Jeri Speaks

Jeri Kehn Thompson garnered a lot of attention when her husband officially was a non-candidate for President. Now that Fred Thompson has entered the race, however, the press has mostly dropped the “trophy wife” and “May-December” narratives to focus on the race itself, and Jeri seems happy to see the spotlight dim, in a rare interview at the Joliet Herald News:

Q: In your interview last month with the Tennessean, you mentioned your mom and grandmother being hurt by some of the ugly aspects of political life. Was that a reference to the negative press?
A: Oh sure, yeah … I think you do get a little bit used to it, because you understand if folks think that you’re a threat — either they’re running, or if you’re changing a system that they’re not comfortable with you changing the rules with–they’re going to go after whatever they think might hurt him. We knew going in that they were going to do whatever they could to throw the kitchen sink at him, to try to get him off his game. It just strengthens your resolve for what’s really important. I’ve said before that I have a very strong and firm belief that there’s a whole lot of things we’re not talking about in this country that we ought to. I’ve got a lot of friends that have sons and daughters in Iraq – second, third, fourth trips, some of them — and that’s what’s important. That’s what we should be talking about.
Q: Back in July, the New York Times noted that “trophy wife” isn’t really a slur, since it describes someone who made a name for herself before she was given that label. But the same piece asked rhetorically whether traditionally conservative voters are likely to embrace a 60-something candidate with a pretty wife 24 years his junior. What are your thoughts about all the attention that’s being given to that?
A: I think conservative voters will vote for the conservative candidate, which he is.
Q: What I’m hearing you say is you’d rather people talk about things that are more important than a trophy wife.
A: Well, it’s a rhetorical question, so I’ll answer rhetorically. And in light of that, I have spent quite a few years on very conservative issues. I worked with the Republican National Committee, I worked for Sen. (Connie) Mack in Florida, in a communications capacity. I really believe in the things that Fred stands for. I believe in America. I believe in smaller government. I believe in less taxes. If that’s not what people want to hear from Fred, they probably won’t want to hear it from me, either.

If Jeri thinks that people aren’t interested in her point of view, the new blog JeriGirls seems to argue otherwise. It links approvingly to the interview, although notes that Jeri’s appearance in People could have been more forthcoming along the same lines. Laura Batson, the blogger at JeriGirls and a friend of mine, notes that Jeri shouldn’t “blow the show all in one act” and instead should do exactly what’s she did in this interview, which is to keep interest balanced with civility.
The demands of a presidential campaign will force Jeri more into the open eventually, but at this point the wives do not seem to have captured much attention, at least not in the Republican primary coverage in the press. Jeri had been an anomaly, and an odd one, since Fred wasn’t an official candidate at the time and had not sent his wife out to do much public relations. Ann Romney has probably done more work in public than any of the other GOP spouses and didn’t get half of the attention, although she has been an excellent ambassador to the Romney campaign. Rudy has had attention called to his marriages and divorces, but that seems to have mostly dissipated as well.
That will change, as Laura noted. We can expect more paparazzi treatment for the families of the candidates, which they will undoubtedly encourage while lamenting the excesses it will bring. Quieter perspectives such as the Herald News would allow people to get to know the families without nasty attacks as we saw earlier this year on Jeri.

11 thoughts on “Jeri Speaks”

  1. We’ve heard bits and pieces about all of the wives of candidates, when are we going to hear about Bill?

  2. I’m pretty sure that Hillary would like it just fine if no one heard “about” Bill for the next year. We already heard more than enough “about” Bill a decade ago. Hillary knows that.
    Jeri Thompson should be the candidate, she’s got the brains and she’s less likely to fall asleep in the middle of an NSC briefing.

  3. Sen. Thompson essentially ripped into Rudy Giuliani yesterday for his support of Former Governor Mario Cuomo in 1994 over George Pataki while trying to show himself as the only true conservative in the race.
    I believe that this however, paints a much different scenario.
    I think it’s a very slippery slope when you get into a shouting match over who’s the real conservative.

