Republican Fred Thompson has long faced criticism he lacks motivation to be President of the United States, and the former Tennessee senator’s latest comments Saturday may spark new criticism on that front.
“I’m not particularly interested in running for president,” the former senator told voters at a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa when challenged by a an audience member over his desire to be commander-in-chief.
“But I think I’d make a good president,” Thompson continued. “I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I’m doing it for the right reasons.”
Read the transcript and you instantly tell that CNN is taking selective quotes to make a story:
Q: My only problem with you and why I haven’t thrown
all my support behind you is that I don’t know if you have the desire
to be President. If I caucus for you next week, are you still going to
be there two months from now?Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
A: “That is a very good question… Not because it’s difficult to answer, but because I’m gonna answer a little bit of a different way than what you might expect. In the first is wanting the opportunity. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. I grew up in very modest circumstances. And I left government and I and my family have made sacrifices for me to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I’m doing this. I figure if you’re gonna be clean, you have to cut the [unintelligible] off. And I was doing speaking engagements, and I had a contract to do a TV show, I had a contract with ABC radio like I was talking about earlier and so forth… I guess one would have to be a total fool to do all of those things and to be leaving his family, which is not a joyful thing at all… if you didn’t want to do it.
But I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have. (applause) When his talk first started it didn’t originate with me. There are a lot of people around the country and both directly and through polls… liked the idea of me stepping up. And of course, you always look better at a distance, I guess. (laughter) But most of those people are still there and think it’s a good idea.
I approach it from the standpoint of a deal… Of kind of a marriage. You know, if one side of the marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, you know, it’s probably not going to be a very good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing — in this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, the you have the opportunity to do some wonderful things together. I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that if I have the background, the capability and the concern to do this and I’m doing this for the right reasons… but I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president. Nowadays, the process has become much more important than I think it used to be.
I don’t know if they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don’t know if they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. Nowadays it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure that in the world we live in today, it’s a terribly good thing for a president to have too much fire in his belly.
I approach life differently than a lot of people. People, I guess, are wondering how I’ve been as successful as I’ve been in everything I’ve done. I’ve won two races in Tennessee by twenty points in a state Bill Clinton carried twice. I had never run for office before. I’ve never had an acting lesson, and I guess that’s obvious. (laughter). When I did it, I did it. It wasn’t just a lark. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. I’ve always been a little more laid back than most. I like to say I’m only consumed by very few things, and politics is not one of them. The welfare of my country, and my kids and grandkids, growing up, is one of them. (applause)
If what people really want in their president is a super type A personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about, for years how they can be president of the United States… someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they’ve enjoyed every minute of campaigning… (laughter) I ain’t that guy. (more laughter) [To questioner] So I hope I’ve discussed that, or I haven’t talked you out of anything. I honestly want… I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances than achieving the presidency under a false pretenses, especially if you feel the way I do. I’ve gone out of my way to be myself, because I don’t want anybody to think they’re getting something they’re not getting. I’m not consumed by this process, I’m not consumed with the notion of being president. I’m simply saying I’m willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it if I’m in sync with the people. And if the people want me, or somebody like me, I will do what I’ve always done with everything else in my life. I will take it on and do a good job. You’ll have the disadvantage of having someone who probably cna’t jump up and click their heels three times, but will tell you the truth. And you’ll know where the president stands at all times.”
While the CNN piece was a bit better reported then the Jill Lawrence piece, they correctly quoted him at least, but it was selective and it didn’t give you the context of the answer. It’s obvious he is saying that he is no John Kerry. He is not a person who has worked his whole life to be President of the United States. Instead his personal ambition is to serve this country. If the country feels that to serve this country we need a President like Fred then he is willing to offer himself up.
I like that. I do not want a President who is so consumed with being President that they lose sight of the fact that being President is more then just getting there. Its about serving this country, not the other way around. And many politicians on both side of the aisle get that confused.
Also, in other Fredhead news. Fred has a message out to Iowans.
And he appeared on Chris Wallace’s show this morning and in a era of “attack the other guy” campaigning Fred gave kudos to John McCain:
WALLACE: But, Senator, and you do point out that you have a considerable edge in foreign policy experience over Romney and Huckabee and Giuliani, but if voters are really looking at that, doesn’t John McCain have an edge over you?
He’s been at the center of every national security debate in this country for more than a decade.
THOMPSON: I can’t argue with that. John has vast experience. He served on the Armed Services Committee for longer than I served in the Senate, no question about that. I was able to serve in some areas that John did not serve in, but his overall service has been longer and he’s been involved for a long time.
I think that we have to have someone of experience in that area, and someone with sound conservative principles, and someone who has been there consistently for a long period of time.
John and I have some honest disagreements with regard to some domestic issues. We’ve looked at things a little differently over the years on some important things, so that has to be figured into the mix also. But if you’re strictly talking about national security, you certainly cannot avoid the fact that John McCain has vast experience.
Not a whole lot of kudos to Romney, right so:
WALLACE: Let me ask you about the other person who’s leading you in the polls. Do you think Mitt Romney is prepared to be president and has a consistent record as a conservative?
THOMPSON: Well, that’s two different questions. Clearly, as far as the conservative issue is concerned, he’s changed his mind and he’s changed his position on a lot of different things. Most of them have to do with basic conservative principles.
He went out of his way to point out that he was not to be affiliated with Reagan-Bush in times past, and now he quotes president Reagan at the drop of a hat. So he’s changed his basic philosophy with regard to a lot of things like taxes and the original immigration proposal, and I could go on and on as far as that’s concerned.
Difficult to pin Mitt down as to exactly what he does fundamentally believe and which of those beliefs he would stick with through thick and thin in the future when the strong winds are blowing.
Now, as far asÃ¢â‚¬Â¦it’s not for me to judge a person’s fitness. It’s just objectively clear that Mitt does not have any foreign relation experience and doesn’t have any experience with dealing with matters of national security.
He’s got vast experience in the business community, been very successful, and I’m sure he’s been a good manager. So all of us have things to bring to the table.
And I point out my background. I’ve had an opportunity to help cut taxes and pass welfare reform, balance the budget, fight for conservative judges. I had a 100 percent pro-life voting record. I was on the Intelligence Committee. I chaired an important committee dealing with some of these problems.
I was the Republican floor manager for the homeland security bill, which I like to think has had something to do with the fact we haven’t been attacked again since September 11th. That’s my background.
After I left the Senate, Condoleezza Rice asked me to chair an advisory board to her, to advise her on international security matters. So I do understand the nature of the world we live in and the challenges we face.
No real attack other then to state the guy is a flip-flopper on important core conservative principals. Good job as always by Fred.
Lastly I’m sure you’ve seen this video by now. But if not I figured I would offer it up. Fred’s the type of guy who doesn’t take attacks by the media lying down: