservatives believe Gov't should be limited. I'll add that's especially
    valid when Gov't is incompetent
    and overpriced.

    Libs wake up- you're being played by
    politicians who lack concern for you and the competence (even desire) to execute their utopian promises. Hey, how's that anti-war candidate of yours doing?

    Here's an idea: ask less of your Federal government, and expect more from State & local. You'll be happier, better served and MUCH better-represented.

    December 5, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Rapscallion, East Texas

    But it is OK for "the government" to tell you you can't eat pot? How about antifreeze? Should "the government" be able to prohibit me from eating antifreeze? Somebody stop me!!!

    December 5, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. Kim Davie, FL

    It seemed to me the REPORTER said that Fred dismissed the ENTIRE idea of preventative care.

    From what was reported that FRED SAID, he was talking about not having some bureaucrat on the East coast tell me what to eat – which I agree with.

    The quotes and the summary don't match.

    December 5, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. Heather K. Ft. Gordon, GA

    Grow up and do your jobs. Quit trying to take my (and everyone else's) money to pay the government to tell us common sense rules about eating. If you're not grown up enough to educate your own children about nutrition move to England or somewhere else that is already paying high taxes for a nanny-state to take care of them complete with diminished care (the gov't is an EXPENSIVE middleman after all, it has to cut somewhere and it won't make cuts to itself – heh) and ridiculous rules. And most of all, mind your own darn business! It's almost a lost form of manners, I know, but you can do it if you really try. Don't worry about what others are doing, worry about what you're doing. I'm getting *disgusted* with all these liberals sounding like worried little old ladies with tons of neuroses. Blech! My husband serves his country for the likes of you? Thank God he's almost retired.

    December 5, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. C.Gallicchio,colubus OH-IO

    If the goverment wishes to intrude apon ur right to chose what to eat, Then then the next step is to take whatever else you might find enjoyable . The goverments job is to make sure of security of personal property , the protection of the country and relations with other countries. They are not there to tell you what to eat drink or even what place to vacation at. When you chose to give your rights to another or a goverment then you have already lost your free will .Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is what our founding fathers fought so hard to obtain .And if u do not question your leaders on all decisions that they make ,it only makes it that much easier for them to take them away. Fight the good fight and question all authority , cause when you dont you are already a slave to the system.

    December 5, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  10. John Louisville, Ky

    "I'd say kudos to Thompson if this country wasn't the fattest nation in the world. We have far too many obese people to let nutritional guidelines be ignored"

    "To let them be ignored"? Are you actually advocating that the federal government be given the power to make sure individuals in a free country don't "ignore" the nutrition guidelines? It sure the heck seems you are saying that.

    December 6, 2007 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  11. John D

    Seat belts, helmets, driving 55 MPH. How many good ideas have turned into mandates? Didn't I read somthing yesterday about the Congress passing a bill to mandate what may be served in schools?

    December 6, 2007 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  12. James, Bowling Green, KY

    Thompson is right. It is NONE of the federal government's business (or anyone else's, for that matter) to make your individual food choices for you.

    I agree that people need to start exercising (and I don't just mean in the physical sense) some personal responsibility for the food choices they make.

    As a previous poster noted, if you need the government to make your decisions for you, then you're beyond help.

    December 6, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Coleen

    dont let the government tell me what to eat but by all means MAKE teh government tell me who to marry. perfect sense.

    December 6, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Mike, Rockville MD

    The important point here is that Mr. Thompson understand what "federalism" is and why it's important. A "mouthwatering" buffet is just an example to make his point.

    Colleen, what do you mean the government can decide who you can marry? You're free to marry anyone of the opposite sex by mutual consent... as long as it's not a brother or close cousin.

    Ooops. Sorry to bring up that annoying little thing known as 'precedent'.

    December 6, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Mike -- Harriman, TN

    Amazing that some American's actually think the government should dictate everything about our personal lives. Keep the message coming Fred - some of these liberal idiots may finally get the point that we are a free people, in a free country – with a high level of personal responsiblity. VOTE FRED in 2008!

    January 16, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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