December 19th, 2007
12:21 PM ET
12 years ago

Thompson looking to catch fire in final stretch

CNN's Dana Bash takes a look at Thompson's big Iowa push.

DECORAH, Iowa (CNN) - Fred Thompson is suddenly trying to go from great GOP disappointment, to surprise contender, in record time.

“It's a little late in the process to be coy so I want to tell you that I believe I’m that man,” he told a 100 plus person audience in Dubuque, Iowa.

Thompson is on a 15 day bus tour to 50 plus Iowa cities – in the state nearly every day until the January 3 caucuses.

To watch his campaign is to witness a candidate trying to shake the rap that has no fire in his belly.

His red meat speeches are redder. His arguments for why he should be president are sharper.

“My friends I’ve been there, and I can tell you we are just one successful terrorist plan away from nuclear attack on this country,” Thompson tells Iowa voters.

“All the experts know that it’s the kind of world we live in. It’s not the time for on the job training.”

He even makes a point of lingering with voters after speeches, instead of escaping out a back door – a common criticism of Thompson.

Has he found his “mojo?”

“You know I've probably to a fault felt like I've had my mojo the whole time,” Thompson told CNN.

In an interview on his bus, Thompson, who declared his candidacy just three months ago, insisted he’s been “working hard for several months now.”

But in a moment of reflection, he said expectations may have been high because he is an actor.

“You know I think sometimes the media had the notion you know that because I'd been in the movie business that I'd be well scripted I'd be slick, that I'd be perfect, and it was a standard nobody else was held to but I think I was held to it and so they concentrated on the negative,” Thompson told CNN.

Full story

- CNN's Dana Bash

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    I think it's safe to say that Fred is a nonfactor right now.

    You hit the nail on the head, Steve from Illinois. Liberals have been trying in vain for years to make Republicans look like bad guys, but they are the biggest alarmists of all. They worry about the ocean rising two inches but have no problem with supporting the murder of innocent fetuses in the name of "choice" (codeword for "we won't take responsibility for our mistakes"). Also, Steve, have you noticed how often these liberals come in here calling Bush, Cheney, and pretty much all Republicans fascists, Nazis, bigots, and other evil names? They are trying to elicit alarm and, yes, fear, which is also "fearmongering." Can you say ironic?

    December 19, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. lou, Miami Florida

    if he wants to catch fire may I suggest some kerosene and a match because at this time it does not look good for Fred.

    December 19, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. scott, lithonia, georgia


    December 19, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. M.R. in L.A.

    Thompson is this cycle's Wesley Clarke – lots of hype before he entered the race but a loud 'thud' once he finally did.

    December 19, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Mark, Washington DC

    The only reason people thought that he, as an actor, could have any impact is because Republicans are grasping for the second coming of actor Ronald Reagan. Fred, you may be an old actor but you sure aren't Ronald Reagan. (And speaking of old, that southern drawl fear mongering of yours is waaaay past expired.)

    December 19, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. Lou ô¿ô Oklahoma City, OK

    When asked, "what is your favorite possession" Fredrick answered, "My trophy wife"...enough said, he's just a moron....of course any repulsivan is un-electable in '08...or we're all doomed....

    December 19, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Judy Beard, Dallas, TX

    This is the only candidate I cannot eliminate...and I start my selection process with the mindset: Who would I NOT vote for?
    Fred has been in the real world; he has no "agenda", he's known pain and heartache, and his objective to get us back to a decent standard of living and opportunity makes sense. He hasn't changed his stance on issues to suit whatever group he's speaking to, as some of his contemporaries have. And he is not a second or third generation policitican..haven't we had enough of that?

    Folks, we have had some really bad actors in the White house; not a one of them came from Hollywood.
    Fred has to be considered a legitimate choice for people who are sick of the politician du jour we have had the past several years.
    Fred has my vote.

    December 19, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. mark wilkes barre PA

    Nothing but cheap shots and bad oneliners here,,, Isnt fred like way down in the polls back in 4th or 5th for the reps,, So,,, why ??? you libs are supposed to be the compasionate party aren't you ? Wonder why liberals are always on the losing side of the arguement all the time ?????????

    December 19, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Axel, RKDA, California

    It's a political first in America! Forget running... Fred Thompson is walking for President.

    December 19, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Tony, Wilton, ME

    Guiliani is a moderate??? ROTFL

    Rudy is scarier than Dubya.

    You want moderate – look no further than Obama. He, of all the candidates, is a centrist. Sadly, he'll have problems in the primaries because most moderates are unaffiliated and, except in NH and maybe a few other states, only registered Dems can vote.

    BTW – I'm a lifelong liberal and not an elitist. I leave that label to the families involved with the House of Saud.

    December 19, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Dave-o, Honolulu HI

    Catching fire is usually what happens before the "crash and burn"

    December 19, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. John Allen Boston, MA

    You've always had your MoJo? Right Fred, and Rocky Balboa is still in his prime. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

    December 19, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Ken, Suitland MD

    Take a very good look people. The [R] candidates are showing you their true sides. There is this lead article, in which Dead Fred continues the right-wing's shrill and empty fear-mongering "My friends I’ve been there, and I can tell you we are just one successful terrorist plan away from nuclear attack on this country". A Netscape News article indicates: "Romney Aligns Himself With Bush in Iowa". And there are many other quotes and articles along the same vein from the [R]candidates, all out there for you to read.....their beliefs and policies in their own words.

