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Thompson Politico Story - I question the timing (updated)
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, January 03, 2008

And I mean that seriously.

Anyone else tired of "Several Republican officials close to Fred Thompson's presidential campaign" as sources?

What campaign worth its salt would put out information, even anonymously, on the day of the caucuses?

The answer? None.

The campaign's answer to the story via Byron York:
I just got off the phone with Rich Galen, a top adviser to Fred Thompson, and it would be an understament to say that he is strongly denying the Politico story reporting that Thompson "will drop out of the race within days if he finishes poorly in Thursday's caucus."

The story cites "several Republican officials close to Fred Thompson's presidential campaign." Galen told me, "I'm a Republican official in the Thompson campaign, and I'm denying it." Galen also said that no one inside the campaign was a source for the story. "I can't put enough adjectives in front of the 'deny' to accurately describe how vehemently I'm denying the story," he said.

Galen said that "just to make sure," he checked with Thompson himself, who told him the story was not true. "We have the schedule for Saturday and Sunday in New Hampshire, and then we're going down to South Carolina," Galen told me.
Say what you want about the campaign Thompson has run to this point, the fact remains that doing something like that, especially for someone who is surging according to polls, is political suicide.

It reminds me of the Marc Ambinder story about Huckabee citing "a prominent DC-based Huckabee ally" as the source of the story in which he, the so-called ally, ran Rush Limbaugh down as someone who doesn't think for himself. Naturally, Limbaugh replied and the Huckabee ballon began to deflate.

A story or a desired result?

Then there's the flap about "silly hats" in which Roger Simon of Politico, completely mischaracterized a Thompson quote in a way which reflected badly on Thompson - and we subsequently found out through some film from CBS that it was all nonsense.

Is Politico reporting here or attempting to effect an outcome in Iowa?

[Previous post on the subject here.]

UPDATE: Fred Thompson himself responds to the story:
"That is absolutely made up out of whole cloth," said the former U.S. Senator from Tennessee.

Thompson said a rival campaign was likely the source of that rumor.

"Can you imagine such a thing in politics?" he asked.

Thompson said his campaign is seeing a "surge" in interest right now, and said he has visited 50 communities in the Hawkeye State in the last couple weeks.

"I'm not going to play into any scenario that's not totally optimistic," he said.
Oh I can certainly "imagine such a thing is politics", I'm just wondering why it was printed by Politico?

UPDATE II: Mark Steyn states the obvious:
But in practical terms the timing is everything. A pull-out before Saturday obviously boosts McCain in NH. But the very floating of the rumor on the eve of caucus could depress the Fred vote in Iowa and lead to Fredsters switching to McCain on caucus night itself, making the story not the Romney comeback in Iowa (which I expect to happen) but the bi-state turnaround of the McCain campaign.
UPDATE III: Fred again denies the Politico report, this time on Fox News:
FOX ANCHOR: Without a solid third place finish there's no point going on according to a Thompson advisor in today's Is that true, Fred? Do you feel that way?

FRED THOMPSON: No, that's not — I heard about — I heard about that this morning. There is no such Thompson advisor. That's not something that I have thought about, that's not something I have discussed with anybody. It's something made up out of whole cloth and dropped here at the last minute, probably by one of the other campaigns by staffers with too much time on their hands apparently, but that's the kind of thing you run into. No truth of that at all.
I'd say that was a fairly definitive statement of denial, wouldn't you? It still doesn't answer where this rumor came from or why Politico chose to run it.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Perhaps they are McCain fans?
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
my thoughts exactly when i first heard the story. I don’t think I’ll be believing anything I read on the politico for quite a while now.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I just heard (from the devil on my shoulder) that Hiliary plans to drop out and become a nun.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I just heard (from the devil on my shoulder) that Hiliary plans to drop out and become a nun.
I believe the message you heard was slightly garbled. What she said was "she’s dropping out because she’s not getting none.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
You really think the Politico has to do anything to make Fred Thompson’s campaign look limp and lifeless? Really?
Written By: Oliver Willis
You really think the Politico has to do anything to make Fred Thompson’s campaign look limp and lifeless? Really?
I know reading is a learned activity, but I sure wish you’d try brushing up on it.
Written By: McQ
This guys seems to say .. Gore won’t be ...
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Oh, I don’t know, McQ, if I was looking for an expert on limp, OW would make my "short" list.

And this story is just one more example of the cr*p Thompson has been fighting against. The political system in this country is broken beyond repair.
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
I do hope that was a tongue in cheek reply by Thompson (it sure sounds like one.)

Here’s another item for your list of current dirty tricks:
Iowa pastors who support Republican Mike Huckabee for president have received letters warning them that getting involved in politics could endanger the tax-exempt status of their churches.

Several pastors who have publicly backed Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who has support from many evangelicals, said they have received the letters, which have no return address. They have arrived in the weeks leading to Thursday’s precinct caucuses.
Written By: Keith_Indy
Here’s another item for your list of current dirty tricks:
That’s a different category of dirty tricks than those I’m interested in here, i.e. the media possibly publishing unfounded (or made up) rumors in hope of effecting the outcome in Iowa.

Written By: McQ
The last thing anyone should be doing is paying any thoughtful attention to the media, especially when their stories don’t even rise to the level of gossip.
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
First, never trust the Politico; they have certainly earned distrust by now, even before this apparent stunt.

Second, never ever trust unnamed sources; they have far too often been used as sock puppets for other interests and opinions than they are purported to represent, most often the interests and opinions of the journalist "citing" them.

Third, and most importantly, this really, really strikes me as the kind of dirty campaigning (as in outright fraud and lying, as opposed to telling nasty truths or making normal positions out to be deviant or dangerous) that McCain is most noted for. Even if it were not for the travesty of McCain-Feingold, never ever ever trust John McCain. Which is sad, given his earlier (pre-political) heroism and obvious, even now, love of country.

Written By: Jeff Medcalf
Yup, dirty tricks on the eve of the poll....

Welcome to American politics.

Apparently the Romney peeps are beating themselves about the facr and neck at the suggestion that they camp put the rumor out...LOL

Written By: Khepri
URL: http://

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