The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Truth About Jeri Thompson

It is a measure of how rapid Jeri Kehn Thompson's rise to prominence
has been that there has been widespread confusion about a basic fact of her background: whether or not she is a lawyer.

Several major news organizations -- including USA Today, the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, and The Post -- have in recent months referred to Jeri Thompson as both a political consultant and lawyer in articles about Fred Thompson's nascent presidential campaign, in which his wife has taken a leading role.

And supporters of the Thompsons have repeatedly invoked Jeri Thompson's status as an attorney to challenge insinuations that the 40-year-old mother of two is a mere "trophy wife" for the 64-year-old actor and former Tennessee senator. On Fox News last week, host Chris Wallace quoted a letter from a viewer attacking NPR's Juan Williams for having previously used the 'tw' phrase in reference to Thompson: "You chauvinist pig. Jeri Thompson is an intelligent, accomplished woman. She is a lawyer. And she has worked in the public policy arena." Added conservative blogger Ed Morrissey last month: "Anyone with access to Google knows that Mrs. Thompson worked as an attorney and media consultant in DC."

Well, presumptuous as it may be to challenge the holy writ that is Google, the hard fact is that Jeri Thompson is not a lawyer. There is no trace in public records of Thompson holding a license to practice law in D.C. or any of the states in which she has resided. And today, campaign spokeswoman Linda Rozett said conclusively, "Jeri Thompson does not have a law degree."

A possible cause of the confusion is that at the time of Jeri Kehn's 2002 wedding to Fred Thompson, she was working at the D.C. law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand -- but as a political and media consultant, not as an attorney. She had previously held a similar consulting position at the public relations and lobbying giant Burson Marsteller, after starting out in D.C. in the late 1990s as a spokeswoman and media liaison at the Republican National Committee and Senate Republican Conference.

Whatever the source of the mixup, one thing is for sure: until today, the Thompson campaign has not exactly made a concerted effort to knock down the notion that Jeri Thompson is an attorney. Until now, the campaign has as a policy declined to answer any questions about her background or role with the campaign. (Rozett also offered clarity on one other score today: Jeri Thompson was not married before, Rozett said, even though her ex-boyfriend's last name shows up on some court judgments against her in Tennessee. This squares with what the ex-boyfriend, Bernard T. "Chip" Alvey told the Post, that the pair never married.)

It remains to be seen whether the campaign's official reticence regarding Jeri Thompson's background and campaign role changes come early September, when the campaign is expected to launch officially. And should Jeri Thompson become freer in her public comments, chances are she won't be dull. Take, just for one, her answer in 2000 to queries by the New York Post's Page Six about her rivalry for Fred Thompson's affections with other D.C. women, including Time magazine columnist and CNN talking head Margaret Carlson: "She just won't get the hint that he has a girlfriend," the then-Jeri Kehn said of Carlson. "She calls his apartment all the time. I mean, what is the deal with these women? Don't they have any pride? It's the joke all over Washington that Margaret has this huge crush on him. And Fred is clearly not interested."

--Alec MacGillis with researcher Rena Kirsch

Posted at 1:59 PM ET on Aug 6, 2007
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

At least non-lawyer Jeri won't have subpoenaed law practice billing records to hide in the White House attic.

Posted by: roth822 | August 8, 2007 6:57 PM

I wonder if she got her "smokin' hot body" from using "NutriSystem For Women Who Are Not Lawyers"?

Posted by: PETETENNEY | August 8, 2007 11:55 AM

Strip away all the names, party affiliations etc and all you have are some mixed up gossipy media stories (WP, USA Today, AP, and Chicago Tribune) about whether a potential presidential candidates wife is an attorney or not.

Lets ask the journalist and reporters to do a better job and get their facts right. Did they pick up the phone and call Fred Thompson, his wife or their official spokesman to request the straight answer on the wife's past employment "before" reporting the previous stories? No. The WP finally did get an official comment from Linda Rozzet (Thompson's spokesperson)

If the press didn't have a primary source or "official" surrogate secondary source then they should have waited on reporting about the employment history of the subject or offered the information they had as uncorroborated/unconfirmed.

Unfortunately, now you have folks generating absurd and childish innuendo, making galactic leaps of fallible logic/reasoning, and finding an opportunity to bash a U.S. President and their administration in connection to this story. And it originated from sloppy journalism.

Posted by: GracefulConsonance | August 8, 2007 4:29 AM

The paper edition of the WaPo wrote it as holy writ that Jeri Thompson was an atty. I have yet to find them correcting that error in the same fashion. When will that occur?

Posted by: moe99 | August 8, 2007 1:31 AM

After reading soooo many bizarre comments about this story, my faith in the future of this country is severely shaken.

Sorry Ben and George and Thomas... we the people have let you down.

