Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And Mitt on Immigration

The National Review has published an email that they got from Fred's campaign nailing down Mitt's past statements on immigration and laying out his record on immigration.

It is increasingly becoming clear that Fred intends to use this as the issue to differentiate himself from his fellow Republican candidates.

Fred to Meet the Press

The Politico is reporting that Fred will be on Meet the Press this Sunday. He will apparently be on for the entire show except for five minutes.

A great opportunity for Fred to get some good face time before the country.

The Problem with Giuliani on Immigration

Rudy told small business owners that illegal immigrants are a Federal problem and not a city or business problem. The method that Rudy would use for controlling illegal immigration is to finish building the fence and issue "tamper proof" ID cards to legal immigrants. Specifically he argued against the approach of challenging cities, states and businesses to handle the immigration problem.

I call this the "Crunchy Outer Shell" security approach. You build a very strong outer shell of security and then do nothing about what is inside that shell (kind of like a chocolate covered cherry). Those who have experience with computer security realize that this is approach does not work. If the immigrant is able to pay someone to get him through the outer shell (get across the fence and purchase a "tamper proof" ID card (because none are really "tamper proof"), then they will have free reign to do whatever they want inside the US.

You MUST have a combination of a secure border as well as making sure that once an illegal is inside the US that they have problems getting jobs and services. Anything else is doomed to failure. Building the fence is simply the first step. Then you have to start dealing with what is going on inside the border.

Rudy's approach is irresponsible. It is also pandering.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More on Huckabee

Several months ago, the Club for Growth did an assessment of Huck's economic position. They conclude:
Governor Huckabee's record on pro-growth, free-market policies is a mixed bag, with pro-growth positions on trade and tort reform, mixed positions on school choice, political speech, and entitlement reform, and profoundly anti-growth positions on taxes, spending, and government regulation.

While Governor Huckabee's record displays some flashes of economic conservatism, especially during his early years, the overwhelming evidence of his record and rhetoric over the past ten years leaves the Club for Growth and economic conservatives around the country to wonder if a President Huckabee would espouse the relatively pro-growth policies of Governor Huckabee circa 1997 or the anti-growth policies of Governor Huckabee circa 2004. While the Governor has made a concerted effort to defend his record, calling oneself an economic conservative does not make one so. His recent refusals to rule out raising taxes if elected President-the cornerstone of a pro-growth platform-perhaps indicate which path he would choose.

Fred vs Huckabee

Scott Miller at The Conservative Post has written an article talking about the fact that Huckabee may well be a Social Conservative, he is not a Fiscal Conservative (I would add that his protectionist talk falls into a different area: Foreign Relations Conservative).

The question is whether or not the Social Conservatives care. If the Social Conservatives just care about an "electable" candidate that is socially conservative, then they may not care that Huckabee is not conservative in any other way. On the other hand, if they look at other areas then they will reject Huckabee for someone else (I hope Fred).

I think that most social conservatives would be short-sighted to not include other areas as well. The reality is that the three areas overlap and effect each other. But then again, I think that many within the Social Conservative movement tend to litmus test candidates (e.g. they are really litmus testing Fred on the "Marriage Amendment" when his version of the proposed amendment will be easier to get passed, will achieve the same thing and is philosophically more consistent with the foundations of our government than the marriage amendment that they propose). The problem with litmus testing is that you lose the big picture for the sake of the small picture.

Here is my "big picture" question for Social Conservatives: which candidate do you think will stand on his principles, but yet be able to work enough with the opposing party to get those principles enacted into law?

If your answer is Ron Paul, then you are as nuts as he is.

If your answer is Huckabee, I would agree to a degree, but you will end up seeing social policy done more like what GW Bush has done rather than Reagan.

If your answer is Fred, then I would agree with you.

Another Take on Fred Barnes

Also in the Daily Standard, William Kristol wrote a companion piece to Fred Barnes take that it is between Rudy and Mitt. He paints scenarios for McCain, Huckabee and Fred to win. His larger point is that the election process is dynamic that the scenarios will change early and often.

Fred Barnes on Nomination Scenarios

Fred Barnes has written an article at The Weekly Standard saying that the Republican nomination is a two man race--and it is between Rudy and Mitt. His rationale is that the two of them have the only "credible" scenarios. I think Rudy's scenarios at this point are fairly apparent (winning big states--Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, etc.). Mitt's scenario is winning the early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc.) and then use that as momentum builders to win the nomination. (Is it "credible" when his national support is so low? Barnes thinks so.)

Barnes does not think FDT's scenario works out:
Thompson's scenario involves doing well enough in Iowa and New Hampshire to be a viable candidate by the time South Carolina rolls around and winning there. What then? Beating Giuliani and Romney in Florida and winning at least the southern primaries (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee) on Super Tuesday, plus Oklahoma and a few other states. But his strategy of running as the only "consistent conservative" hasn't stirred enough support to produce a credible scenario leading to the nomination.
First, I disagree with the drawing of his scenario. I believe that Fred is planning on winning Iowa--not "doing well enough". He is also, apparently, writing off New Hampshire. So I think the scenario is to win Iowa and South Carolina and using that momentum to carry him through the nomination process. I think winning the entire south is a very workable situation. Florida is another question, though if they lose half of their delegates I'm not sure that losing Florida is as big of a deal as it would have been before.

I have said before, I think it is entirely possible that Mitt wins NEITHER of Iowa or New Hampshire. I also think that figures into the FDT scenario for winning.