    For those of you who thought there was going to be a [R] presidential nominee that offered a different direction than Bush, THINK AGAIN. LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE IN FRONT OF YOU. These [R] candidates are all pandering to the 33% of the populace who actually think this turd-burgling administration
    is doing a good job! Now beware that the rhetoric from the winning [R] candidate to emerge from the primaries will veer towards the center for the general election. But you only need to think back to the recent Bush experience: I'm not aware of any president in my lifetime to go back on so many of his campaign promises as Bush did; and the ones he went back on were largely those that were designed to get moderates and independents on board. That sure has worked out well for this country. Which of you were duped?

    If you are a moderate or independent, or even a thoughtful "conservative" in the true sense of that word (that is, if you are part of the 67% of the public that can actually think for themselves) you need to sort the fiction and lies from the facts in this upcoming campaign.

    That Bush was ever elected was a shame; that he was re-elected was an abomination; that his policies would be re-elected yet again for a third time, helped by further deception and lies from the [R] party, is abhorrent to every principle this county stands for. If Americans cannot choose to turn away from the obvious and documented problems, lies, and abject failures of this right-wing-nut led mess, then we are at much more danger from within than from any outside threat.

    December 19, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    Don't worry about trying to get your "mojo" bac, Fred. At your age I would recommend a little blue pill.

    Why is this man still here? He's a waste of good air time.

    December 19, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Chris, Los Alamos, NM

    Fred is RIGHT, as always!

    Go FRED. Go!

    Putting my $ where my mouth is...

    December 19, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. Jen, Cedar Falls, IA

    I think Fred is a great and very smart accomplished man. I have a lot of respect for the hard work he has done for our country. However, his late-coming and lack of passion for this run make me a little disappointed in him. You mean well and thanks for trying to hang in there, but we need a strong, passionate leader who will be energetic and not try to scare the pants off of everybody. Goodnight, Fred. Pleasant dreams and God Bless.

    December 19, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  17. C.K. Justus WI

    The only way Thompson is going to catch fire is if he stands too close to the stove or fireplace.

    December 19, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. John, Lincoln, NE

    These postings are all very enlightening. Thanks. I feel safer already. Of course there's nothing to worry about. Everyone loves us. Nobody would ever try and attack us or our way of life. We should absolutely reduce our military presence in foreign countries and scale back our military spending. We could more wisely spend that money on making sure that everyone had to depend on the government for health insurance.

    In case you haven't heard Social Security is fine too. The money will last forever so don't worry yourself about changing anything.

    And all of that hype about illegal aliens? Propaganda pure and simple. It's not that big of deal. In fact we should let anyone enter the country anyway they want. Citizenship smitizenship. We have so much money we can pay for all of the illegal's healthcare and education without them contributing a dime to the tax rolls. That boarder patrol stuff is just a waste of money anyway. Again, who would want to come here just to hurt us? Everybody loves us.

    That document that our founding fathers put together, you know the one, the Constitution. It's in great shape too. Sure, it's original purpose was to limit government but that's so old fashioned. The judges are right to interpret it to mean that it's actually okay for the government to take private land from one person and give it to another as long as they believe it will benefit the community. And the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness never meant to include babies anyway.

    Yep, it's all good.

    I bet it’s nice being an ultra liberal. You can preach tolerance but only practice it if you are tolerating someone or something you agree with. You can attack and name call because you are enlightened and sensitive so, if your doing it, it must be for a good reason. Plus, you sleep good every night because you never know what it feels like to be accountable for your actions. Everything just takes care of itself, right? If you keep saying something enough times it’s bound to become the truth. God bless the Clintons.

    Thanks for setting this poor old, backwards, working class Midwestern boy straight. I’m going to quit reading books and newspapers and just listen to you all tell me what to think. What time is American Idol on?

    December 19, 2007 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  19. Daniel ~ Longview, WA.

    Good luck with that....

    December 20, 2007 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  20. Independent in IA

    Poor Fred....can't sing, can't dance, can't act, can't legislate effectively...seems he wasn't even that great a lobbyist. Only thing he shows a modicum of talent in is making people laugh at him.

    December 20, 2007 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  21. John, Hartford,CT

    Ron Paul wouldn't know liberty if Jefferson beat him with a copy of the Constitution.

    Ron Paul said in 1992 "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action"

    Ron Paul said "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal,"

    Libertarian? Hardly.

    A conservative Libertarian is both Republican and Libertarian. Its called Right-wing libertarianism of which Paul is credited but does not live up to.

    Fred is a Federalist true and true.

    December 20, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  22. John, Lincoln NE

    Great post Ken from MD. It’s always interesting when informed people, such as yourself, throw out general accusations hoping they will stick.
    “I'm not aware of any president in my lifetime to go back on so many of his campaign promises as Bush” – Really? Could you take a few minutes to list these “campaign promises” that he went back on? Since you are stating this as fact you should have no problem being specific.
    “..the obvious and documented problems, lies, and abject failures..” – Please detail these. The obvious documented ones should be easy.
    Since we are quoting poll numbers could you please compare the president’s approval rating, which you were able to tick off the top of your head, with that of the Democrat lead Congress and Senate? I’d be curious to find out what you come up with there.
    Remember, just the facts. No fiction or lies from one person who thinks for themselves to another.

    December 20, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  23. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Thompson couldnt catch fire with a gallon of gasoline....

    December 20, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Ajay Jain

    Iowa Rep. Steve King who was backing the one percent Tancredo is now endorsing Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson sure is catching fire:

    GOP is still looking for some Godly inspiration. Hucabee is well ahead in this game. If Hucabee is the GOP answer to their prayers then Hillary will have the Presidency sealed in 2009.

    December 21, 2007 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  25. mark wilkes barre pa

    John lincoln NE,,,,, didnt think you would get a response from rhetoric throwing ken,, as usaual the haters cant back anything up with cold hard facts the just spew what there professors tell them or where ever they get there info from

    December 21, 2007 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
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