Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Media Unleashes on Fred

Fred Thompson has been in the race for a very short time and already the media is going after him. His Republican opponents as well, but that's to be expected. The "lazy" label means one of two things.

Either the media is trying to make the case that Fred doesn't want it bad enough or that they haven't found any dirt on him yet.

From Newsweek:

As Fred Thompson prepares to formally begin his campaign for the White House this week, after months of "testing the waters," the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Thompson doesn't want it badly enough, isn't willing to work hard enough -- put bluntly,that he is lazy. Thompson knows what people say about him -- and it bugs him, Newsweek reports in the current issue. "Fred was grumping to me about that the other day," Howard Baker, the former Tennessee senator and Reagan White House chief of staff who was one of Thompson's political mentors,tells Newsweek. "I told him, 'They've got to criticize you for something,and that's not a bad one, because you can disprove it'."

"He needs to show he has the appetite for a presidential campaign, and he hasn't shown that yet," says atop White House official who did not want to be named sticking a knife in the back of a fellow Republican. "It's the hardest work in the world. I'm not sure he wants to work that hard."

NY Times via the StarTribune:

So much for dispelling the idea that he is too lazy to run for president. For months, Thompson has fought off suggestions that he is not motivated enough to weather the round-the-clock campaign trail required of serious presidential candidates. (Or, as a recent headline in Newsweek put it, "Lazy Like a Fox.")

That may very well be the headline, but if you read the article it's less about Fred Thompson being lazy and more about him being a fox.

His critics, already pointing to what they call Thompson's skimpy Senate record, might find even more ammunition in his campaign schedule. In his second week as an officially declared candidate for the Republican nomination, Thompson has made a languid three-day swing through Florida ending Saturday with the candidate watching a football game in Gainesville. The pace has kept him on an air-conditioned bus far more often than he is actually campaigning.

Some audience members, in a crowd that easily reached into the hundreds, winced as Thompson sweated through the question-and-answer session.

"I'm surprised they didn't pull him out of there," John Chambers of nearby Punta Gorda, said after the speech ended. Suzanne Miranda, who watched the event from a lawn chair, said, "I felt bad for him."

Thompson later emerged from the bus clad in a clean polo shirt and appearing cheerful. When reporters pressed him for a reaction to the Newsweek headline, he laughed. Is the campaign trail grueling, he was asked?

"Does it look grueling to you?" he shot back. "It's uplifting!"

Minutes later, he climbed back onto the bus.

So Fred doesn't want it bad enough because he sweats when it's hot? and area of the country that averages around 80 degrees and 90% relative humidity this time of year? Because a few people felt bad for him as he stood in the hot sun?

C' can do better than that.

But then again: most political attacks -- aimed at defining an opponent before he can define himself -- the claim that Thompson has spent a lifetime skating by on his God-given talents is a little too easy, and more than a little wrong. In his long, meandering career -- as a young Tennessee prosecutor who won 14 of 15 bank-robbery cases, a twice --elected senator and Washington lobbyist, and an accidental actor who stars in one of the most popular shows on television -- Thompson has never lost a job, or a campaign, because of a lack of effort. "If I had to pick one thing that qualifies him to be president," says Baker, "it's this: he approaches things calmly, deliberately -- and he doesn't shoot from the hip."

While I didn't appreciate Fred's delay in getting into the race, now that he's in it's much too early to draw conclusions regarding the health of his campaign. He was high in the polls before he joined the race, and has stayed there. These next couple of months however will give us an idea if Fred can beat Rudy or not.

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