One last thing to note: Fox News in general and Fred Barnes specifically have not particularly been FDT fans. I'm not sure why. Even on the Weekly Standard page, a McCain ad runs right next to the FDT paragraph quoted above. I don't necessarily think Barnes is being objective here.

RealClearPolitics Analysis

Jay Cost has posted a two part series analyzing Fred's campaign. Part one covers what is right and part two covers what is wrong. Here are the links:

Thompson Goes Electric
...Without the Band

Basically Jay is arguing that Fred is breaking some traditional, "fake" rules of campaigning (like having to be at all of these debates and having 5 or more campaign stops per day, etc.). In doing so, he is getting a lot of free PR and makes himself appear to be an outsider. But if you are going to break the rules, you have to break them well. Jay contends that there have been some actual flubs by the campaign and he points to the 5 minute speech that Fred made in Florida and losing Hughes as an adviser in New Hampshire.

I think he general analysis is right on. While acknowledging that Fred HAS made some mistakes, I don't think that they are very abundant nor are they significant. For instance, I do think that the 5 minute speech was bad, but losing the adviser in New Hampshire is irrelevant. (Note, I do think that Fred has written off New Hampshire. He will do just enough to make it LOOK like he has not written it off. I don't see a reason for him to do much there anyway.) The other place that he has made mistakes has been the several times that he has admitted ignorance of issues. I don't think he should act like he has knowledge that he does not have, but there has to be a better way of saying, "I'll look into it" than stating that "I have no knowledge".

Most of these issues are Fred getting into the swing of the campaign. His stump speeches improved greatly within 2 weeks of starting the campaign. I think he will improve in other areas, as well. For instance, he completely negated one of his "no knowledge" statements and really produced a good positive by his discussion of the death of his daughter. He is continually getting better and it appears to me that his timing is very good. Fred is being patient to make sure that he peaks at the right time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Laura Ingram Interview

Here is a link to Fred's recent interview with Laura Ingram. I don't think it is Fred's best interview, but the part at the end is worth listening to. Laura is trying to get the point across that the "millions" of people that she talks to every day want him to be more passionate and (to quote an old friend of mine) "call a spade a spade". His response is that he does call out his opponents, but his style is not to get on the table and jump up and down.

There are many people that are dissatisfied with his approach since it is calm and collected. By the way, I think that is exactly the kind of President that you want--who wants to see the leader of the free world banging his shoe on the table at the UN? You rather want one who can keep his wits about him when chaos is reigning around him. As time goes on I think people will begin to see his passion. It is just demonstrated differently.

Jimmy Kimmel's Thompson Ad

Via Fox News here is the satirical ad that Jimmy Kimmel's group put together. Just a little humor for the weekend.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Road to the Nomination

Jim Geraghty at National Review's Campaign Spot has posted on the path that each of the big five (yes, Huckabee is included in his top teer list) would take to the Republican nomination. I think he has a pretty good analysis of the situation. In his section on Fred, he says:
I’ve said earlier that I have an easy time picturing the race coming down to Rudy and Not Rudy, and the Not Rudy candidate winning in the end as Republicans conclude they’re just not comfortable with a candidate with Giuliani’s flaws on abortion, guns, and gays. It’s in Thompson’s interest that he be seen as the most viable Not Rudy candidate as quickly as possible.
There are two ways that I believe that this can occur. First, is a very close Iowa. Even if Romney wins, having Fred come in a close second or even Huckabee coming in a close second weakens him. I think it is actually very possible for either Fred or Huckabee to win in Iowa. The second way is for Rudy (or anyone else) winning over Romney in New Hampshire. If these two things happen, then Mitt will no longer be the "Not Rudy" candidate. It is possible for Huckabee to slide into that role, but I do not really think that Huckabee has staying power in his current surge.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Democratic Party Press Releases

I find it interesting what the Democratic Party focuses on in their press releases. In the last week or so the Democrats has issued six press releases about Fred. Of course, most of their press releases have to do with Republicans running for President. Actually twenty of the forty-two press releases since October 9th have to do with the Republican primaries and candidates.

This doesn't even count the official Democratic blogs, which is what prompted me to write this. They have written a blog talking about Fred "changing his tune" on Presidential power. They are referring to the Nightline interview last night where Fred was shown his statements during the Watergate hearings where Fred suggested:
"I think obviously that in the future the president is not going to be the sole individual to determine what is a matter of national security," Thompson said at the Austin Peay State University campus in Clarksville, Tennessee.

The newspaper reported that "Thompson suggested the possibility of an executive and legislative committee to take on the task."
I find this grasping at straws (as if nothing has changed since 1974). But I think it is indicative that so much of the Democrat's energy is focused on the Republican's rather than on actual ideas. Of course, some of the Republican candidates seem to have the same problem. This is one of the places that Fred has a major advantage on his competitors. Rudy and Mitt seem almost preoccupied with running against Hillary. Fred is making the case for voting FOR him. There will be plenty of time later for defining Hillary.

FDT on Internet Taxes

Fred has a post on his blog praising Congress for extending the Internet Tax Ban.

Fred on Nightline

Fred was on Nightline last night. I got to see the interview, but I haven't seen the YouTube or equivalent yet. I liked it. But then again I like seeing Fred anytime, so I might not be anywhere close to objective on the subject. The good news is that he is getting PR. And the basic conclusion of the report was that Fred was not lazy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Florida Debate FactCheck

I finally got around to reading the FactCheck article on the Florida debate. For Fred, it is very good. The only item that FactCheck took him to task for was stating that 40% of the people pay 99% of the taxes, which is incorrect. He should have said "income taxes" rather than simply taxes. I suspect that most people would have understood what he was talking about.

