Is this the end of Fred’s run?

Monday, January 21, 2008 at 2:10am

While other Republican presidential candidates turned their focus to Florida on Sunday, Fred Thompson turned his attention to his ailing mother and his ailing campaign.

Thompson’s run for the White House may have hit a wall after suffering a stinging setback Saturday in South Carolina, where Thompson had essentially moved his entire operation and needed a strong finish, which he did not get.

The South’s first primary saw the former Tennessee senator finish a distant third to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, respectively.

After the loss, Thompson’s speech to his supporters left the impression that the once-looked-upon candidate to unite the Republican Party would be bowing out of the presidential race.

“I’m not sure there’s any real rationale to stay in because it hasn’t happened,” said Steve Gill, a conservative talk show host who penned a book on Thompson’s candidacy, adding that Thompson “got too far behind and dug too deep a hole” to save what once was a promising candidacy.

Gill on Sunday said Thompson’s campaign is “pretty much done,” noting that the campaign was not aggressively refuting speculation that he was dropping out.

A call to Thompson’s campaign headquarters went unanswered. A spokeswoman did not return a call on her cell phone.

Bruce Oppenheimer, a Vanderbilt University political science professor, said yesterday that the “only real purpose” of Thompson’s candidacy at this point was helping McCain, a close ally of his while the two served in the Senate.

Oppenheimer said it’s “hard to see” where Thompson can break into the upper-tier and do well on “Super Tuesday” besides his home state of Tennessee.

“I don’t know if it’s the end for him, but this is a campaign that’s on life support and it’s a real question about whether the patient can breath on his own,” Oppenheimer said.

Thompson’s strategy in South Carolina partly centered on going after Huckabee aggressively. But Thompson failed to sway nearly enough South Carolinians to dent the other southern conservative in the race.

Huckabee received more than 125,000 votes, nearly doubling Thompson’s 66,580.

Juan Williams, a National Public Radio and Fox News political analyst, said Huckabee is the southern conservative who has “some chance of going forward.”

Not so for Thompson, Williams said, noting that he did not travel immediately to Florida, which is the site of the next Republican primary.

“I think he was retreating,” Williams said Sunday morning on Fox News. “And you know, happy trails.”

Instead of heading to Florida, Thompson visited his mother in the hospital, according to media reports. She has been battling pneumonia.

If Thompson were to drop out of the race, his name would still be on the ballot when Tennessee has its presidential primary elections Feb. 5. Early voting has already begun.

A Thompson exit could spur Republican candidates who were previously willing to concede the Volunteer State to make an effort to win here.

Gill said if Thompson does indeed intend to drop out, he should do so immediately to give other GOP presidential candidates time to spread their message in Tennessee.

“If he stays in, all he does is deny Tennessee voters the chance to really have their voices heard,” Gill said.

In the South Carolina speech on Saturday, Thompson often spoke in the past tense and thanked his supporters repeatedly and ended his speech by encouraging them to “stand strong” for their conservative beliefs.

“My friends, we will always be bound by a close bond because we have traveled a very special road together for a very special purpose,” Thompson said.

Filed under: City News
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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I hope he don't endorce McCain.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Does he get to keep the campaign contributions?

By: TonyGottlieb on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I am weary of the MSM attacks on Fred void of any substance.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I am wear of incessant references to the MSM.

By: Winghunter on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Gill, Oppenheimer and especially John Williams rarely, if ever, have a clue what's really going on. Gill also runs his mouth in overlooking the obvious...Tenneseans ARE having their voices heard in voting for Fred as am I.Due to the circumstances of the race as it stands today this is anyones race where people are justing getting past the spin of the MSM to hear what Fred is saying instead of talking about how entertaining he was while he said it.Give him time to visit with his sick mother and consider how he will return and fight for conservatism...as he is the only one in the race.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

He looks gray. Couldn't NCP have done some photoshop work to pink him up a little? Turns my stomach.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Fundit!Exsanguineist!!!!1!!!

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 7:00

McCain? Won't, can't vote for him. Ditto Huckster. Paul is insane; I've toyed with the idea of a Ron Perot Protest vote.I'm better now...If we are going to allow this country to become Leftist, better to do so with a politician with a (D) next to his/her name.No More RINOS!

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Worry not. Hollywood's got plenty of actors left.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Who's RON Perot??