Posted by: gclagreg | August 8, 2007 12:12 AM

Think, people.

Who GAINS by the information about Fred's wife and Rudy's wife being released to diminish their images as appropriate Republican candidates?

Mitt Romney, with one wife, all his life.

Given that many of the players in the Bush campaign from 2000---same players that gave the press in South Carolina a story that McCain had an illegitimate black baby (not true) to slander him after Bush lost New Hampshire---- the Romney campaign gains by appearing more traditional.

THIS is what "opposition research" means, and the Republican Party is a master at doing this. Anything to win, including slandering wives and children.

Posted by: auntmo9990 | August 7, 2007 10:17 PM

So what if Jeri is not a lawyer. Add that to the growing list of other things she is not. That list pales in comparison to all that Fred Thompson is not. A viable candidate? Perhaps. A viable President? Not a chance in hell. Even though we have six years of a sociopath in chief to lower the bar for just about everyone, Fred couldn't muster the energy to rise to that level of incompetence. It is ALL about character, Jeri is one, and Fred has none. None anyway that would stand to benefit this country or it's people. This nation needs impeachment of the Executive Branch and a true leader to overcome this national crisis. Fred is no leader. Fred is led. Period. Fred is led, that's what I said. (thanks Curtis) Fred couldn't manage a sock drawer.
And what were the judgements against Jeri Kehn concerning? Did she and her boyfriend stiff the plastic surgeon that did her implants?
But what the hell. C'mon Fred! Give it the RNC's best shot. Polish up that rented red pickup truck and show Americans what your shirt is stuffed with. Tour the Nascar circuit with your rented red Ford before it's too late. Snatch that "git-r-done" vote away from that cousin marrying Rudy.

Posted by: jar_jar_bush | August 7, 2007 7:58 PM

Looks count whether they should or not, it happens and Jeri Thompson has sealed her husband's fate, he's dead with the holier than thou crowd. Jeri looks like she would be comfortable dealing at Reno or selling burgers at McDonalds, not the sort to appeal to the right wing fringe that he belongs to.

Posted by: kaycwagner | August 7, 2007 7:33 PM

Looks count whether they should or not, it happens and Jeri Thompson has sealed her husband's fate, he's dead with the holier than thou crowd. Jeri looks like she would be comfortable dealing at Reno or selling burgers at McDonalds, not the sort to appeal to the right wing fringe that he belongs to.

Posted by: kaycwagner | August 7, 2007 7:33 PM

Hey, some of our most notorious neo-con-ninnies have been, shall we say rude,
when it comes to Dennis Kucinich and his wife. How many times has old Freddie been
married? Can he stand toe to toe with Rudy Ghouliani in the ex-wife department? We should be concerned with Fred's wife if she will be assisting with matters of state. These GOPmen do not honor marriage, so why would they honor any other commitment they make?

Posted by: carlatalk | August 7, 2007 7:17 PM

"Why should anything at all pertaining to Jeri Thompson have an impact on whether or not Fred Thompson will make a good President?"

The First Lady of the US with two children born out of wedlock does sound like an interesting image problem. Yep, this and being a trophy wife, is an issue. It is about character and judgment and all those old fashioned ideas.

Posted by: syvanen | August 7, 2007 5:15 PM

I believe America is ready for a bimbo as first lady. I see no reason for the prejudice.

People should keep an open mind and realize that life is tough for young country girls. The breast implants don't tell half the story. Apparently her ex boyfriend spent time in a Russian prison.

Posted by: kraven001 | August 7, 2007 3:16 PM

Fred's wife reminds me to Nancy Reagan.

Posted by: traveler255 | August 7, 2007 2:13 PM

It sure doesn't take a rocket-scientist to separate the Republicans from the Democrats here!! Question: Why should anything at all pertaining to Jeri Thompson have an impact on whether or not Fred Thompson will make a good President? Focus your attacks on Fred and his political views, not his wife. If this country was able to turn it's head concerning the many sexual dalliances that occurred during Slick Willie's political offices, culminating with his presidency, why should the life of Jeri Thompson be under scrutiny? Why don't you just stick to the facts concerning the presidential candidates instead of trying to twist this presidential race into a tabloid story? After all, Jeri Thompson isn't the non-candidate here ... Fred is! Come on, Democrats ... cut her a little slack! Mud-slinging is so out-of-date ... so passe'. Thanks to the Democrats of this country and the way they all stood so solidly behind an admittedly lying, fornicating president, the bar has been lowered considerably.

Posted by: Noblemama1 | August 7, 2007 1:55 PM

no list of candidates with "low class" or
"questionable character" spouses should exclude Hillary Clinton!