On the other hand, Rudy and Mitt had numerous excesses. Here is the summary of the article provided by FactCheck:
Tongues were sharpened before Sunday night's GOP presidential debate in Orlando, with the candidates drawing blood right out of the gate. We found them factually challenged in several areas:

* Giuliani stretched till he broke, in calling Thompson "the single biggest obstacle to tort reform" in the Senate.
* Romney boasted of his Massachusetts health care plan and criticized Hillary Clinton's, although her plan is strikingly similar to Romney's Massachusetts program. He also falsely accused her of favoring "all-government insurance."
* Giuliani claimed the price of health insurance would drop more than 50 percent if millions more people purchased it directly, a statement unsupported by any evidence he's offered so far.
* Thompson said the most affluent 40 percent of Americans pay "about 99 percent of the taxes." Actually, they pay less than 85 percent, and also have nearly 74 percent of all the income.
* Giuliani made an inflated boast about bringing down crime in New York "more than anyone in this country – maybe in the history of this country." But the decline started before he took office, continued after he left, and even the FBI itself warns against attributing crime statistics to any specific cause.

Giuliani in Freefall?

When Fred's numbers started dropping there was a lot of press talking about his post-announcement bubble bursting and that he was sliding out of the race. You still hear a bit about that.

What has not been commented on is a steady down-trend in Rudy's numbers bringing Fred to 2% down in the latest Rasmussen poll.

Rudy peaked on 10/14 at 30% support and his been continually dropping and today (10/25) is down to 21%.

Fred's peaked at 28% several times, but the most recent was on 9/18, about two weeks after his announcement. On 10/10 he dropped to 17% and then stabilized and has since floated back upward toward 20%.

So both Rudy and Fred at various times have dropped about 10%. Rasmussen points out that this indicates that the Republicans are in a quite fluid race. That is true with Rudy and Fred. It is not true with Romney who has stayed in a very narrow range throughout the campaign (low of 9%, high of 17%, almost always 12-15%). McCain has also stayed in a consistent range (8-15%). Huckabee is the only candidate to make significant and consistent improvements since August, but is still only at 10%.

The part that is fluid is really Fred and Rudy!

There is plenty of time for a lot more movement, but I would rather be where Fred is than riding the trend that Rudy is on.

Fred in SC

Fred visited South Carolina and here is a news report of this visit:

I have talked with people that challenge the value of visiting small places like this small diner with just a few people present. One of those benefits is the great publicity that it garners. This local news story is quite valuable because it reaches a much larger audience than just the visit AND it goes around the national media which has its own storyline to tell. This is great news coverage for Fred.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fred on Law of the Sea Treaty

Contrary to thinking of Ron Paul supporters who say that Fred wants to submit the U.S. into a one world government, Fred has announced his opposition to ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty saying, "The Treaty threatens U.S. sovereignty and gives a U.N.-affiliated organization far too much authority over U.S. interests in international waters."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Details on Border Security

Fred has put out a more detailed plan for securing our borders. Highlights are:

- No Amnesty
- Double ICE agents and add 25,000 border security agents
- End sanctuary cities by removing discretionary funding for cities that formally support being a sanctuary city
- Focus prosecution of "coyotes", alien gang members and previously deported felons
- Make English the official language

There are several other items--take a look.

Journalism at its Finest

In my daily browsing for articles on Fred, I came across this one by John Frank at the St. Petersburg Times which reminds me how bad our "journalists" are. Try on a couple of quotes:
Like most good Southern yarns, the Fred Thompson story is steeped in legend. His small-town upbringing in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., is humble and distinct on a campaign trail worn by front-runners in suits that match their polished images.
But the story's potency is only as good as its authenticity.
So from the beginning of the article, Frank has already deemed that the story is "steeped in legend". So, let's look to see what is legendary and, by insinuation, not fact.
Confirming a tale from nearly 50 years ago is difficult, to say the least.
Can you tell where Mr. Frank is coming from here?
Interviews with more than a dozen folks in Thompson's hometown who either knew him or worked with him at the plant in 1960 indicate that his stump speech story is largely true.
No fire yet. Heck, no smoke yet. Mr. Frank then sites several specifics that he found someone to confirm. Now we come to the real stuff:
Few former workers can actually say they remember seeing "Freddie," as he is known in his hometown, working on the assembly line. But they recall he was one of the dozens of local boys who worked at the plant as temporary employees after school let out.
Hey, maybe he didn't work on the assembly line!
It's pretty well remembered that Thompson worked the graveyard shift, and some of the other working conditions he describes seem accurate.

Nelda Morrow, a 48-year veteran of the factory, said the noise of the presses stamping out steel parts could be deafening. And Ronnie Perry, 63, said factory bosses didn't make employees wear earplugs back in those days.

But no one can pinpoint what Thompson is talking about when he says he worked in ankle-deep water. The factory rarely flooded, though the large flat roof would sometimes leak.

"I don't know why he said that," said Doyce Shaddix, who worked at Murray for 43 years. "It wasn't like it happened all the time."
So there you have it. Mr. Frank couldn't find anyone to verify that there were times that the conditions included ankle deep water. I actually find it interesting that Ms. Shaddix's quote was "It wasn't like it happened all the time" which to me says that it did happen.

So here is an entire article dedicated to casting dispersions about Fred and it is all based on not finding anyone who remembers him standing in ankle deep water 50 years ago.


