May 6th, 2008
09:25 AM ET
12 years ago

Fred Thompson makes debut appearance with McCain

Fred Thompson joined John McCain on the campaign trail Tuesday.

Fred Thompson joined John McCain on the campaign trail Tuesday.

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (CNN) - Fred Thompson made his first public appearance since dropping out of the presidential race Tuesday, using his conservative credentials to backstop a major speech Tuesday from presumptive Republican nominee John McCain on judicial appointments.

Thompson, seated behind McCain on stage and rocking back in his arm chair, grinned as McCain called him “an old and very dear friend” and made a few light-hearted references to Thompson’s acting resume.

“I know exam week involves some tough moments,” McCain told students in the audience at Wake Forest University. “Like when you're up at 3:00 a.m. and have to choose between studying or watching one of Fred's old movies.”

Aside from issuing a statement endorsing McCain, Thompson mostly dropped from public view following his loss in the South Carolina primary January 19, spending time with his family and re-signing with a talent agency.

Thompson’s appearance at McCain’s speech, along with that of former Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, was symbolically important for McCain, who is hoping to convince conservatives that he shares their philosophy on jurists. Thompson escorted Chief Justice John Roberts through the Supreme Court nomination process in 2005, and he regularly railed against “activist judges” on the campaign trail.

The former Tennessee senator began his day in Winston-Salem by eating breakfast with Olsen and McCain adviser Charlie Black. After the speech, Thompson will attend a fundraiser, then take a ride on the Straight Talk Express with McCain and reporters.

Filed under: Fred Thompson • John McCain
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is really one of those events where McCain tries to tell social conservatives that he is with them on things. He might say, "Oh, don't believe that maverick name thing. I'm one of you guys." Is he really? I don't that he is much anything now. I have concerns that he would be too much like our current president who doesn't know enough about many things.

    May 6, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. georgia

    McCain needs someone nearby to keep his ?recall? on track. Where's the squeaky soundtrack,Lieberman, or is he being a Dem. today ??????

    May 6, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. georgia

    From the looks of this picture ,Fred's not happy being near the nominee.????

    May 6, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Carol

    Might this mean there will be another sequel to Grumpy Olll...d Men?

    May 6, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. SPQR753

    WOW!!!!! Wwhat was that ? A geriatric conference???? What a laugh!!!

    May 6, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Thompson is an idiot. Bush set him up to be another "Reagan"
    and it didn't work! It was Bush that encouraged this idiot to run.
    And don't get me started on Guilani and the other Rep. idiots.

    May 6, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. White Independent

    But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment – in this election – there is something happening in America.
    There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit – who have never before participated in politics – turn out in numbers we’ve never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.
    There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common – that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what’s happening in America right now. Change is what’s happening in America.
    We are the ones we've been waiting for.

    May 6, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. AJ, IL

    It is amazing to see and compare the top 5 candidates in each party support the nominee (McCain) and front-runner (Obama). McCain has the support of Huckabee, Rudy, Fred, and Mitt, but not Paul. That's 4 out of 5!

    Obama has the support of Richardson and Dodd, but not Edwards, Biden or Clinton yet. That's 2 out of 5!

    What are you waiting for Joe Biden? Delaware voted for Obama already! Edwards what are you waiting for? If Obama wins, North Carolina, Edwards has no excuse but not endorse Obama.

    May 6, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Why did CNN not report the "atrocities of the Clinton's? Google
    The adultery was nothing in comparision to what these two
    people have done to our country. READ.

    They sell our jobs WHILE CAMPAIGNING!!!!!And set Bill loose
    at the White House and he won't have to walk far to "deal"
    with the "foreign lobbyist" who pay to The Clinton's Personal Millions!
    And Hillary can turn her fat head and say she didn't notice. They
    are selling us and our jobs.

    May 6, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Farren Ballanst

    Of course this is an audition for a role as McCain's V.P. They're calling it "Dull and Duller."

    May 6, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Pat Riot

    All I see here are jokes about old people. Keep in mind that the largest voting group in the country is our seniors. Why don't you liberals discuss policy instead of cranking out mindless zingers on a CNN blog?

    May 6, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Ken

    Wow. McCain and Thompson. Is that 'old' and 'older', or 'dumb' and 'dumber'?

    I guess 'dumb' and 'dumber' will describe the two voters who actually vote for McBush.

    The [R]s that Thompson represents are not conservative, they are right-wing. There is little that is truly conservative about right-wing [R]s - these people are selfish reactionaries in need of authoritarian guidance. If there is one thing worse than a left-wing reactionary it is a right-wing reactionary. I'm a [D], and I'll put up my conservative credentials any day against you neo-nuggets who continue to support Bush and know that McCain is just more of the same. That is, unless you construe "conservative" to mean continuing to do the SAME failed thing over and over again, hoping for a new outcome each time - but in my book, that's called insanity.

    May 6, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Fed_up2

    Fed_up2 my limit with meaningless so called "News". What a waste of hard drive space!!

    May 6, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. pj4521

    What a great face to put front and center for the gop, my goodness, talk about no country for old men...LOL. On a serious note, is it true that the combined ages of the wives of these two gems don't equal that of either one of them on their own?

    May 6, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |


    May 6, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Winghunter

    Just look at all the little minds and even smaller brains of snivelers.

    Fred Thompson offered change in 100% competency and ability where Obama or Clinton offers change in being completely incapable...just like their supporters.

    May 6, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Ken

    Chip old buddy. You neo-nuggets really are precious aren't listening to a baby speak its first words....cute, if you have no expectations of substance. I guess the best way to put this to the economically "challenged" is to put it in right-wing terms: "excessive profits" must be like "pornography" - everyone knows it when they see it. Now, as a supporter of your own so-called conservative judges and politicians, if you have no problem with our government regulating our personal choices regarding reading/viewing material, you certainly cannot have a problem with the government overseeing corporate profits. Or are you one of these [R] nitwits who is proud of your logical inconsistency! The problem is, you hypocritical right-wingers actually love "activist" judges and politicians, as long as thay are breaking the laws your way.

    May 6, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Uncle Sam

    We would be wise to judge a candidate based on his actions over the course of a lifetime rather than his rhetoric over the course of a campaign.

    May 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. kelly

    POW vs Drug Dealer...America will make the right choice!

    May 6, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Nan

    Oh, look! (chuckle, chuckle) McCain made a funny!

    May 6, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Marty

    I guess the liberal ideology is alive and well. Call names, point fingers, and plead yourself as 'victims' of the mean Republicans. If that is all the better the liberals are, count me out. Name-calling went out with childhood. Or at least with some. If you have cricitism, at least be adult about it. Calling an elected official 'dumb' or 'stupid' or worse, only shows your own shallowness. I would not want to be an elected official. It is a sometimes dirty, almost always unappreciated job that only gets a leader more stress and sorrow than it can possibly be worth. I admire those, Democrat, Republican, and Independent, who decide it is worth it to serve the ungrateful. They all deserve our respect.

    May 6, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
1 2 3