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)

    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 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  2. Chris C/S, CO

    As always Fred, absolutely right!

    Preventative care and wellness is rightfully and exclusively part of parental rights and responsibilities taught in the home while young.

    Which of our many nanny elected officials are again avoiding the many critical issues we put them in office to do by dictating what we eat??

    Perhaps, if we hadn't allowed judicial and legislative activism to dismantle the family as a functioning foundation of our society this ridiculous question wouldn't be raised.

    Give the adults a break here, elect a President who understands freedom and rightly expects self-accountability from noble American citizens...Fred08!

    December 5, 2007 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Honestly, it is responsiblity of people to know what they are eating, what is in the food they are eating and what are the best foods in what proportions to eat. That is what the government should be doing. It seems that if people are TOO STUPID to understand what the government is trying to do, then there should be some rules that teach people how to eat. Why you ask should this be done? Because it generally ends up the government picking up the cost of some of these people who have heart attacks and other problems as well as people complaining that the government isn't protecting our lives. That is why the government needs to step in; that is until everyone understands what is responsible eating or they understand that they should not complain to the government to do something.

    December 5, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. Sheryl Springfield IL

    Fred is right, of course. I take this as a direct hit to Huckabee who wants the government to grow ten times larger than it is and become everyone's personal nanny. Meanwhile, Huckabee's son looks like a tub of lard and slit the throat of a stray dog and then stoned it to death. Keep up the fight Fred. Huckabee, go back home.

    December 5, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Fred, RTP, NC

    If the govt is expected to provide universal healthcare(coming like it or not)..then it is in the govts interest to tell you what to eat.

    You are only as healthy as what you eat. Smokers health insurance costs should be tripled.

    December 5, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Capn' Stevo, Little Rock, AR

    I'll tell you what Fred Thompson is: A Patriot! He is one of only two candidates that I would call such a name. Why in the world do I want the gov't to tell me what, when, how, or why I should/shouldn't do something? I am a free person, a free thinker, an AMERICAN CITIZEN! We need to stand up and say to the gov't that we believe in the Constitution and we believe we have a right to privacy, a right to be free from unreasonable searches/seizures, a right to due process, a right to bear arms, among others, and if they don't stop arbitrarily taking these rights away little by little, there is going to be a revolution, a REVOLT!!!! Go Fred, tell them how it should be!

    December 5, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. JD Chicago,IL

    Maybe 3% in NH but 2nd in SC.

    December 5, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Richardson, Arlington, VA

    Thompson is absolutely correct – the federal government has much more important things to spend tax revenue on that imparting advice that will most generally be ignored anyway. Anyone who doesn’t already know that lard, soda, cigarettes are part of a lifestyle will (eventually) kill you is either an idiot or a living in a cave.

    December 5, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Alex Memphis, Tn

    I'm sorry but he's right..
    The Federal Government cannot mandate Personal Responsibility!

    It's not my fault I spilled my coffee, it's MCDonalds fault for making the coffee to hot!

    Just because I eat fast food twice a day doesnt make it my fault I'm fat, it's the fast food company.

    People need to accept control for their own lives

    December 5, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. Troy, Atlanta Ga

    Funny how ppl quote only his NH poll numbers, not IA where he's running 3rd with 15%, or national numbers, where he's in a dead heat for 2nd along with 3 others. He must really scare some people.

    December 5, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. Big Block, Grand Rapids, MI

    Hey Zhang – We (read PARENTS) have the responsibility to teach kids about brushing teeth and other personal hygenics. The federal gov't has no responsibilty to teach gym class or drivers ed class. That is local. Fred is not the once confused, you are.

    December 5, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Tim Kinney Gainesville, Florida

    That's fine Fred. So get the FDA off the backs of the Nutritional Supplement industry, and tell the Department of Agriculture to stop harassing our raw milk dairy farmers. Quit telling us we have to Nuke our organic almonds and greens. Oh yeah, take that goofy food pyramid and put it where it won't get so much sun!

    December 5, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. JB Hull, IA

    anyone here seen the movie "supersize me?" The things our children are being fed by federally funded food programs are appalling. We most certainly do need to think about prevention, especially in our schools. What a moron.

    December 5, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. Tony M, Savannah

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

    Yes, PARENTS should be teaching their children about hygene, fitness, and proper driving. They shouldn't be putting off their parental responsibilities on the federal government.

    December 5, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Jason, Bremerton, Wa.

    Regardless of your thoughts on Fred he is correct. It is not the job of government to be your parent and tell you what to eat. Our government, lead by congress, has strayed so far from the Constitution it's a joke.

    December 5, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. Derby City Espresso, Louisville, KY

    Fred Thomson needs to go back to playing an actor in Hollywood. I give his performance as a candidate a big thumbs down. I actually hope he stays in the race because we can always use more laughs around the office.

    December 5, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. JP, Huntsville, AL

    Interesting that most of the negative remarks here are from left-leaning, “I need the government to take care of me”, blue states.

    December 5, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |

    I'm a hell of a lot more worried about government telling me what to think or monitoring my emails than supporting programs that would keep our kids from looking like beached whales. The GOP is out of touch with America.

    December 5, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Mike Voncannon

    So, saying (as Fred did) that it's the responsibility of parents to control what their kids eat instead of the government is wrong? Besides he said it's not the government's PRIMARY responsibility. As I read it, he thinks the government should put the information out there, but after that everyone has a choice. How is choice bad?

    December 5, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. wtsane

    Okay listen up all of you self absorbed, the government can fix anything types. Fred is right. No, as it happens we (the government) shouldnt be in the baby sitting business, it was never intended to be. If we are the fattest nation on earth, it is because INDIVIDUALS lack self control, and no amount of goverment intrusion is going fix that. As to the three percent figure so touted by ninnies on thispost, that is three percent more than any of you have at the moment, so maybe you ought to think about that.

    December 5, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. Frank Shultz, Fort Wayne, IN

    Fred Thompson is correct. He's not saying you shouldn't eat well, he's saying the federal government should stay out of your business. Stupid, weak, lazy minded, big baby liberals can't grasp a simple concept. Freedom means you're free to make your own choices. Conservatives are the true
    defenders of freedom. Liberals want the gov. and the elitists in the gov. to tell them what to do. Liberals don't
    trust people and don't respect their decisions when it comes to food, money
    or even defending the unborn.

    December 5, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Fred Thompson, Redpickup USA

    "I think I just soiled myself little girl"

    December 5, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Ali, NY

    "We have far too many obese people to let nutritional guidelines be ignored."

    Wait a sec. What are you proposing, here? That people shouldn't have the freedom to ignore nutritional guidelines? That's a terrifying thought. What else are we going to strongarm people into doing? Shall we bring back Prohibition?

    December 5, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Ed, WY

    Fred is right, as he is on most issues. Less government, more common sense by people.
    Some of the responses here are apparently from the types that need to be led by the hand. "Don't eat that cookie, now, here have this nice tofu instead or Nanny State will be mad and spank." Pathetic.
    Do you want Hillery to wipe your *** too?

    December 5, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Randy Tequesta FL

    Fred is right, it's not in the US Constitution for the Federal Government to tell us what to eat or what not to eat. I realize that probably upsets the bog standard CNN reader, but it's the truth. People are too fat and not eating the proper nuitrition, it's their own problem and Washington's.

    December 5, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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