Fred to Announce Social Security Plan

The Palm Beach Post was present when Thompson announced that a more detailed Social Security plan will be announced next Monday.
Saying he's taking a political risk, Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said Monday he'll unveil a Social Security proposal soon that includes private accounts and slows the growth of benefit increases for future retirees.
This is the kind of boldness that Fred has hinted at since before he got into the race. I'm looking forward to seeing the details.

Fred's Breaking of the Rules

Jay Cost over at Real Clear Politics has written an article talking about why Thompson is being panned by the political elites and yet polling well. His basic answer is that Fred is breaking "fake" rules, but not the real ones. One example that he gave was the way that Fred announced his candidacy on Leno--he was panned for doing it, but it got him a lot of coverage.

Ultimately Fred is frustrating the media establishment by breaking their artificial rules.

Monday, October 22, 2007

FDT on Schaivo

Fred was given another opportunity to address the Schaivo case today and he gave an answer the really explains his initial answer. The interview was with Jake Tapper of ABC News in Florida today. It really sounds like a very emotional issue as he had to deal with a similar situation with his own daughter. It may or may not be the answer that "social conservatives" like, but I think most will be able to appreciate his position. I cannot think of a more difficult decision that a parent would have to make.
"I had to make those decisions with the rest of my family," Thompson said. "And I will assure you one thing: No matter which decision you make, you will never know whether or not you made exactly the right decision."

GOP hopeful Thompson said that "making this into a political football is something that I don't welcome, and this will probably be the last time I ever address it. It should be decided by the family. The federal government -- and the state government too, except for the court system -- should stay out of these matters, as far as I'm concerned."

Campaign Contributors

Small story by the AP talking about Fred's campaigning strategy. The article itself it more or less inane, but there was one statement by Fred that caught my attention:
Thompson pointed out he comes in second among Republicans in most national polls and has more than 100,000 contributors, despite making decisions that defy conventional wisdom.
The point that caught my attention is that his number of contributors is more than 100,000. On his Q2 filing, he reported just over 70,000 contributors. So in less than one month he has added 50% more contributors! Not bad.

In a connected story, there have been some reports of Fred paying $100,000 to join in on a Florida discussion and then only making a 5 minute speech before leaving for the debate. I don't know what exactly went on there (I haven't seen what I consider an objective account of the event), I noticed on the official site (I can't find the reference right now) that said that Fred had to be at the debate site over 4 hours ahead of time for his walk through for the debate. I wonder if the scheduling just did not line up for him going through a long speech.

The Florida Debate

I didn't see the debate live. But I have used my lunchtime and some other downtime today to watch the YouTube'd debate. The first ten minute segment can be found here--you can get to the other 8 segments from there.

My partisan analysis: as in the previous debate, Fred and Rudy did well. McCain did ok as did Huckabee. It all fell off from there. I thought that Mitt did a very poor job myself, though I have seen others that thought that Mitt did well. Note that I don't give credit for applause lines. The best lines were not delivered by Fred and Rudy (though they did have some good lines), but they did have the best content.

Fred was aggressive and he kept on the others without tearing them apart. The Fox team did a good job of keeping the debate lively.

In Fred's after-interview, he touched on something that I noticed that bothers me: everyone likes to talk about Hillary and Reagan. More effort should be taken to talk about the future of the party, which is an important topic. It is also where the distinction between Fred and Rudy comes into focus. Fred will take the party into a federalist and generally conservative approach. Rudy will be a strong leader, but will allow the Democrats to help write or negotiate the domestic agenda which will not be particularly conservative.

Fred on Hannity and Colmes

Here is the post-debate interview of Fred on the Hannity and Colmes after the Florida debate on Sunday. I think he handled himself very well here and his interactions with Colmes were wonderful.

What Conservative?

There has been a lot of debate on who the "real Republican" or who is "more conservative" than the other. It is a truly complicated discussion because it is hard to exactly define a conservative. The nature of the discussion, including yesterday's debate on Fox, has to do with social conservatism--positions on abortion, gun rights and gay rights (among others). There has even been a little bit of discussion regarding some tax and spending aspects of conservatism (i.e. the ongoing tiff primarily between Romney and Giuliani regarding who cut spending more or who cut taxes more--on increased either of those less).

Ruben Navrette of the West Central Tribune points out another area of conservatism that has not been addressed: trade policy.
The Republican candidates are having the right argument about the wrong issues, while going after the wrong people. True, there are Republicans running for president who, on some issues at least, sound like Democrats. But it’s happening in the areas of trade, protectionism and economic competitiveness. And that’s where Republican voters should be concerned, not with the litmus tests imposed by the social conservatives.

You only had to spend a few minutes watching the recent GOP presidential debate from Dearborn, Mich., to pick up on this dynamic. Centered on economic issues, the forum was filled with the sort of doom-and-gloom class warfare that we usually hear from Democrats who cozy up to organized labor.
Navrette points out the Republicans that sound like Democrats:
But the Democratic impersonators must have found it a constituency worth addressing. Ron Paul, a libertarian, condemned what he called a “transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class to the wealthy” and the fact that “you have more billionaires than ever before.” Duncan Hunter, a hawk on national security, lamented the “1.8 million jobs that have moved to communist China from the United States,” which he attributed to the fact that “we’ve fractured the great industrial base of this country and we pushed it offshore with bad trade deals.” Tom Tancredo, who rode his opposition to illegal immigration into the presidential race, complained about those countries that aren’t “playing by the rules” and “undercut American products around the world.” And Mike Huckabee, a favorite among religious conservatives, insisted that, for many Americans, the economy is “not doing so well” and they’re not sure that “the next day is going to necessarily be a great and prosperous one.”
He then pointed out that several candidates did not share that opinion, specifically Fred, Rudy and McCain while he points out that Romney plays both sides of the fence.

