Fred Doesn’t Chase The Gray Ladies, Though

The New York Times finally weighs in on Fred Thompson, the conservative hope for the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, and they hit below the belt. Actually, that’s true literally but not figuratively, as their profile actually remains balanced and positive, with the one exception about discussing his personal life between marriages:

Making speeches at carefully chosen appearances, doing an occasional interview and fielding questions from Republican congressmen, Mr. Thompson, 64, is running something of a guerrilla exploratory effort. He even weighed in recently on a conservative blog to offer a detailed defense of his ideas on federalism.
Behind the scenes, Mr. Thompson has been consulting with his inner circle — including former Senators Bill Frist and Howard H. Baker Jr. of Tennessee and experienced Washington aides like Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department official — about how he could pull together the money and staff he would need to run. …
Mr. Thompson’s disclosure that he was treated for lymphoma was seen as more evidence of presidential preparation. And at a private meeting a few weeks ago with House Republicans, he answered questions about his reputation as a man about town during his eight years in the Senate, a period when he was single after his divorce from his first wife. Mr. Thompson was asked bluntly if any activities from his first marriage or his time in the Senate would come back to haunt him or his backers.
According to those attending, Mr. Thompson assured them there were no problems, but conceded that when he was single, “I chased girls and girls chased me.” Mr. Thompson is since remarried, and he and his wife, Jeri, have two young children.

That seems like a perfunctory question, especially in this primary race, where the only man in the top tier with one wife is the Mormon. The frontrunner spent part of his time as Mayor of New York as the unabashed star of a domestic soap opera, changing wives in a relentlessly covered story. The other Great Conservative Hope, Newt Gingrich, also has a notable problem with his marital status and fidelity issues.
Still, Fred managed to make it an opportunity to continue his charm offensive. A straightforward answer like, “I chased the girls and the girls chased me,” will appeal to everyone except ardent feminists who recoil at his use of the word “girls”. It’s honest and blunt without being ungentlemanly — a courtly way of saying that he enjoyed his years of middle-aged bachelorhood.
Some of this report gets sillier, though. The New York Times asks in all earnestness whether Thompson’s appearances on “Law & Order” re-runs will create “equal time issues” in the coming campaign. That’s quite a reach. No one demanded that television stations embargo Bedtime for Bonzo or Cattle Queen of Montana during his run for the presidency, just as no stations refrained from airing The Last Action Hero when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for Governator. (We may have hoped they’d embargo them, but no such luck.) “Equal time” refers to actual campaign coverage, not entertainment shows, and one would think that the New York Times would understand that.
Other than that, the report takes a good lool at Thompson’s assets and liabilities. For the latter, they mention but do not dwell on his reputation for preferring investigations to legislation, not surprising given his background as an reforming investigative attorney. The Times also mentions Thompson’s support for McCain-Feingold, which has some conservatives concerned about Fred. He has indicated that he’s rethinking that support; potential backers will want to hear more. Some also question Thompson’s draw outside the South, but as the boomlet has shown, that seems to be much less of a worry now.
Fred won’t be included in Thursday’s debate, but his shadow will loom large over it. Even the Gray Lady looks willing to chase Thompson for a while, even if Fred doesn’t have an inclination to return the favor.

9 thoughts on “Fred Doesn’t Chase The Gray Ladies, Though”

  1. “…just as no stations refrained from airing The Last Action Hero when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for Governator. (We may have hoped they’d embargo them, but no such luck.)”
    I happen to have GREATLY ENJOYED “The Last Action Hero” ; )

  2. I thought CA stations did embargo The Last Action Hero, et al., when Arnie was running. Could be mistaken, though.

  3. Fred Thompson prepping for a presidential run?

    The Politico reports on the possibility of a summer entry into the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
    C’mon, Fred. Either you want to run or you don’t. Shouldn’t he know by now?
    Related: Captain Ed blogs on the NYT&#821…