  4. No doubt, Mrs. Thompson is attractive in a physical manner.
    Hard not to have her referenced, because she is so young in appearance and has a sex appeal.
    If she is employed correctly by the Thompson campaign, she could be a real benefit.
    Men alone would rather look at her, than the Hillary folly for four years.
    In fact, looking at the physical nature of Mrs. Rodham Clinton, it is fair game to question her health. She is terribly out of shape, and this is often a concern with Presidential candidates when they are male.
    Does Hillary ever get any exercise?
    Actually, all of these Women only remind one of how classy Laura Bush has been for the American People.
    Top notch…

  5. I agree with brookie–lets see more of Jeri Thompson! Much nicer to look at than her husband, and could not possibly be a less engaging public speaker.

  6. Dino, what a load you are. A lot of us Republicans were supporting Lieberman. Instead of, you know, surrender-monkey Lamont. It’s not surprising you missed that.
    The support for Lieberman was tactical and philosophical. Tactical, since
    a) The Repubican in the race had a slightly greater chance than you do of winning the election. Slightly greater. Very slightly.
    b) Returning Lieberman would insure another vote in the effort in the war on terror. Maybe you remember that. Planes flying into buildings? Attacks on the Cole? Bombing embassies? That ring any bells?
    Philosophical since the kos kiddies were spouting their power to influence elections based on Iraq, and how Lieberman was going down, baby, down. Supporting Lieberman in a race that the Republican could not win was the only philosophical choice to make.
    Do you support Romney by any chance? Ron Paul, perhaps?

  7. Sorry, Dino, I just visited your blog. In addition to using the Captain for free advertising for your blog, you also support Rudy. which, I have to say, is much better than supporting Romney or ron paul.
    That being said, Rudy’s support for Democrats was not to maintain a balance of power in the support for the GWOT. Very, very different.

  8. Dino, what a load you are. A lot of us Republicans were supporting Lieberman. Instead of, you know, surrender-monkey Lamont. It’s not surprising you missed that.
    It’s not surprising to me that you didn’t bother to read what I said.
    I too supported Lieberman and was very vocal in doing so. That wasn’t the point. The point was that it was hypocritical for Sen. Thompson to point at Rudy Giuliani helping a Democrat thirteen years ago when Sen. Thompson did it just last year.
    I don’t care that Sen. Thompson supported Sen. Lieberman, just don’t make yourself a hypocrite by insinuating that somebody’s not a real conservative if you support a Democrat over a Republican when you yourself did so just last year.
    It’s not the support I have a problem with, it’s the hypocrisy. Again, if you had bothered to read what I said instead of just rushing out of anger to insult me, you would’ve known that.

  9. I believe this is a thread to extol the virtues of a viable candidate’s wife, not give forum to a helmet party.
    Just sayin’.
    Oh, and Jeri Thompson SO RAWKS. Who couldn’t love her? Smart, beautiful. I’d rather have a class act like her to follow Laura Bush in the East Wing than Rudith, that’s FOR SURE.

  10. Small Town Questions for a Red Carpet Woman

    The Herald News in suburban Chicago sat down with Jeri Thompson last week to add some color to the emerging picture of our next First Lady. In the interview, online today, Jeri reminds us all how much we have in common:
    “When I grew up, kid…

  11. Dino,
    I’m a Giuliani supporter, and you are OUT OF YOUR MIND. Giuliani endorsing a Cuomo over Pataki isn’t even in the same universe as Thompson endorsing Lieberman, as did practically every bigshot Republican in existence.
    Pataki turned out to be less then a Conservative. That’s a better arguement then yours. Even that’s not a very good one.
    It’s really not that hard: It was a bad choice made under circumstances that make it understandable, if still a bad choice. The city was about to tank, Cuomo offered him a way out, he didn’t know if Pataki would give it to him, so he went for it. Bad choice? Yes. Understandable, especially considering Cuomo was considered unbeatable until right before his loss? Also yes.

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