Here is my take: he is absolutely correct about the poor record on economic conservatism on the part of some of the candidates. But they are primarily second teer candidates--I think because of their positions on these issues. For me, you need to take both parts (or all three parts) of conservatism into account: who is a social conservative as well as a fiscal conservative as well as a trade and foreign relations conservative.

My scorecard is: Rudy, poor on social, fair on fiscal and very good on at least the foreign relations part of the trade and foreign relations. Mitt, fair on social, fair on fiscal, and who knows on foreign relations and trade.

Fred is good or very good in all three areas. Some may gripe about shades of meaning or people that he has worked with in the past, but when you look at what he proposes and what he has done, his record is solid. He will work for socially conservative ideals. He will pursue a conservative fiscal policy--and he is willing to talk about tough choices up front. He will work for a conservative foreign and trade policy. And he is the only candidate about which that can be said.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fred at Family Research Council Briefing

Fred has a contingent at the FRC Washington Briefing. Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic is reporting that Fred has a heavy contingent there. Apparently Fred wants very badly to come out of this meeting with strong support from evangelicals. He made comments talking about his "heart" meeting his "head":
"My political record and my head were always there, always has been there, but I must say that it took life's experiences for me to absorb the real importance of it all. I had been blessed early in my life when I was young...and I have been blessed when I was not so young. I've had the ultimate tragedy that a father can have and the ultimate blessing that a father can gave. With regard to Ms. Hayden, I can only say that after the first time in my life, seeing the sonogram of my own child. I will never think exactly the same again. I will never feel exactly the same again. Because my heart now is fully engaged with my head."

FDT vs Mitt, Rudy on Immigration

Fred is criticizing Mitt and Rudy as being latecomers to the conservative cause. The internet ad is aiming at abortion. In a discussion in Georgia, he hit them on immigration and sanctuary cities in particular. It seems that Fred is coming out swinging and aiming at Rudy and Mitt.

I think the reason is clear. At the debate, he was excluded from the actual "debate" (argument) and almost put into an "also ran" type category. He is engaging both of them in the discussion bringing him into even more relevance.

Mitt is the one that is getting ticked off with the accusations.
Romney, who was campaigning in South Carolina, answered back, arguing that as Massachusetts governor he authorized state police to enforce federal immigration law and threatened to veto a measure allowing undocumented immigrant students to pay the same in-state tuition at state colleges as residents.

"I've been running for president a lot longer than he has," Romney said derisively of Thompson. "I've been talking about sanctuary cities and illegal immigration from the very beginning. I welcome Fred Thompson into the race, but he needs to get in a little longer and look at the records of those of us who have been talking about these issues for some time."
Fred may be wrong on Mitt regarding immigration (though not on abortion), but the reaction is what I find interesting. What Mitt call "the very beginning" is the beginning of his campaign. Fred's basic point is:
"I was walking the walk when others weren't even talking the talk yet," Thompson said at an appearance with supporters in Georgia.

He said he voted in 1996 to outlaw sanctuary cities, where city employees are not required to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
So Fred is pointing out that his "beginning" goes back farther than Mitt's and Rudy's.

It is clear from an earlier post that immigration is a big topic for Fred.

Negative Ad?

Fred has released a web ad showing statements by Romney and Giuliani regarding their (and his) statements regarding their conservative / liberal leanings, particularly on abortion. For those of us who have paid attention to this campaign, there is nothing new here.

The Boston Globe has an article regarding this ad. The interesting part of the article is the response of a Romney spokesman:
Romney's spokesman, Kevin Madden, responded this way: “Interesting how the candidate who was the last one to enter the race is the first one to run a negative ad. But, that’s what happens to candidates who are without any new ideas of their own.”
This coming from the Romney camp? Oh well.

Here is my question: what constitutes a "negative ad"? If I say in an ad that "HillaryCare is a step to socialized medicine", is that negative? How about "Hillary is a socialist"? Both are true statements. Both have negative connotations. In an ad, I would not consider either to be "negative ads". If I said in the ad "Hillary is a deceiver and a liar", that would be a negative ad.

Yelling about negative ads is not a good move--and I don't think the Fred ads are particularly negative--they just point out positions of his competitors.

Fred on the Border

Here is an "Ask Fred" clip on the border fence. His main point: it is not a question of IF we can do it, but if we have the will to do it.

Click to play

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Details

As time goes on, Fred is adding more meat to the framework of ideas that he started with. MSNBC's First Read talks about Fred's speech today at the Club for Growth where Fred added ideas for reforming Medicare (basically adding a bit of a means test to the program--specifically adding higher deductibles for higher income seniors. He clarified that any changes would be for future retirees rather than anyone currently in the system.

He continues to talk about points that he has been making bofore: changing the AMT and Social Security and lowering the corporate tax rate to at least 28 percent.

This is a trend that I expect to see continue. Fred started with his big principle (Federalism). To that, he has added the issues section of his web site. These are not specific proposals (15 point plans, etc.) but rather general policy directions. Since that time, Fred has been slowly dribbling out specific policy proposals that are in line with those issues. As we get closer to the elections, I expect to see more and more details. Basically,

Fred is pacing himself. I like the approach.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Running Against Hillary

The Boston Globe quotes Fred as saying that the Republicans need to give voters a reason to vote for the Republican rather than running simply against Hillary.

Glad to see that someone (and FDT in particular) understand this principal.

