Turning on Thompson

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.


Has Fred Thompson’s honeymoon ended even before his presidential race has begun? That’s the question posed by ABC News’ The Note this morning, detailing the Los Angeles Times’ story over the weekend that Thompson had agreed to lobby on behalf of a pro-abortion rights group.

From the Times: “This will hurt, particularly because conservatives have been dying for a champion to be in the arena for them,” said David Carney, a New Hampshire-based GOP strategist who is not aligned with any candidate. “A lot hoped he was the guy…. People who really believe in the pro-life cause will not be happy.”

Thompson has not officially declared his candidacy, but he is seen in some conservative circles as resolving their unhappiness with the current field.

Thompson’s spokesman denied that the former senator had engaged in such lobbying activity, but it underscores the bind that many of the GOP contenders are in. Even though they express their opposition to abortion now, something comes up from their past that raises questions on how solid they are in their positions.

But there also have been media stories on Thompson’s trophy wife and how that plays in the heartland, not to mention some of the “Law & Order” star’s other lobbying efforts.

And at Time’s Swampland blog, Ana Marie Cox notes that Richard Nixon once called Thompson “dumb as hell” when he was appointed to the Senate Watergate committee. Then again, this is a revelation that could work in Thompson’s favor.

New Digs: The White House press corps gets new quarters this week, after surviving for years in what could best be called a dump. The Politico offers a preview.

Franken’s Lead: In Minnesota, Al Franken leads his rivals in second-quarter fund-raising.

N_countdown_comment2_070703300w_2 Donahue Doc: Phil Donahue’s documentary on Iraq generates buzz as he tries to land spots in major film festivals.

Olbermann’s Call: In case you missed it, Keith Olbermann invokes John Wayne in calling for President Bush to resign. “We of this time—and our leaders in Congress, of both parties—must now live up to those standards which echo through our history:  Pressure, negotiate, impeach—get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our Democracy, away from its helm. For you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task. You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed. Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974. Resign. And give us someone—anyone—about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

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