Posted by: PhillupSpace | August 7, 2007 1:31 PM

Tropseas - You are right, Bush and Cheney started the war that has killed the innocents. They were behind Black September, they were behind Beirut, they were behind the countless airline hijackings in the 1980s, they were behind the WTC I, they were behind the shooting outside CIA, they were behind the bombing of the USS Cole, they were behind the embassy bombings, they were behind 9/11. If only Bush and Cheney hadn't gone into Iraq all of these innocent people would still be alive and the Middle East would be one of the world's best vacation destinations because of its peaceful nature, thriving civilization, and adherence to democratic principles.

Oh wait, this just in.....all of this happened before we deposed one of the most brutal and sadistic dictators in history (otherwise known as the evil war that Bush started for no reason at all).

What happened to the liberals from the 1990s who pronounced so righteously that they, through Clinton, were using foreign policy and military power to thwart dictators, to advance human rights? I guess the hundreds of thousands of murdered Iraqis and the torture and rape chambers that Saddam Hussein and his two horendous sons employed in Iraq don't matter though to liberals when the shoe is on the other political foot!

Posted by: mdpotter | August 7, 2007 1:31 PM

fred thompson bad c actor worst than reagan if that's possible, does not really want to to run for president, he is being forced by candidate starved repugs. all the neocons are a bunch of low morals, multiple marrying, affairs having with both men and women, who want to police the world.f.t. is just one of them with his golddigger wife. after a few years he will trade her in for one around his granddaughter's age.

Posted by: ninnafaye | August 7, 2007 12:11 PM

To borrow a phrase from a poster on the WSJ blog, Jeri's the nonlawyer wife of a non-presidential candidate.
I hope they live happily ever after as good moral parents of a child 8 mos old and a 4 year old. Surely their family values would prevent them from spending so much time away from their young family running for President. Oh but wait, I'm sure Republican morals will not get in the way of that.

Posted by: DeniseMchughMoor | August 7, 2007 11:59 AM

Enough already with this Fred Thompson joke! Mr. Excitement, the Candidate from Elmer Fudd? You gotta be kidding! The pollsters who keep coming up with this baloney must be in hysterics; are they the same creeps who keep bombarding us with the "inevitability" of Ankleless Annie?

Posted by: philip_riggio | August 7, 2007 11:33 AM

my heartfelt congratulations to Jeri Thompson on her having captured a trophy husband! Fred Thompson, talkin' tough, lookin' tough! Go!Girl!

Posted by: duane | August 7, 2007 12:08 AM

Is America really pining for another second rate actor with a trophy wife. At least Reagan was able to read his speeches, ahem, scripts(that others wrote).
Wake up and smell the blood we spilt in the name of conservative christians. Unless americans are on an extended stupid vacation, republicans should save their money for 2012, and try again, after the imbecille wave of 2006-2008 that saw the likes of Tancredo, Brownback and Romney. guaranteed mega loosers. Most Americans are tired of the right wing religious wingnuts that got us into the fix we are in today. And the war on terror: It's just getting rolling! If anyone thinks that the Islamists will quickly forget the murder of 500000 innocents will be forgotten, does not know the mentality of the people from that region. Bush and Cheney opened a can of worms, that will not reclose. And something like 32% of americans still have their heads in the sand! (I am being nice here)

Posted by: tropseas | August 6, 2007 11:47 PM

I second the following comment, because it expresses my feelings exactly, both about Jeri and about Al Gore, who also never earned a law degree:

Posted by: shewholives | August 6, 2007 04:25 PM

It is important. Professional credentials are hard earned, and should not be taken lightly. If she passed the bar, then she's an attorney. If not, she should correct the public record, as was done today. The insinuation here, is that they were in no hurry to make the correction. This article rightfully, though subtley questions the character of people who would either make up credentials or not correct erroneous misrepresented credentials.

Posted by: francislholland | August 6, 2007 11:33 PM

For those who say "so what?" or "why should Thompson have to correct the media?", I offer this:

Every year my employer has me update my resume. In education, I truthfully fill out that I have coursework, but no degree, in my field. Every year, I see that my previous resume has been changed to "Degree in x", and I correct it again (I imagine they do it to win contracts). I correct it rather than let it slide because I'm honest, or try to be. Because my parents taught me integrity. And I'm just a lowly employee. I'm not quasi-running for president.

A person who would deserve my vote would be the type who would say, "now wait a minute, my wife actually isn't a lawyer, despite what you've heard." A schmuck would let it pass and try to gain whatever advantage the misinformation would confer.

castanea has it exactly right - this is classic Republican strategy, plant inaccurate information as a seed in people's minds, and it becomes a meme, a given truth. After awhile, there will be those people who will swear she's a lawyer no matter how much evidence you give them that she isn't. Lies work, unfortunately.

Posted by: kerrang | August 6, 2007 11:30 PM

hey spete, you have no problem with this "non-candidate" raising millions of dollars, though, right?