Giuliani on Being a Republican

Here is a clip of Giuliani from his NYC mayoral days explaining his "fusion" candidacy. Very confusing, but consistent with Fred's recent comments that to the best of his knowledge Rudy has not called himself a conservative.

This does not necessarily go against what Rudy claims for himself. His qualification for the Republican nomination is that he is best suited to win based on the fact that he appeals to a broader base than Fred or Romney. That is the source of Fred's comments at the NY Conservative Party that conservatives do not win by becoming more like Democrats. One of the lessons of Reagan is that a plainly conservative message can draw Democrats and Republicans alike.

Note: saying that you are "fiscally conservative" (which Rudy has) is different from claiming to be conservative.

H/T Elephant Biz

Monday, October 15, 2007

FDT Primary Strategy

Fred has canceled a campaign stop in New Hampshire. Since Fred is a distant fourth in New Hampshire, it appears that he is conceding New Hampshire and focusing on Iowa and South Carolina (etc.). I think this is a sound approach. A more energetic effort in New Hampshire would help Giuliani win in New Hampshire. I think that would be a good result for Fred, but it could be that Romney really doesn't have a chance, so it doesn't matter if he wins there.

Jeri -- the Indiana Connection

I don't know why I didn't realize this. Jeri will be speaking at a California women's conference. The announcement says that she is a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle.

Fred on Cavuto

Fred was on Neal Cavuto's show today. As usual, Fred presents himself very well and spends most of the interview contrasting himself with Giuliani, in particular, and the rest of the Republicans as well as Clinton. He does so with grace and without rancor. He goes as far as saying that he would support any of the other candidates if he loses, but emphasizes that he doesn't lose campaigns.

Here is the video.

Friday, October 12, 2007

MSM Goal Revealed

I have noticed several articles recently talking about the amount of money that Fred has earned. A filing revealed at least some ranges of income that he has had from various sources during the last year. Most of his income came from acting and residuals from films and tv program reruns. But one other source has been talked about and the Politico has revealed the reason for the interest. Fred made between $100,000 and $1M by serving on the Board of Directors of Guggenheim Advisors, a financial investor for "ultra rich" clients. So what is the issue?
Thompson’s affiliation with Guggenheim in some ways bucks his efforts to cast himself as a good ol’ boy more attuned with regular folks than his competitors for the Republican presidential nomination.
So that is where they are going with announcing his income. Note that all the candidates have to make the same revelations, but I am only seeing articles on Fred.


FDT Gets Maryland Leaders

Top Maryland GOP Lawmakers are lining up behind Fred.

More Thoughts on Giuliani-Romney

MSNBC's First Read talks about the point of the Giuliani Romney spat. He points out the same two possibilities that I talked about in my post yesterday. Let me pose another possibility:

What if Giuliani wanted to bolster Mitt's standing in the race to keep the conservative vote split between Romney and Fred?

How would he do that? How about engage Romney like he was the only guy in the room indicating that you think he is your main competition?

By the way, Fact Check has more critiques on Giuliani's ummm inaccuracies on his credentials.

On a local note: some of Giuliani's claim seem very similar to Indy's own Peterson regarding police.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Romney-Giuliani Spat

At the debate this week, Romney and Giuliani aimed at each other over taxing, spending and the line item veto. I have been thinking about whether or not this was good for Fred. I have two lines of thinking:

On one hand, the guys fighting are generally the big dogs. They have the most to gain by knocking the other guy down. Not too many people try to destroy Ron Paul--there is nothing to gain by it. No one was trying to knock down Fred, except Matthews.

On the other hand, if you are not involved in the fight, then you are above the fray. This is the view of one commentator, John Fout at The Street:
Sometimes winning an election comes from not losing. If Romney and Giuliani hurt each other, Thompson could quietly wind up standing tall in this race.
I'm not sure which way will be the actual results--I hope that Fout is correct.

FDT's Facts Check Out

Fact Check is still processing through the Republican debate for whether or not the candidates used accurate information in their comments. The conclusion for Fred was that he was accurate:
Thompson stuck to the facts in his rookie outing. A number of his statements attracted our interest, but they all checked out.
Thompson was correct when he said of the U.S., "We have the second highest corporate tax penalty in the world."
Thompson corrected moderator Chris Matthews, who wrongly implied that the former senator had said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction "right before" the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
Thompson erred – but on the safe side – when he said, "We're enjoying 22 quarters of successive economic growth." Actually, the U.S. economy has grown for 23 successive quarters, according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And when preliminary figures on gross domestic product for July, August and September are released later this month, the official total is expected to reach 24.
Thompson also was correct about the effect of restraining growth of Social Security benefits for future retirees
Very good information from Fact Check. They went on to point out Giuliani had many errors:
But Thompson made it through his first debate without making any false or misleading factual claims that we could detect, while former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani committed multiple factual gaffes, adding to a growing list of misstatements.

Who is Your Candidate?

I found a TV station that has an online quiz to decide which candidate agrees with you most on the issues.

I took it and Fred and Duncan Hunter were tied for first on my quiz. Hillary, Edwards and Obama were tied for last.

Have fun with it, but obviously take it with a grain of salt. I don't think that you always support someone because of their position on issues but rather because of the kind of person they are or the style of leadership that would provide.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Levin on Fred

Mark Levin has posted a nice article over at National Review talking about Fred and Rudy.
This "senior moment" and "Fred Thompson-is-lazy" stuff is really starting to irk. I remember hearing the same comments about Ronald Reagan in every campaign in which I participated

I have spent some time with Thompson. He is intellectually curious and sharp. He is engaging and vigorous. Yes, he chooses his words carefully. He speaks in a southern accent. But the attacks on him appear to have a Northeastern-liberal-style feel to them, emanating largely from the NewYork-Washington, D.C axis. This is a man, after all, who worked sixteen hours a day in both television and radio.