  4. I can’t locate the link now but I’ve seen that “I chased girls and girls
    chased me” quote followed at least once by something to the effect of "… and a
    lot of them caught me." So, let me see if I have this straight: It’s OK for
    married Democrat presidents (e g JFK, Billy Jeff Clinton) to "chase the girls"
    in the White House but the fact Fred! wasn’t celibate between marriages
    is a big deal? Two Americas, folks. Two Americas. I added a link to my

    2007.05.01 Decision ’08 // Dem Stupidity Roundup (And assorted other "Let’s give
    ’em a country to run" topics)

  5. Fred Thompson’s private life may yet prove to be a factor.
    via The City Paper Online (h/t Roger L. Simon):
    “Former Tennessee U.S. Senator Fred Thompson is drawing nationwide attention for his ongoing flirtation with running for president. He is also drawing a little unwanted attention here in Nashville of a very different kind.
    “Nashville law circles were abuzz last week about professional snoops – either private investigators or opposition research political types – combing public records in Metro buildings looking for potential dirt on Thompson. Property records seemed to be at the top of their list.
    “The word trickled up to Republican Party sources, who insist it is Thompson’s potential GOP primary opponents looking for ammo to use should the television star make the race.”
    Thompson running is a lock, according to GOP sources in the state who know him well. In fact, leading Tennessee Republicans surmise Thompson staying away from actively campaigning and being selective with media appearances is another sign he is going to get in the White House 2008 race.

  6. Fred Thompson can’t run a full campaign, yet. Because he doesn’t have the money. While others are tying up the big contributors.
    His position? If I had to guess? Similar to Howie Dean’s; when Dean got $40-million from the people who loved him. All poor people. Participating in politics, by throwing money at him.
    Dean’s call was that he was “gonna cream Bush.” Didn’t get him anywhere near center stage, either. But that’s the other party? So why bother?
    On the right, I’m sure there’s distress. Everyone who got to Congress, like DeLay, is now out. There are no “old timers” in Congress, willing to carry the right’s anti-abortion stance. It’s over. As they say in “show business.”
    And, the GOP nomination, which once the Bush’s new how to tie up, IN SPITE OF THE PRESS, has now gone out of business. Changing the rules along the way.
    Probably postponing for the right support structure; that the underpinnings to what they wanted to accomplish through the takeover of the Supreme’s, is probably now “gone” as an institution they’d get to own. Even though most of the “pickers” to the Supreme’s were republican presidents.
    There’s no explaining how these losses take place.
    There’s also no way to take a future look, down the road, at what Roberts can accomplish. Given that he had hoped to run a Court of Concensus; and is ending up on the losing side of votes tossed the other way. Not an auspicious beginning. Let alone what the learning curve holds, for the times, ahead.
    ANyway, I don’t even think Hillary’s all sewn up and ready to go for 2008.
    And, like I said, previously. Lincoln went into the Chicago TEE-PEE … (I think the Whig-wam was dead by then). And, got himself nominated to the republican ticket. Where there were 3 others, “more favored than he” by insiders. Who also didn’t want to go for a “loser.” Someone who doesn’t win. And, leaves a lot of political party hacks and hangers-on, out in the cold.
    Call me, if Tom DeLay joins forces with Fred Thompson. Do you know why? DeLay can out-perform most people in the fund-raising department. And, he’s an ace at HARDBALL politics. (Even though pelosi cut him to ribbons.) Hey, maybe, he holds a useful grudge? Odd how the pro’s adapt to the cards they are handed.
    My money’s stll on guiliani ending up with the nomination AS LONG AS HIS HEALTH HOLDS OUT. And, then? It’s two teams, vying with each other for the MIDDLE.
    Where there are fewer nose-holders going into the booth, unwilling to recognize either party’s candidate as presidential timber.

  7. I hate to see Bill Frist’s name associated with this thing. Fred Thompson would do much better to say to his friend Bill …………go do some doctoring.

  8. I wasn’t watching much TV when Arnold ran for governor(too busy reading blogs!),but just before Reagan ran for governor he was the host of Death Valley Days. The show was not shown during the campaign.
    I don’t watch Law and Order either,but from what I have heard from and about Fred Thompson I would definitely vote for the man.

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