December 4th, 2007
04:52 PM ET
9 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. Anonymous

    Fred Thompson = Dinosaur.

    December 4, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Daniel, NY

    Fred Thompson gets 3% again in the latest New Hampshire poll. It really is time for him to leave the race and keep some dignity.

    December 4, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Ba Gua Zhang, Chico, CA

    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.

    December 4, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. jw, canadian,ok


    December 4, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. LDN, Florence SC

    Finally some sanity.

    December 4, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. David, Oberlin, OH


    Are you kidding me?
    This is what passes for journalism?

    December 4, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. Okie Doc, Tulsa

    Fred's absolutely right on. You cannot mandate that anyone brush their teeth, wear a condom or do push aways from that "mouth-watering" fried chicken! It's not the Feds duty to tell you squat, you are a free moral agent. Start acting like it and get these missing link bureaucrats off our necks.

    December 4, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Bill C, Chicago, Il

    Coward, liberal, liberal, liberal, conservative. The comments so far.

    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.

    But with liberals it becomes coercion so fast. In the New Year our exalted city council has banned smoking in bars. BARS! Chicago ain't CA. We will rebel. But with liberals it always starts out, "but what about the children." And ends up being their policies shoved down our throats.

    December 4, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Fred picks up the critical Gluttonous Slob vote and will experience a 0.00073% bump in the polls, bringing his support level up to 3.00073%. Well played!

    December 4, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    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.

    December 4, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    "— Fred Thompson wants the government to keep its hands off your dinner plate."

    **** however Republicans, especially the Christian right, don't hesitate to mess around in your bedroom, and your body ...

    December 4, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Sarah, AZ

    It's refreshing to see that CNN is indeed full of a bunch of no-brain leftists. You liberals really do make me wonder if you should be sterilized to prevent further damage to our country.

    December 4, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    This is probably the smartest thing Fred's said during the campaign... too little, too late.

    December 4, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. Bu Gu Zhang Zine, Chino, AZ

    Fred is simply making the point that it is not the job on the government to tell you what you can or can't do in terms of your daily life and activities. What an idiotic comment made earlier asking if we should not teach kids how to brush their teeth or teach driver education. Are you telling me that it is the government's responsibility to tell us everything that we have to do in our lives, including how to brush our teeth? I know that the federal goverment didn't come in to teach me how to tie my shoes. Fred lives by a different doctrine than many of the folks who post on this or any blog site, and that is the government should do only what the public (the people) or private sector (businesses) can't, won't or shouldn't do.

    December 4, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |


    December 4, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |


    December 4, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  17. Onion Sauce, Edgecombe-on-Sea, Thistlewick

    Hmmm, well unfortunately some families don't do a great job either. But of course, the government makes an utter mess out of it.

    December 4, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    What about a K-street good ole' boy like you Mr. Thompson? Should we trust your infallible belief system. Only listen to the will of the highest bidder. I'm sure you have already set up some comfortable agreement should you be elected, with big bribe business railroading the real america into the ground.

    December 4, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |

    Sometimes when I read what HRC wants the public to do, I just eat my feelings until I'm full.

    December 4, 2007 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  20. Tim, Atlanta, GA

    I never did Fred. Go Ron Paul!

    December 4, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  21. Pomme, Kouts, IN

    Amen! My parents taught me how to make choices for myself and that they all come with consequences good or bad. Keep the Government out of my decisions!

    December 5, 2007 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  22. Carson Minneapolis MN

    No, Fred. Nobody is demanding that the federal government tell you what to eat. What we are demanding is honesty and up-front, factual information about the chemically doctored crap that companies like Monsanto have forced into the food supply in this country. Given the fact that most people are, like you, too ignorant to know how and where to get healthy, non-genetically engineered food, isn't a good idea for the federal government to impose food information label regulations? That's one thing that I would love to see the government actually do, instead of cowering to gigantic corporations like Monsanto. The FDA has been a failure for years and that is the kind of preventative medicine that we need in this country. The saddest part is that consumers don't even know they have a choice. They just buy the crap food because it's cheap. Now, if these gigantic companies and restaurants were to fully disclose just what kind of things are in their food maybe the free-market economic philosophy that Republicans love to pay lip-service to would actually have a significant effect. If you want to talk about the major, possibly catastrophic threats that are waiting to emerge from our food production system, fine. But obviously you don't, so shut up and have another piece of fried, over-processed chicken!

    December 5, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  23. Kevin, Seattle, WA

    Well stated "Okie Doc." We should be thankful there are some candidates who still believe in personal responsibility in this country. God forbid it falls into the leadership of Nanny-State thinking liberals!

    December 5, 2007 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  24. Little Johnson

    Woman Hater...American Freedom Hater

    December 5, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |

    Most of the health problems are from ADULT parents not making their kids exercise and most adults not making themselves exercise either. Fred has it right, the feds should not be mandating if we keep fit or not. Or if we take care of ourselves or not. If your an adult and feel you have to be told to take care of your own health and you can't teach your children the same thing then seek help. For adults should not need their hands held by the federal government for them to seek a healthier lifestyle! Any adult that thinks we do need the government in our own life’s to mandate you to keep your own self fit and healthy that much, needs to grow up! And stop asking the government to hold your hands.. GO FRED!

    December 5, 2007 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
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