Other Thoughts on the Debate

Fred has gotten some good and bad press on the debate, which tells me he did OK. The part that I liked best was when Matthews made a snide comment. The discussion was on government intervention into labor disputes. The initial question was whether or not the government should intervene (poor debate question), to which Fred said "No." He then went on to explain the role of government (put pressure on countries that are intentionally devaluing the currency). Matthews then said, "That took a long time. You said 'No', you should have stopped there." As Matthews started to move on to Giuliani, Fred retorted, "No one asked your opinion Christopher". There was a pause there which made me wonder if Matthews was about to lose it.

I saw a quote in a comment over at Redstate (comment #7) that reflects my feel on Ron Paul:
Then there's Ron Paul but why dwell on the halfwitted uncle that shows up at the reunion wearing his underwear on his head.
So I won't dwell on him...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Michigan Debate

I have been moving for the last few days and have had problems with internet access, so there have been things that I would like to blog that I haven't had opportunity to.

Today I am watching the Republican debate. I have been most interested in how Fred handles himself. Unfortunately the format (with so many people involved) really is not good for anyone making a mark for themselves.

The only person that has made a mark for themselves in my mind is Ron Paul--and not for good reasons. My gut reaction is "he's a nut!" He is out of sync with the Republican party. His position on the projection of power is wrong. His position on how to win over voters regarding Republican (or his own) vision of the economy is wrong. His understanding of the Constitution is wrong. His tone for speaking to the American people is wrong.

Since I'm not live blogging (I'm trying to work while listening) I will have to wait until tomorrow to put together some quotes on these observations.

By the way, I think that Fred is handling himself well, but it is very hard to distinguish himself very much with all of the individuals involved. Mostly, everyone is trying to talk in sound bites. What Fred has not done well is that he has been using sound bites from the road that are already familiar.

Monday, October 8, 2007

FDT Campaign Getting Bigger

The FDT campaign is adding leadership team members including George Allen, Liz Cheney, Spence Abraham in addition to Howard Baker. Apparently Allen's former advisers are already raising money for Fred's campaign.

Fred Inevitable?

The American Thinker has an article analyzing Fred and competitors on the Republican side of things. The conclusion is that Fred will be the Republican nominee and will win the Presidency despite the conventional wisdom's panning of Fred.
Watch a Thompson speech that was widely panned as dull. Just because Fred talks slowly doesn't mean he's stupid, or uninspiring. Notice that he is saying important things and saying them well. How many politicians can talk about Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind in terms which indicate that he has both read and understood it?

Consider that Fred's calm, sensible demeanor permits him to say things that would terrify many ordinary voters coming from someone who seemed less steady. Thompson can say radical things and nobody turns a hair. If any other candidate talked about overhauling social security and the tax code while we fight a global war of which Iraq and Afghanistan are mere outcroppings, a substantial part of the electorate would faint dead away. Try to wrap your mind around the reality that coming off like an old coot having a conversation as he whittles next to the pot-bellied stove down at the country store is an excellent way to attract most American voters.
Give it a read. It has good analysis of what differentiates Fred from Romney, McCain, Giuliani and Clinton.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fred at Americans for Prosperity

Fred's speech at the Americans for Prosperity Summit has been You Tubed. Here they are. While the quality of the second is not good (sound is out of sync for the first few minutes), it has the best meat.

I loved the start of the the second video as he speaks of his "convoluted economic philosophy",
Let's keep doing the things that work and quit doing the things that don't work in this economy.
He goes on to specifically talk about the tax cuts. He also talked about Social Security and indexing increases to cost of living rather than average wage increases.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fundraising Better Than Reported

It turns out that Fred actually raised $9.3 million in Q3 rather than the $8 million previously reported. It will be interesting to see how this shakes up some of the analysis. The FDT campaign has learned from the Q2 funding announcements that they have to do a good job of managing expectations. Actual announcements should be higher than estimated announcements.

Overall they have raised $12.7 million and still has $7 million cash on hand.

Giuliani raised about $10.5 million in Q3--so only a difference in about $1.2 million.

I will be very interested to see how Q4 turns out since it will be the first for Fred where he is a candidate for the entire period and when Newt has announced that he will not be running.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ron Paul Fundraising

We had heard that Ron Paul had raised a million dollars toward the end of the quarter. Today Marc Ambinder is reporting that he raised $5.08M in the third quarter. Marc calls this "real money" and qualifies Ron Paul is positioned to be a "giant killer."

Fred, on the other hand, raised over $8M while only being a candidate for one month of the three months.

There is no question that Ron Paul's supporters are enthusiastic, but that does not mean that there are that many of them. The finance report does not include how many donors made up Ron Paul's contributions. (Fred has over 70,000 individual contributors).

Fred about Rush

National Review is publishing a comment from Fred regarding the discussions in Washington regarding Rush Limbaugh:
“Congressional Democrats are trying to divert attention from insulting our military leader in Iraq and pandering to the loony left by attacking Rush Limbaugh. He is one of the strongest supporters of our troops, yet Democrats claim he is not being strong enough. I wonder who General Petraeus and his troops think is most supportive?”