Posted by: Spectator2 | August 6, 2007 11:18 PM

Isn't this the same Washington Post that for years has been putting forth the lie that Sally Quinn was a writer when indeed her only talents are more likely in line with those of Ms. Thompson. A taste for gristle and musk and an ability to suppress one's gag reflex does not transform a harridan arriviste into a doyenne or a Barbie doll into an attorney.

Posted by: JGrim | August 6, 2007 11:02 PM

There is NO WAY in hell Fred Thompson can win the Republican nomination precisely because of his bimbo wife.

Posted by: wangbang747 | August 6, 2007 10:53 PM

All of y'all saying this is tabloid crap remind me of a buddy I have who despises Brittney Spears, but will click on any news remotely relevant to her. You clicked on the link, you read the article, you're as much to blame as the author is for this story, and the ones that will follow.

Secondly, a spouse's credentials are hardly newsworthy, except in the case where they are actively taking a part in the candidate's campaign. She's rumored to be running meetings, people. I want to know what she has accomplished if she is going to play such an integral part in his presidency. Whatever you may think of lawyers, whether someone is a lawyer or not does say something about the person. Look at FT. He is not one-dimensional, probably because objectivity is a trait that is forced upon you as a lawyer.

Posted by: rudydpimp | August 6, 2007 10:52 PM

Gosh I don't really care whether the "trophy wife" is a lawyer or not. The more I learn about Fred Thompson himself, the more itis obvious he's not Presidential material. Mark my words... Even if Fred Thompson won the Republican primaries (which is extremely doubtful)he won't ever be President... Nopt a chance in hell.

Posted by: Geno2 | August 6, 2007 10:47 PM

" her ex-boyfriend's last name shows up on some court judgments against her in Tennessee."

these court judgments pertain to unpaid medical and hospital bills. well this is a good example for freddyboi to think about coverage for his teenage looking wife and 47 million other uninsured americans!! do it fred ,get her medical coverage and all other needy americans !!

Posted by: WILLEM1 | August 6, 2007 10:36 PM

I think I've got the "worst" person for Mr Keith Olberman MSNBC: "poor boy" Chris Wallace of foxnews. Sean Hannity takes a break today

Posted by: henkor2001 | August 6, 2007 10:01 PM

In spite of what some Thompson supporters may think, the lack of truthfulness and "virtuosity" of Thompson's wife is or, at least should be, important to his rightwing Republican supporters. But then again, maybe not. Republicans are quite good at hypocrisy. They can easily make huge issues of non-issues like unplugging the tubes on the already-brain-dead Terri Schiavo then never utter a peep when one of their own pulls the tubes from a live spouse, a la Billy Graham.

Posted by: NewBostonYankee | August 6, 2007 9:47 PM

Wow. You libs are already jumping on this guy and his wife. He isn't even in the race yet. Why don't you wait for him to declare candidacy first before expending all of that liberal vitriol to dig up dirt.

Posted by: spete1972 | August 6, 2007 9:44 PM

She's a lawyer...or an astrophysicist...or a neuro surgeon; she's a lawyer, an astrophysicist AND a neurosurgeon...and tomorrow she'll be an electrical engineer and an astronaut...

Actually, she's a Republican; they lie; what's new?

Posted by: Jerryvov | August 6, 2007 9:39 PM

Funny reading how comfortable republican punks are with lies and half truths. Fight the good fight, fools! You've got at least 25 percent of the country on your side!

And as for the halfwit above who insinuated that outgoing members of the Clinton administration vandalized the White House and other presidential properties, check out:

Shows you what a crass bunch of liars the Bushies were right from the start.

Posted by: castanea | August 6, 2007 9:38 PM

Trophy or no, there is a term for any guy who marries a woman younger than his daughter: a Dirty old man.

I can't believe that anybody takes his candidacy seriously.

Posted by: grimmke | August 6, 2007 9:37 PM

I recall once Jeri told a friend "had she married a younger guy, she would have been 50 lbs lighter".

Posted by: chensiqi | August 6, 2007 9:22 PM

All things considered, the GOP must be dancing with joy that ol' Fred's not hooked up with an underage male page or male prostitute pretending to be a journalist. Go Jeri!!!! You show 'em what true family values are.

Posted by: noGOP4me | August 6, 2007 9:07 PM

Why is the WP spending any time on the gossip about Fred Thompson's wife? I want to know more about Fred Thompson's lobbying efforts and his involvement in the S&L debacle in the 80s.
If we find out more about THAT we might begin to know what kind of man he is and what kind of President he'd make. His wife whether she's a lawyer or not just sounds like another D.C. salesman with a product to sell.

Posted by: rc53 | August 6, 2007 9:04 PM

Zanzara: That is why I used the word "can" and not will. I certainly do not disagree that prosecutors run afoul of this requirement. As for Angela Davis, she was my criminal procedure professor, so I am very familiar with her opinions.

