Rush Limbaugh. 1951-2021.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fred Thompson Visits Mike's America

Yours truly got some face time this afternoon with GOP Presidential candidate Fred Thompson in the parking lot of the Sippn' Cow Cafe in Bluffton, South Carolina.

I'll be revising the post as news reports and video become available.

The question I had for Senator Thompson (paraphrase): "President Bush's "new tone" failed to bring Democrats on board in a bipartisan manner even for the most serious national security issues. Both your main opponents are citing their records of getting results in heavily Democrat states. How will you get results and deliver conservative government if elected President?

The answer (paraphrase): "I've been succesful working with Democrats in the Senate. But to move off this bitter partisan divide we're going to have to show Democrats there's a price to be paid at the ballot box for their divisive tactics. The American people need to send a strong, clear signal that they expect Democrats to work WITH us on these important issues."

It's a tough question to answer, and that's why I asked it.

If I get a link to the video recorded by local television stations I'll be sure and post that, or at least a transcript.

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Two other questions from the crowd:

How will you beat Hillary Clinton?: "This election is about more than Hillary Clinton and we shouldn't elevate her to a status she doesn't deserve. The election is about the choice between Republican conservative values and Democrats who would impose socialism and who don't support our troops but work to undermine them." (paraphrase)

On Immigration: What about building the border frence, the illegal aliens already here and the Dream Act? I had trouble hearing the whole answer, but Thompson was strongly in favor of building the entire 800 miles of fence Congress has already approved and for stronger enforcement of laws concerning hiring illegals. He also was strongly opposed to the Dream Act, the latest attempt in the Senate to create a backdoor amnesty and benefits for illegals. Today the Dream Act failed to win enough votes in the Senate this afternoon (Roll Call vote tally here). Senator Thompson also reminded the crowd that of his post today on his web site: "Democrat's Dream Act is a Nightmare."

With this impromptu question and answer session initiated by yours truly, Fred didn't have time to eat lunch, but instead greeted other lunch goers before leaving for a speeech at Sun City Hilton Head. That speech to the mature adult gated community was not open to non residents so local GOP'rs are particularly pleased Thompson was able to drop by and say hello.

The Thompson Campaign is a Family Affair

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Fred brought along his grandson who is helping him on the campaign. Above he quipped "that's what I used to look like."

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First Impressions

We South Carolinians value the unique role our state plays as the "first in the South" primary. But it's really the first conservative primary.

So after candidates do the meet and greet at Iowa pancake breakfasts and brave the coming snows in New Hampshire it's important that they also get the southern perspective in the same personal way.

I found Senator Thompson to be direct, engaging and more than able to connect with the voters who turned out to see him today. And in person, I'm better able to dispel those media generated images of his campaign that have taken hold.

Good Olde Fashioned SC Horserace

No new polling since we began the 90 day countdown to the January 19 South Carolina GOP primary (analysis and more info here). At that point Thompson and Giuliani were running neck and neck at agout 20% each in the Real Clear Politics SC average. We'll be watching to see if the numbers change in the wake of Thompson's better performance in the Florida debate last Sunday and his recent swing through South Carolina.

Some in the crowd I spoke to insisted Fred is the best man to beat Hillary. What do readers think? Or should we take Fred's advice and avoid elevating Mrs. Clinton to a stature she does not deserve?

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