Thompson Starts Do or Die Bus Tour: McCain Surging

When all is said in done in Iowa, many conservatives may be wondering if Fred Thompson had begun the campaign back in September the way he is relishing it now, would the story on his candidacy have turned out any differently?


His voice booming and words wry and fiery, Mr. Thompson’s appearance on this night – the first of this 15-day tour that will take a brief break for Christmas – was suggestive of, dare we say, someone who actually wants to win the nomination and the presidency.

“I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take what I’m doing very very seriously,” Mr. Thompson said, attempting to head off more doubts about his candidacy. “That’s why we’ll be going around the state, talking about our country.” This bus tour is perhaps a last-ditch effort for Mr. Thompson to win the third-place slot in the caucuses on Jan. 3.

After he completes his ride through 54 counties, he will have spent more time in Iowa in this last push than during the entire time he has been a presidential candidate. (The campaign says he has, until now, spent 14 days in Iowa since September.) To scattered whoops and cheers in the crowd of about 75 people,

Mr. Thompson repeatedly emphasized his intent to win the Republican nomination, and to campaign on what he called his “conservative principles” – small government, protecting the country from another terrorist attack, a politically inactive judiciary and the protection of the country’s borders from illegal immigrants.
Previously, Thompson's low key, wonkish approach to the race drove conservatives away from his candidacy and had them looking for an alternative. Many eventually found one in Mike Huckabee who still leads the race in Iowa over Mitt Romney. Thompson's recent performance in the debate as well as an important endorsement by Representative Steve King have given his campaign new life. What he does with it from now until January 3 will determine his fate.

Meanwhile, John McCain is feeling it - feeling momentum begin to swing his way. The Wall Street Journal explains:
Our guess is that this national security record is the main reason for his own political surge. With the success of General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, even some conservatives have taken to arguing that foreign and military policy will become less important in 2008. We doubt it. This is still a post-9/11 country, and voters know they will be electing a Commander in Chief in a world that is as dangerous as it was during the height of the Cold War. In an election against any Democrat next year, Mr. McCain would have little trouble winning the security debate.
The exact same issues that have turned conservatives off about McCain - immigration, tax cuts, campaign finance reform - have energized independents and moderates. And some conservatives dissatisfied with Mike Huckabee's lack of foreign policy experience, see McCain as a viable alternative despite their disagreements due to his record on support for the war and other foreign and defense policy issues.

Expect this race to flip and perhaps even flop one more time before all is said and done.
When all is said in done in Iowa, many conservatives may be wondering if Fred Thompson had begun the campaign back in September the way he is relishing it now, would the story on his candidacy have turned out any differently?


His voice booming and words wry and fiery, Mr. Thompson’s appearance on this night – the first of this 15-day tour that will take a brief break for Christmas – was suggestive of, dare we say, someone who actually wants to win the nomination and the presidency.

“I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take what I’m doing very very seriously,” Mr. Thompson said, attempting to head off more doubts about his candidacy. “That’s why we’ll be going around the state, talking about our country.” This bus tour is perhaps a last-ditch effort for Mr. Thompson to win the third-place slot in the caucuses on Jan. 3.

After he completes his ride through 54 counties, he will have spent more time in Iowa in this last push than during the entire time he has been a presidential candidate. (The campaign says he has, until now, spent 14 days in Iowa since September.) To scattered whoops and cheers in the crowd of about 75 people,

Mr. Thompson repeatedly emphasized his intent to win the Republican nomination, and to campaign on what he called his “conservative principles” – small government, protecting the country from another terrorist attack, a politically inactive judiciary and the protection of the country’s borders from illegal immigrants.
Previously, Thompson's low key, wonkish approach to the race drove conservatives away from his candidacy and had them looking for an alternative. Many eventually found one in Mike Huckabee who still leads the race in Iowa over Mitt Romney. Thompson's recent performance in the debate as well as an important endorsement by Representative Steve King have given his campaign new life. What he does with it from now until January 3 will determine his fate.

Meanwhile, John McCain is feeling it - feeling momentum begin to swing his way. The Wall Street Journal explains:
Our guess is that this national security record is the main reason for his own political surge. With the success of General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, even some conservatives have taken to arguing that foreign and military policy will become less important in 2008. We doubt it. This is still a post-9/11 country, and voters know they will be electing a Commander in Chief in a world that is as dangerous as it was during the height of the Cold War. In an election against any Democrat next year, Mr. McCain would have little trouble winning the security debate.
The exact same issues that have turned conservatives off about McCain - immigration, tax cuts, campaign finance reform - have energized independents and moderates. And some conservatives dissatisfied with Mike Huckabee's lack of foreign policy experience, see McCain as a viable alternative despite their disagreements due to his record on support for the war and other foreign and defense policy issues.

Expect this race to flip and perhaps even flop one more time before all is said and done.