Posted by: merganser | August 6, 2007 9:03 PM

If unpaid medical bills are an issue, why noy highlight illegal immigrants' abuse of emergency rooms. Think those bills get paid? That's why medical costs are spiraling out of control, and why hospitals are going belly up.

Posted by: dude_wheres_my_country | August 6, 2007 9:01 PM

I have an idea. When the Post next runs an editorial bemoaning the fact that the 2008 presidential candidates aren't spending enough time focusing on "the issues" (and they will), that the candidates are spending too much time attacking one another's character, and that campaign ads are too negative and personality-focused, we can all send the editors copies of articles like this one.

Practice what you preach, "People" magaz . . . err, I mean, "Washington Post."

Posted by: dcpost1 | August 6, 2007 8:51 PM

This is important: if it were not, there wouldn't be a million comments. Look, for a moment at Jeri Thompson. Is she not the BELLE IDEALE of 90% of American women, under and over 45, whether they admit it or not? Bryn Mawr ladies, I understand. She is not your cup of tea. If someone with her qualities came to rest on my divan, would I not be very flattered? And please leave and close the door behind you so I can talk... policy with her. And wait 'till she starts to trash Hillary, oh so politely. Check it out: America's next First Lady. I LOVE it. P J Tramdack

Posted by: PJTramdack | August 6, 2007 8:47 PM

Well, she can always become an administrative law judge. Though she hasn't a J.D., she looks like she's got a couple of double-D's.

Posted by: philip_riggio | August 6, 2007 8:28 PM

"indeed a real lawyer can get disbarred for not correcting a material fact she knows to be false"

Ha Ha Ha! Now, you don't REALLY BELIEVE THAT, NOW, DO YOU, merganser? Cuz' I can tell you "cuz" if that WERE true and enforced, it would "disbar" well over half the federal prosecutors in this country who work for the U.S. Department of Justice, not to mention the AG, the DAG and all their assorted assistants!!

Sheesh! That's the most naive post I've read in a long time! Go and read Angela Davis' front page article today on the Legal Times website about prosecutors-now THAT woman knows whereof she speaks!

Posted by: zanzara | August 6, 2007 8:22 PM

the great pretender(s)?

Posted by: oviddulay | August 6, 2007 8:18 PM

Republicans lying? Never. The Thompsons just didn't recall that she didn't become a lawyer.

Posted by: bobtich | August 6, 2007 8:13 PM

Sad how many posters here miss the point. The Thompson camp let go uncorrected that Jeri is not a lawyer. This is not outright lying, but still wrong--indeed a real lawyer can get disbarred for not correcting a material fact she knows to be false. Perhaps people are so inured to the lying of Republicans, and I will grant you lying about the pretext for a war is far worse, that they attack the messenger. As I stated above, I uncovered and posted this fact yesterday and am pleased to see the Post report it. Don't people think we need some honesty and geniuneness after the nightmare of the past six years?

Posted by: merganser | August 6, 2007 7:56 PM

Apparently, bd-you can't read. harrywitt is correct-he was the most do-nothing senator whose gigantic ego was constantly in search of the better movie or tv role-feeding that ego of his through acting was all he ever really cared about

Being a big movie star, and of course, his love of blonde women in high stiletto heels.....

Posted by: zanzara | August 6, 2007 7:52 PM

Apparently, the main skill of comment writers is having a potty mouth.

Posted by: jonstephens | August 6, 2007 7:51 PM

Am i missing something here? It would seem the important matter is that fox again reports false story and nobody got fired. Why is that?

Posted by: waawaazaire | August 6, 2007 7:50 PM

Gotta love the post. The can't really find anything wrong with Fred Thompson, so they attack his wife. How low!

Posted by: bdstauffer | August 6, 2007 7:44 PM

For some reason the whole relationship between Jeri and Fred brings to mind lyrics from Joan Baez's Altar Boy and The Thief:

At night in the safety of shadows and numbers.
Seeking some turf on which nothing encumbers.
The buying and selling of casual looks.
Stuff that gets printed in x-rated books.
Your mother might have tried to understand.
When you were hardly your daddy's little man.
And you gave up saluting the chief
To find yourself some relief.

Mmmmmmm ... wonder what in my subconscious triggered this line of thought?

Posted by: skvanbibber | August 6, 2007 7:43 PM

On a more serious note. As a Tennessean I found Fred to be a real do nothing of a senator.

Posted by: harrywitt | August 6, 2007 7:32 PM

This is not about Jeri, it is not about factual omissions, it is not about Fred Thompson. It is about the fact that the Democrats still have no platform except that they do not like George Bush. And that is not a platform because he is a lame duck. None of the issues mentioned in posts above are reflected in any Democratic candidates' platforms. They are, however, reflected in many of the Republicans' platforms vying for the next US Presidency. This includes Fred Thompson, who is not the subject of the sad article that started all of this mewling.