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I was an advocate of Fred getting a trouncing, but now that it's happening on regular basis I kind of hope he stays in to derail the even worse Huckleberry.id, Rudy's not looking too good either. If he doesn't do well in the big states I'll be hoping for a John McCain nomination. He is honest and doesn't have his head in the sand, something rare in politics in general and the R party in particular. With Edwards fading into the sunset and Richardson gone, it will be nice to have a reasonable choice.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 7:00

...or do I mean Ross Paul?

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Serr8d, you're correct. Fred is the only "true" conservative. The other candidates, according to Tim Russert and his co-hosts this Sunday, are pretty left and some are way over LEFT.... Good gosh, there really isn't a choice. I'm going w/Hillary if the Reps don't tighten up. At least with Hillary, you know most of the dirt, you've already lived with her for 8 years, and there's not much she can do that will actually surprise/shock you.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

There's something terribly wrong and disturbing about a woman whom had happen to her what happened with Bill & Monica in such a public manner, and yet acts as if nothing out of the ordinary happened at all.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Now THAT'S funny, serr8d!

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Girliegirl, Attila the Hun is to the left of serr8d! You make a good point about Hillary, though. If there was dirt to be dug up on her, it would have been out there by now. The Whitewater issue is small potatoes in comparison to the blatant insider trading escapades of some notable R's, including W and our former Senator.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 7:00

keep trying, junebug, that one was pretty weak.Repeat after me: "Monica Lewinsky's ex Boyfriend's wife."Repeat it over and over again. It's hard to say, but with practice it'll roll right off the tip of your tongue.

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Time for (Trots), you have no real idea where I stand, politically, except that from your own elevated view (standing on the shoulders of Lenin and Marx) from the socio-communist bulwarks of far-left moonbattery, I seem far, far away.Thank God (in whom I believe).Atheist!

By: Idahoser on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I still have Fred's face on my bumper, but I sure don't get the feeling he's interested in my vote anymore. I'll wait a while to find out. If he drops out I will not vote for Rudy McRomney under any circumstances, so I guess it'll be Ron Paul in protest.Imagine how you'd feel if you 'supported the front-runner' and the sumbeech wins, destroys the country just like the Dems would, only this guy has your support.No way no how. If the single conservative is out of it I'm voting my concience, and it sure as hell ain't McCain.

By: DavidE7 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

If Fred Thompson stays in the race through Florida, the American public will know that his friendship with John McCain means more to him than his conservative values, because the other conservative who would have had a chance will be significantly weakened, as he was in South Carolina. He will also show he is not loyal to the Republican party because they will nominate someone who cannot beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. It will be a sad end to what would have been an honorable career.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

If McCain is the nominee I will pass. Serr is right if we are going commie let them have a d next to their name.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Somehow I have a feeling id won't support anyone. It's just not his style.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

If the crap really hit the fan which I think it will there is only one proven leader running and that is Giuliani.He performed miracles in NY, fiscally and against crime which is easily transferable to terrorism.He is a get the job done guy/gumba.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Not to mention an adulterer and a narcissist. We definitely need more of that, right?

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Also not to mention how the truth came out later that his actions in the aftermath of 911 weren't so heroic after all, but merely more of the same political PR as usual.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Name someone better that you would like to see in charge when the fist bio/chem/nuke attack happens here.

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Sorry to change the subject, idgaf - but you changed the terrorist act. Are you speaking of an attack with those WMDs? Find me a guy who will go after the actual party who was responsible for the attack that DID happen instead of helping sneak his family out of the country. That's the guy I want.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

How can we pray to Mecca 5 times a day if we're all dead from a nuclear attack?

By: shenanigan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Fred stay in the run,at least till Tennessee has it election to give the voter a chance to treat you like Vice president Gore,no guts no glory. The press are down on you [fred] from the last press conference that Fred call the media and said nothing in it, [that been Fred whole Campain you have said all thru your run for the White House you must have had Vice Cheney in mind as your vice too.You have acted as Bush was your hero. Let all remember that Canada did put Bush government in the books as a "terrorist country

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 7:00

8-it, nice try. But the 'Lenin and Marx' comment showed your true colors. Plus I've read your blog.BTW I am not an atheist, I just don't see intolerance and 'the rich shall inherit the earth' as the founding principles of Christianity.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Did anyone wake up Fred Thompson to tell him that his campaign is over?