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September 5, 2007
Thompson Campaign Still Tinkering
On the eve of his announcement for President, former Senator Fred Thompson has lost another staffer - one of nearly a dozen to leave the campaign since July.
Jim Mills, the former Fox News producer who joined the campaign only weeks ago, has resigned due to "strategic differences." Lacy has been culling the Thompson campaign of inexperienced staff in the lead up to the candidate's announcement tomorrow. This has led to the perception that the campaign is in turmoil or that Thompson's wife Jeri is interferring too much in the day to day operation.
This from campaign manager Bill Lacy in a memo to the staff, sent out Tuesday "just before we begin the Big Dance." "Our new Communications Director Todd Harris is building an experienced and aggressive team of campaign professionals to help lead our press operation," Lacy wrote.
He added, "This constitutes a substantial shift, not in our candidate's message, but in the way we support it and enhance it. Due to this shift, Jim Mills has informed me that he is leaving the campaign due to strategic differences. I respect Jim's decision and encourage all of you to join me in wishing him the best of luck."
Certainly some of the staff changes were probably the result of differences with senior advisors. Other resignations were out of loyalty to those let go. What should be remembered is that Thompson went from having little or no staff to building a national organization in less than 2 months. No doubt that growing pains had much to do with some of the departures.
Thompson may have some other challenges as well. Ed Lasky points us to this piece in the Washington Times that highlights the former Senator's mixed voting record on immigration and border security as well as other conservative issues:
Some votes are likely to draw scrutiny, particularly a series of votes in the 1990s against cracking down on illegal aliens. Those include a 1995 vote against limiting services other than emergency care and public education to illegal aliens — he was one of just six senators to oppose that proposal — and a 1996 vote against creating an employer verification system to help businesses filter out illegal aliens who apply for jobs. Of course, Thompson's major problem with conservatives was his support for campaign finance reform. He has since recanted that position but it is clear there is plenty of room to attack him on other issues near and dear to the hearts of conservatives.
A Washington Times review of his record also shows that he was willing to take a stand against his party time and again to protect plaintiffs' rights to sue teachers, companies that failed to solve the Y2K computer glitch and company executives even if they were unaware of fraud. Mr. Thompson's legislative record has been attacked as thin because in his eight years in office, he sponsored relatively few bills and was the driving force behind few legislative accomplishments.
But his votes show a man with an aversion to federal intrusion on state prerogatives and with a willingness to take quixotic stands on principle, when other Republicans chose to go along to get along.