Posted by: rvgammill | August 6, 2007 7:28 PM

I thought the cleavage thing with Hillary was stupid, and that she made so much money off of it was gravy. The Washington Post has gotten weird about the women involved in politics. I am guessing the female writers (not journalists) are very lonely on Saturday nights, unable to get a date and getting rejected by their two cats who would rather lick its hind quarters that have some hairy armed feminist ask for a kiss. How much fun could these bitter women be? I borrowed from everyone to get through college, took 10 years to pay off all the loans, and did some crazy things. Haven't we all? Heck, Obama was snorting cocaine while Jeri was in the hospital recovering from a car crash, and this is who the WaPo feminuts went after? I know they are all Mo Dowd wannabees -- aging desperately lonely women begging for companionship and relevance. I saw Michelle Obama, a lawyer, use her best ghetto slang to introduce her husband to an audience as "My babies' daddy". Isn't she a lawyer? Lonely Women of the Washington Post -- find a website that will make you less lonely, and leave the well endowed women, democrat and republican, alone. It is not politics to write about someone's boyfriend from 20 years ago, or should we whip Juanita Broderick? Mary Jo Kopechne?

Posted by: Cornell1984 | August 6, 2007 7:20 PM

I'm quite sure that Jeri is not now, nor will she ever be, the candidate, which might go a long way in explaining why the campaign has not been reticent when they have consistently declined to answer any questions about her -- they have been consistent...either proof your own piece or disclaim that what follows is an attempt at sensational this case a very feeble attempt. This kind of coverage is exactly why so few imminently qualified people opt out of elected office and high-profile public service. Yawn.

Posted by: paul20002 | August 6, 2007 7:14 PM

" her ex-boyfriend's last name shows up on some court judgments against her in Tennessee."

these court judgments pertain to unpaid medical and hospital bills. well this is a good example for freddyboi to think about coverage for his teenage looking wife and 47 million other uninsured americans!! do it fred ,get her medical coverage and all other needy americans !!

Posted by: WILLEM1 | August 6, 2007 6:54 PM

We did not know for 30 years that Hillary failed her bar examination the first time. She is supposed to be the most intelligent woman in the world. Perhaps Mrs. Thompson will acquire a law degree and pass the bar examination on the first attempt.

Posted by: tsapp77 | August 6, 2007 6:53 PM

No, Tucker Carlson is NOT the son of Margaret Carlson. His father is, however, a former head of the U.S. Information Agency and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Posted by: scott_farris | August 6, 2007 6:52 PM

Funny, where were all these "offended" conservatives, SO upset and insulated by the coverage of FT ands his trophy, such a TRIVIAL use of the media, when Hillary Clinton's cleavage was the issue. Oh, THAT'S OK, though. It's a Dem. Guess the Post wasn't so liberal THAT day.

Again, the GOP - the party of hypocrisy.

Posted by: vze2r3k5 | August 6, 2007 6:52 PM

caroldddd : You're right but incomplete. You left out the disgusting trailer trash that took the furniture and silver with her when she slithered out in Jan 2001! She would have taken the toilet paper too but she didn't know what it was used for.

Posted by: computer1 | August 6, 2007 6:50 PM

Fred Thompson is also divorced from his first wife, whom he married in 1959 when he was 17. They divorced in 1985, let's see... if trophy wife was 35 in 2002, she was 18 when he divorced his wife of 26 years. (At least he didn't commit adultery with her before marrying her, which I think is true of Guiliani.)

Anyway, if the old F**T announces, we will be up to 4 main Ruthuglican candidates and... 10 wives?

Posted by: dotellen | August 6, 2007 6:45 PM

We'd be even more of a laughing stock and less respected if citizens of other countries read these posts. It's an open competition to see who can dive into the shallowest pool. I haven't read anything that rises above "my dad can beat up your dad." Do these people vote? Gawd, I hope not.

Posted by: thuff7 | August 6, 2007 6:45 PM

I, for one, am sick of 1st ladies. Laura Bush is an enabler who does not care about the average American. She is not to be believed. The really great recent 1st ladies were Betty Ford and Lady Bird. With Jeri and Fred as our representatives, could we become more of a laughing stock and less respected around the world. (I think we could.)

Posted by: caroldddd | August 6, 2007 6:40 PM

She's not a lawyer?! You bet that matters especially when the "non-candidate" is sending out feelers as to whether or not to run. To counter the TW image Jeri has, "supporters" (read: another Rove) float that she is "substantial" - a lawyer... Turns out she was probably the receptionist/secretary Fred saw at his lawyers office and hustled her. Yup, it matters alright, tells us the character of Fred's campaign-"vision for America"...