Social Security Solvency

In Iowa Fred is talking about changes to Social Security to save it from insolvency. It is very easy to figure out that you have very few options: 1) Cut benefits; 2) Increase taxes. The cutting of benefits, though, can take many forms. Some examples are to increase the retirement age or to put a "means test" on Social Security recipients. Well, here is what Fred is proposing:
In a meeting with reporters and editors at the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, Thompson suggested the key to reforming Social Security would be changing the rate of increase in benefits. The current system bases such increases on wages and Thompson suggests benefits increase in accordance with rises in the price of goods, which tend to increase at a slower level.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

...And Starts Swinging

It is clear that Fred wants to make the distinction between his conservative credentials and his competitors. It appeared that he was going to make the point by pointing out his role in the 1994 Republican Revolution and let the rest of us figure out what Rudy and Mitt were up to.


A blog entry on his web site today points it out explicitly:
There were those, even some Republicans, who didn’t see the need to run on conservative change. In his U.S. Senate race Mitt Romney disavowed being linked with President Reagan. In a debate Romney said,

I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush.

In that campaign Romney opposed reducing the capital gains tax.

Rudy Giuliani also stood apart from mainstream Republicans. In 1994 he endorsed Democratic governor Mario Cuomo over George Pataki. Former White House speech writer Michael Gerson considered that act a symptom of “some loose ideological moorings.”

And earlier that year Giuliani stood before reporters and praised the efforts of illegal immigrants despite their lawbreaking:

FDT Unlacing the Gloves

There is an interview at the Politico with Fred that shows that he is ready to come out swinging. He is not looking to just swing for the sake of fighting, but it will be in response to certain situations:
When I asked him if he is an 11th Commandment man — Never speak ill of a fellow Republican — he responded, “I am more of a 12th Commandment man: Don’t speak ill of them until they speak ill of me. And then really speak ill of them.”
If my analysis is right, there will be no need for Fred to speak ill of Romney, McCain or any of the candidates lower in the polls--only Giuliani. I personally hope it doesn't come to that. I hope both of them are ready to make the general statement, "I can beat Hillary" and then tell why. I think Fred will win that discussion and the Republican party will be better for having the discussion. At the same time, he cannot let Giuliani beat up on him.

It does appear, however, that FDT is ready to deal with Hillary:
I read to him Bill Clinton’s recent comments that Thompson really didn’t seem to know much about some important issues.

Thompson’s face hardened quickly.

“I will take criticism from Bill Clinton all day long with a smile on my face,” Thompson said without a smile on his face. “I think I know where that is coming from.”

Which means from Hillary Clinton

Monday, October 1, 2007

McCain Still on the Ropes

The Politico is saying that McCain raised $5M in Q3 and, more importantly, $2M in debt.

I believe more and more that this is a two horse race.

Fred Coverage on Fox

brkcmo over at Blogs for Fred Thompson has posted a link to a Fox report on Fred's Q3 fund raising. They do strike a correct tone--only one month as a candidate; it is an amount that shows that he is legitimate. But what struck me was a couple of other items within the report. First, Cameron laid out very well the 1994 message that Fred will be using this week to cast himself as a long-term conservative as compared to Romney and Giuliani. Second, the precariousness of Romney's current situation. Cameron is positive about Romney's prospects as he is still in first place in Iowa, but that the big three are all within striking distance.

Romney's campaign strategy requires that he wins BOTH Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, everything is closing up dramatically. In New Hampshire he lead has dropped to less than 4 points. It looks like Romney will end up raising less than $10M in Q3 before his own contributions, so his fund raising is dropping off.

I think Romney's candidacy is almost over (practically, even if he stays on for a long time because he can afford to).

Poll Confusion

Strange poll results in South Carolina.

Real Clear Politics has posted poll results on September 30th and October 1st from two different organizations: Rasmussen and American Research Group. The polls cover roughly the same period yet they come up with drastically different results.

Thompson: 10
Giuliani: 23
Romney: 26

Thompson: 24
Giuliani: 20
Romney: 15

Rasmussen's numbers are more in line with the other polls that have been taken. I think there is something dramatically wrong with the American Research Group poll. Their other polls seem to be ok, but this one seems really off.

The Media Comments on Fundraising

No surprises here. The early numbers, as previously reported, are that Fred has raised over $8M in Q3. It looks like Romney will report having raised $10M in the same period and that he loaned his campaign $6-7M in the same period. The patently liberal MSNBC blog Firstread is commenting on how much of a struggle Fred is having:
Here's something to compare Thompson's money to: the 1st Q numbers of his three main rivals: Romney raised 21.2M; Giuliani raised 16.6M; McCain raised 13M.

By comparison, Fred’s $7-8M (or even $10 million) this quarter is not great.
As usual they miss critical information. Q3 is not Q1. Q3 is traditionally a very slow time for contribution generally. Fred was only a candidate for one month of the three months of the quarter. The campaign tried to manage expectations by floating a $5M number last week, but even that cannot slow down those who seem to want to beat Fred down.

I really do think this is indicative of their fear of what Fred means to the election cycle. Possibly it is indicative of the fears of the beltway media about a FDT campaign.

Preliminary Fundraising Numbers

CBS is reporting that FDT will report "over" $8 million. This is dramatically more than the $5 million that was being floated last week, which is probably indicative of trying to control expectations better than in the second quarter.

But like the second quarter, it needs to be remembered that Fred only announced that he was officially running for President in September. So he only had one month of full candidacy for raising money. I also believe that there is a lot of money sitting on the sidelines waiting for Newt to decide on whether or not he is running.

My hope is that Newt will soon announce support for Fred and much of the money that would have gone to him will start coming into FDT's campaign.