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. Jim, Fishers, IN

    'A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years.

    These nations have progressed through this sequence:
    from bondage to spiritual faith
    from spiritual faith to great courage
    from courage to liberty
    from liberty to abundance
    from abundance to selfishness
    from selfishness to complacency
    from complacency to apathy
    from apathy to dependency
    from dependency back to bondage'
    –Alexander Fraser Tyler (1742-1813)

    December 5, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Thomas, Phoenix, AZ

    The same people who advocate that government should "stay out of the bedroom" will nevertheless invite them right on in to the kitchen table. Hypocrites to the bitter end....

    December 5, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. owl06, NY, NY

    Oh please – what pandering. People are free to make their own food choices. That has never been at issue.

    Trans Fats are an artificial substance that cause great harm to the human body. They can be regulated like any other chemical. DDT was banned for a good reason, and so too should trans fats. Your grandparents did not grow up eating trans fats.

    Otherwise, there is an obesity crisis in this country, and the government CAN help – especially in the schools. The cost of not doing anything raises the cost of healthcare for us all.

    December 5, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. therealist

    Less government = Less taxes = More freedom

    December 5, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Nic, Dallas TX

    Pete, you're a journalist. I shouldn't be able to know what you think...yet, I do.

    December 5, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Ken Taylor, Roanoke, Virginia

    Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, and Stupidity; What's the difference?

    December 5, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Erik, Bowie, MD

    I'd also add, that Fred Thompson is addressing a non-existent issue here. The only instance of any government in the United States telling you what to eat relates to the issue of trans-fats in some of our processed food. Trans-fats are not naturally occurring, but rather, are a product of chemical alterations made to processed foods in order to prolong shelf life. When companies chemically alter food to thicken their bottom line, at the expense of our waist lines, that is a public health issue.

    December 5, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Stephanie, New Hampshire

    The "I wish somebody would do something about how fat I am!" crowd needs to understand one thing. I am not put on this earth to pay your way. I'm trying to make my own ends meet and shouldn't have to deal with the added financial burdon of millions of scabs who make more on welfare than the illegals make working and a busy-body government bent on making choices for you.

    I can't wait to see how much universal healthcare is going to cost us when we can't straighten out social security and medicare. It's probably more efficient in Canada than it will ever be here.

    Fire all the thugs. I wish Fred had a chance. He's the only candidate that doesn't care what anyone thinks of him and says whatever he wants to say.

    December 5, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Dave, Pensacol, FL

    When liberals start name-calling, it usually means a conservative just did something right. Before this, I've never payed any attention to Thompson. Maybe it's time I checked him out.

    December 5, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. RJ DOG, Seattle Wa

    WHY NOT !! They tell you every thing else. If We only all would do as the Government wishes, all our cares would just go away.

    December 5, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Eric - Upstate NY

    I agree that the government shouldn't tell people what to eat. It's a parent's duty to teach their children the proper way to eat... but for all you wonderful hardcore republicans out there, why are you for the gov't telling us that it's not right to get an abortion? Gotta love double standards.. If you're not going to meddle in people's business then DONT!!

    December 5, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Dan

    Thompson seems to be the only politician running who is not afraid to be politically incorrect. Good for him

    December 5, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Michael Harrison, Rayle, GA

    Amen, Fred. Down with nanny government at all levels and up with individual liberty.

    December 5, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Aaron, Spokane, WA

    To Ba Gua Zhang:

    Government should not be doing any of those things. Parents should be the ones to teach kids what to eat, how to brush their teeth, and how to stay healthy. Good parents will do those things. Keep government out of our lives. Socialism is a disease.

    December 5, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Dennis Hyde, Maple Valley, Washington

    Who cares what NH thinks! They represent less than 3% of the US population. As for the Lib's ..... I'd Love to tell them what to eat 😉

    December 5, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Ginger, Albuquerque New Mexico

    Fred Thompson's points are well taken.

    Telling you what to eat or when to go to the doctor (John Edwards' "health plan") is not, was not and could never be intended as the function of government.

    As Fred notes, we have plenty of healthy food information. (too much, in fact) Applying that as individuals is (apparently) where the problem lies, not in government mandates or enforcement.

    So where's the beef ? Not to mention the fried chicken and the mac 'n cheese ? (hungry !)

    December 5, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. G.T. Dallas, Texas

    Daniel, NY
    Who really cares about New Hampshire except the people in New Hampshire. No way should they have a major say in who is going to be president. What do they have, 50 people in the whole state, yet all the candidates run to do their bidding. That is just flat wrong. The Demo. and Repb. parties need to rethink that piece of stupidity.

    December 5, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Richard Chicago, IL

    The Libs who've responded on this topic scare the hell out of me ! The people who scream the loudest that the government has no say in a woman's personal medical and healthcare CHOICES are now screaming the loudest for the government to make medical and healthcare CHOICES for EVERYONE. The astonishing thing is that the Libs can't seem to comprehend that their idealogies oppose each other on these issues. Kool-Aid drinkers one and all !

    December 5, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Kathleen, St. Paris, OH

    Go Fred! It is MY job as a parent to teach my children what is and is not healthy both physically and emotionally. I DO NOT want the government to take MY ROLE as a parent from me. Others on this blog appear to feel differently. I'm sure their tune would change if the government interfered in something they felt was important.

    December 5, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. David, Centerview, MO

    When is the Government going to take their own advice? Why don't they force Obama to quit smoking or force Ted Kennedy to quit drinking so much before they tell us to quit eating so much? Government needs to stay out of the people's lives. Fat kids are the parents' fault and problem, not the governments, and fat parents are their own personal problem, not the governments....make your kids go outside and play and stay off the dad gum video games.

    December 5, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. RNotR2 Langhorne PA

    Election are nothing more than the advance sale of stolen property. – HL Mencken

    December 5, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Matt Matlock, Redding, CA

    Any of you who use statements like "you liberals" or "you conservatives" must be very happy living in the safety of your own delusions. Send me a postcard.

    December 5, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Izzy, Philly, Penn

    Thank goodness. Im sick of being told what to eat. Finally, a smart person.XD

    December 5, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Jack Naples Fl

    Well I am from Arkansas and I brush my tooth daily

    December 5, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. KAL, La Mirada, CA

    Finally! A candidiate that actually understands the limited role of the federal government. And as a nice bonus, he believes in federalism, dual sovereignty, and freedom. We need more candiates like Thompson! -KAL

    December 5, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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