Just like Rudy's wife... I agree, the current bunch of the family values GOP candidates (8 wives for 3 guys... hey, are they all Mormons?), are a desperate joke. But it's all about how the current republikan party operates - bait and switch then deny, deny, deny. These guys are borderline personalities at best, sociapathic at worst.

Posted by: wjaxon | August 6, 2007 6:38 PM

This is pathetic. Seems like the Post and the Times want to spend their time covering Rudy and Fred's wives and Mitt's dog.

Posted by: clydle | August 6, 2007 6:35 PM

As someone who worked hard to get through law school and pass the bar exam, I deeply resent others who did not but do not correct reports that they did.

Other above had already made the other points I was going to:

1) She is definitely a trophy wife, regardless of what she did before, because she is much younger than he is, blond, and (as mentioned above) "hot," and

2) She definitely seems to be trash, and her remarks about Margaret Carlson (is Tucker really her son) prove it.

I've seen a couple of photos of her on Fred's arm in revealing evening clothes, which also help to prove both points above.

One would think that a public that could not abide an outspoken, independent wife (Teresa Heinz Kerry) would also not abide a bimbo former "media consultant" (what, she clipped news clips?), but give the general taste of the American voting public, putting Bush Lite into the presidency twice, one would probably be wrong.

Still, it IS clear that Jeri is no Laura Bush.

Posted by: theRealCalGal | August 6, 2007 6:22 PM

Who cares? Clinton and her husband have set the standards for morality and ethical behavior so low that no politician will ever have to worry about it.

Posted by: rplat | August 6, 2007 6:20 PM

Who cares? Clinton and her husband have set the standards for morality and ethical behavior so low that no politician will ever have to worry about it.

Posted by: rplat | August 6, 2007 6:20 PM

who cares? It says alot about the state of the Thompson campaign when his 30-years-his-junior wife gets more coverage than his policy positions.

Posted by: ckennedy9200 | August 6, 2007 6:09 PM

zanzara: "Now, we need to marry up the Creature with-Mr. I'm-only-in-this-for-me-Sec. Michael Chertoff-who is a dead wringer for Dracula (someone else said Skeletor-that's also acceptable!"

Skeletor is my hero! Ha ha ha. I used to love watching He-Man many years ago with my kids.

Posted by: johng1 | August 6, 2007 6:07 PM

Washrag, you are a trip! A pure delightful trip. Why you hatin' on Boobalicious Jeri? We can't ever wring no good news out of the Rag, but here you are raggin' on good ole Jeri about her non existent law degree and what she does for Hound Dog Fred. One just has to wonder why? I mean, four years ago you couldn't support any of the viable demoncratic canditdates- sorry, my bad, that should be democrats- and here you are now ripping Jeri a brand new pair of boobs. You, who supported those swiftboaters, and just could not support Kerry, you, who ragged on John Edwards hair cut costs(by the way, I am poor and I didn't give a poop about it), you, who supported the impeachment of Clinton, are now ragging on one of your republican wannabe's wives. You, the venerable WashRag, helped lead us into war, supported King George, is now tearing into Jeri Thompson? And you wonder why I wouldn't wipe my tail with this rag.

Posted by: Soullady53 | August 6, 2007 5:59 PM

I did a search for Jeri Thompson on and there is no article cross referenced by Juan Williams.

Posted by: gwpriester | August 6, 2007 5:57 PM

Fred Flintstone and Jeri Juggs. They deserve each other.

The nation, however, deserves better.

Posted by: Mithras | August 6, 2007 5:55 PM

Conservatives want to unite around Fred Thompson! So, it was revealed that in the early 90's Fred Thompson worked as a consultant for Planned Parenthood. Now, the truth about Jerry Thompson's career is NOT what the Thompson campaign had spun. Conservatives unite!

Posted by: mainetimes | August 6, 2007 5:54 PM

I guess I'm in the minority here given the comments above, but when your husband is near the top of the polls for the presidential nomination, absolutely it's relevant whether the media understands your occupation or not. Multiple mainstream outlets were reporting that she was a lawyer (when she's not) and the campaign stuck to a policy of no comment -- effectively allowing the misrepresentation to fester. Plus influential conservative blogs picked up the story, which calls their credibility (further) into question. If you think that merely reporting that makes the Post a tabloid, then that's something wrong with you, not the Post.

There have been a bunch of instances of high-profile people having to quit their jobs when it was revelaed that they had misrepresented their backgrounds. A medal never earned, a varsity spot that was never played, a school never attended, etc. Same here.

Posted by: simpleton1 | August 6, 2007 5:48 PM

Isn't it the Washington Posts job find out about Jeri's past? You "journalists" don't do your job so you blame it on someone else, how very liberal of you.

