January 23rd, 2008
02:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney: Thompson dropping out benefits me

TAMPA, Florida (CNN) – The day after Fred Thompson announced he was dropping out of the presidential race, Mitt Romney told reporters he believed he had the most to gain from the former senator's exit.

For the Republican party to hold on to the White House, said Romney Wednesday, “I think you have to have social conservatives on board, as well as economic conservatives and foreign policy or national defense conservatives.

"I speak to those three groups. I think Fred Thompson did as well and in some respects his departure from the campaign I think inures to my benefit.”

He added, “I will miss Sen. Thompson's humor at our debates, he is a delightful character.... I appreciate his contributions to this campaign.” The two men often tangled on the campaign trail, with Romney often on the receiving end of attacks from Thompson.

The former Tennessee senator hasn’t said whether he plans to endorse any of his former opponents, including close friend John McCain, and it's unclear which candidate his former supporters might now embrace.

The most recent polls, which were conducted before Thompson ended his run, showed Romney neck-and-neck with McCain in Florida's GOP presidential race.

- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt

Filed under: Florida • Fred Thompson • Mitt Romney
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Stephani

    Vote Mitt Romney for President and you will have contributed to America's success! Romney/Thompson a winning combination.

    January 24, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  2. Dee

    I read that it was Huckbee that made that comment . Since surfing the net and reading comments from CNN reporters I noticed a lot of comments by the canadates twisted around. Please stay accurate. McCain is the biggest liar of all yet you don't say much about him.

    January 24, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  3. Butch

    Sure PRETTY BOY Mitt the FLIP you love yourself !!! RON PAUL is for us and OUR COUNTRY !!!! SAVE AMERICA VOTE RON PAUL!!!

    January 24, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  4. RB, from the bay state

    Great news!

    Now Mitt can throw even more of his personal fortune away in his quest to finish second, either in the primaries or the general election.

    Go Mitt!

    January 24, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. Jufus, Milwaukee, WI

    Mitt has my vote!

    McCain can't even beat the Viet Cong, much less win an election – tired old fart!

    January 24, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  6. Jim, SC

    Thank you Duncan Hunter for your insight, you too are a man of distinction and integrity. Mike Huckabee is the only candidate that has a chance in the General Election. Mike Huckabee inherited a fiscal nightmare in Arkansas; the infrastructure was on the verge of collapse. Let us not forget, "read my lips, no new taxes" after which was that largest tax increase in history. The American people have to realize that in order to recover from the last 7 years that sacrifice will be mandatory. The difference will be that Mike Huckabee will be honest and straight forward with the American people, which is what we expect from our President.

    Mike Huckabee is the only candidate running, from either party, that will place people above politics. With our troops being shot at and killed on foreign soil, I don't want my candidate taking pot shots at opponents; stick to the issues or stand down. Neither do I want my candidate having a short fuse while focusing on long term solutions and goals for the Country.

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb debating on what to have for lunch, Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote.
    "Benjamin Franklin"

    January 24, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. Mike

    Ron Paul is the only candidate to consider.

    Read the Comptroller General's warnings about the economy to see why Ron Paul is the only candidate that can bring America back again.

    January 24, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. me

    Romney? McCain? these guys are not conservative, and barely even count as a true republican... Anyone but Ron Paul, and we are done with.... Mark my words.

    PS: Dick/Bush – Prison 2008

    January 24, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I doubt that this will give much of a boost to Romney. I think that it will give more of a boost to Huckabee. I just don't think that there would be more going to Romney, but some will. There might be some that also go to McCain from the remains of the Thompson campaign. It is clear that the supporters of Thompson aren't all going to go to one place.

    January 24, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. Scott

    Romney cannot win the general election. He's the same kind of "the truth is less important than winning" candidate that Hillary is. I have never voted democrat in my life but Mitt Romney will NEVER get my vote, even if he is the eventual nominee. If I end up with a choice between Romney and Hillary I will likely waste my vote on an independant candidate as I simply cannot in good faith cast a ballot for either of them.

    January 24, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Nat, Brooklyn, NY

    Romney is just one last choice left for real conservatives. To choose a less evil, we have to elect him. His flip-flopping equal to McCain's "I got it..." on immigration issue, but Romney is a businessman , not a military minded POW as McCain. We need a real fiscal conservative in the office, not an another "clone" of G. Bush.

