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Where’s Fred?

What happened to Fred Thompson?

His presumed candidacy was billed as Ronald Reagan redux. When he got a late start in the race, with a few stumbles out of the gate, he was this year’s Wesley Clark. And now at the low double digits in some polls, he’s all but competing with “Not sure.”

In fact, the rise of Mike Huckabee can in part be attributed to the fall of Thompson in the polls.

Thompson, however, is on a 15-day bus tour to 50 or more Iowa cities. He’s hoping to build on a standout performance at last week’s Des Moines Register debate. Dana Bash of CNN writes, “To watch his campaign is to witness a candidate trying to shake the rap that he has no fire in his belly.”

He may start a rise — but it will have to be fast and furious.

When I was in Iowa recently, journalists were almost in insurrection against his campaign, primarily because of Thompson’s penchant for dodging the travelling press and ducking out the back door at campaign events. That’s a surprising role for such a media-bred figure, and Thompson himself admits that expectations may have hurt him.

“I think sometimes the media had the notion that because I’d been in the movie business that I’d be well-scripted, I’d be slick, that I’d be perfect. And it was a standard nobody else was held to, but I think I was held to it,” he told CNN.

But his style has been so laconic that it makes some wonder whether he actually wants the job. On a bus tour on Tuesday, he cancelled plans for a Main Street stroll down the streets of Waverly, Iowa, in what Roger Simon of The Politico writes only feeds into the rap that’s dogged him throughout the race: He’s lazy.

 

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