    January 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. larry smith

    'The RINO's will start jumping ship soon. The test between conservatives and the hanger ons who benefit only from certain things conservatism brings to the table are causing RINO's to rear their ugly heads. The party faithful won't be fooled though, and even Huckabee's evangelicals know which side their bread is buttered on. If Romney wins Florida, McCain is toast, and he knows it. His pandering ways with the veterans, fly only because of his war record, but are still in reality quite unflattering to the party, and our military, as I presume his presidency would also be. His loyalty to his party has been a self promoting roller coaster ride. Now he comes to his party with hat in hand and says, let me fool you one more time, and I promise everything will be ok. Forget that I was willing to destroy the party's coalition strength to further my own career. Or that I was willing to tag team the party's real conservative candidates with Huckabee to get my foot in the door. I promise to be a good conservative now. And the scary part is that the RINO's are saying, "yea, we can get get alot of conservatives to salute that flag, let's go for it". Time for the republican party to show it's real colors, red, or PURPLE.

    January 24, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Larry

    I am one of the people that don't think flip flopping is such a bad thing. Here we have a president that does not change his game when he should know he is wrong. There is nothing wrong with a new guy like Mitt that remains analytical and is willing to change his mind in the face of new information that proves him wrong. That is what I want, someone that knows when to be firm and when to be flexible in the face of new information. Call him flip flop Romney all you want, but he has my vote.

    January 24, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Number 1

    Mitt Romney is the only candidate who actually can "change back" the American economy and world position of respect, deference and leadership. The other candidates are simply hyperbolic extremists who have not done anything great. Giuliani is the only other candidate, other than Romney, who possibly has the qualifications to truly move this nation forward in a positive direction. The issue with Giuliani is that he does not have the moderation necessary to reach compromises based on the status quo and fellow politicians. Romney comprises the ideal balance of intelligence, leadership ability, experience, attention to issues that are actually important to the success of the nation, and a real record of unbridled success. Who cares if he changed parties. People accused John Kerry of flip-flopping and Al Gore of arrogance, and look what they got.

    January 24, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Daniel Mathews

    A vote for Huckabee is a vote for a Bigot.

    I am not surprised the mainstream media is ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room, but I AM surprised it doesn't come up more in online forums.

    Huckabee probably would not have run, and certainly would not have had any support if not for the Romney Campaign. His backbone of support has been conservative Christians who hate/fear Mormons. They Jumped on the short-lived Huckabee bandwagon because of their bigotry. Huckabee has pandered to a few other groups here and there, like his endorsement of the Fair tax., but...

    In the end, Huckabee's most resembles the last Arkansas Governor to become president. Instead of Slick Willy, they want Fast-talkin' Mikey.

    Romney gets the so much negative attention from the media because they are terrified of Mitt Romney. He is so competant that they know he will get a lot done.

    January 24, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Chris- VA

    I wonder if anyone is going to connect the dots between the obvious lack of finacial stability and credibility in the campaigns of all the other GOP canidates and thier bold statements concerning thier ability to fix our economy. Ironic at best is that the one individual that has proven time and time again to be a financial wizard in both the private sector and the government is also the only one with an abundance of resources still. Mitt Romney, please save our economy. I'd also like to give credit to Mr. Romney for being the first canidate to realize that the economical issues plaguing us now are going to pale in comparison to the solvency crisis unfolding. Another shining example of his foresight into the true mechanics of our economy and how things will play out in the near and not so near future.

    January 24, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. David

    Ben, and idiot biggots like him are the problem for Mitt. The fact that he is Mormon is seriously hampering his campaign. That is a sad indicator that many Americans don't truly believe in freedom of religion, even though anyone with any religion should be very grateful for that freedom.

    There has been so much hate speech all over the web for the past year about Mormons, and most of it has been from so-called Evangelical Christians. This type of speech shows nothing but ignorance and hypocrisy!

    We are not electing a minister, we are electing a president. Mitt Romney is by far the best candidate FOR PRESIDENT we have as Republicans.

    January 24, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. TJS

    "Money Romney" would never get my vote. And to Daniel Mathews, you seem to be the bigot here. Nobody was even talking about Huckabee. Starting to sound like the democrats big fight about bigotry. Leave it there.

    January 24, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. jackie, california

    Mitt Romney for president. He's the most honest and capable candidate running for either party. He has the support of all his family, which is more than you can say for some of his opponents. If anyone can save this country, it is Mitt. He knows how to get things done. He has money because he knows how economy works. Go Mitt.

    January 24, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Lisa S

    Thompson supporters need to support Ron Paul. He is the most intelligent, honest, and consistent candidate running. He is not part of the system that is ruining this country. Wake-up America. He is always right in the beginning. He said going to Iraq was bad idea. He has warned about the economy and knows what it will take to fix it and he is willing to do what is not popular in order to do what is right. We need something different and that is Ron Paul.

    January 25, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
1 2