Posted by: jbbarbeque | August 6, 2007 5:45 PM

This is a Washington Post that has refused to cover the democrats vote rigging in the House. This is why Americans turn to the internet for the facts. I love earning report time -- declining circulation (even when they lie), layoffs of staff (union workers always the first to go), selling of assets and losing advertisers. Why would anyone advertise in the WaPo? What is next -- 3 headed alien lives comes back to life as Anna Nicole Smith? Elvis works for McCain? Lonely Washington feminist writers with small breast angry at a hot wife?

Posted by: Cornell1984 | August 6, 2007 5:42 PM

Campaigns are in the habit of generating a picture, which might just be an illusion. Fred Thompson will probably claim that he was a successful DA (Law and Order), just like Ms. Thompson was said to be a lawyer until it became untenable.
Just look what his campaign and staff has done for George W. Bush since 2000. Enough people believed it and his empty promises to get him elected twice, before they found out the truth. - A good propaganda machine will get anyone elected or made into a political American Idol.

Posted by: beagun27 | August 6, 2007 5:41 PM

I think it's pretty funny. First Thompson - or his campaign representative, if you can award such a title to somebody running a campaign for someone who has not declared their candidacy - categorically denies ever acting as a lobbyist for a certain DC firm, and then later has to admit Fred Thompson did act as a lobbyist for the same firm. Now they permit the media to blather on about how she's a lawyer, and never bother to correct the record, because it makes her look good. I bet if they spelled her name wrong, it'd be corrected the same day.

Anyway, whether or not she's a trophy wife is much less important than the apparent truth that the Fred Thompson campaign for an undeclared candidacy can't seem to get its facts straight. The "I'm president but I can't remember what I did yesterday" routine has already been done by Reagan.

Posted by: marknesop | August 6, 2007 5:41 PM

I'm surprised so many think this article was unfair. It sheds light on a lie. One of omission at the least. How many useless articles did we see about potential First Lady's use of anti-depressants? When you step into that ring, it's all fair game.

Posted by: jregan | August 6, 2007 5:40 PM

I like the fact that this non-lawyer (LOL) has an outstanding judgment against her back in Tennessee.

Maybe she is hoping her big ol' teddy bear of a husband will pardon her when he gets elected president.

Posted by: Spectator2 | August 6, 2007 5:39 PM

Pathetic! Does this mean we have to hear about how Hillary failed the DC bar exam and only then followed Bill to Arkansas? Who cares about this trash???

Posted by: independent_1 | August 6, 2007 5:38 PM

There is a rumor that journalists work for the Washington Post. As we can clearly see, no journalist works at the Washington Post. The staff is made up of spiteful, foolish feminists in desperate need of a night with a real man. Of course, there are the male writers, who have two posters in their studio apartments -- Rosie O'Donnell and Boy George. These are not professional journalists -- they hate anyone who doesn't vote republican, think Bill Clinton's bulbous nose is totally hot and sexy, and who still counts chads in their sleep. The Washington Post's treatment of Mrs. Thompson is truly the beginning of their downfall. When a newspaper makes Rupert Murdoch look ethical and professional, it should print pink slips in bulk.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | August 6, 2007 5:35 PM

Odd, I posted on my blog that Rena Kirsh is a giraffe, and haven't seen a correction from the WaPo correcting my incorrect story.

So, either it's true, or the WaPo is trying to cover up the fact that Rena Kirsh is not, in fact, a giraffe.

Have I hit equally stupid to the above non-story? Maybe...

Posted by: bogus | August 6, 2007 5:35 PM

Well I for one am pleased by this story as it might be evidence that the writers at the Post read the comments of readers. I should get credited by Alec MacGillis. Pasted below is what I wrote yesterday. Despite what some may think, it is important to get the facts right.
As some have noted, article does not mention her attending law school. Yet, many blogs and reporters have referred to her as a lawyer. If so, this should be a story, i.e., they are wrong. She does not come up in any web searches of lawyers--Martindale, Findlaw, and appears to be one of the many lobbyist non-lawyers that work at some DC firms, including the now defunct Verner Lipfert. The only thing these folks have is connections, not degrees.

Posted by: merganser | August 6, 2007 5:33 PM

Smarty Pants proved me right!!! Thanks!

Posted by: jregan | August 6, 2007 5:32 PM

Hey Anjos! Those 5 bullet points would probably look something like this
- He's tall.
- I liked Law & Order.
- He has a deep voice.
- Reminds me of my grandpa.
- His wife is hot.

That's all they've got for pro-FT ammo. Fluff.

Posted by: jregan | August 6, 2007 5:31 PM

Lawyer or not she is H-O-T hot. And she apparantly was somewhat successful prior to their marraige. Way to go Fred.

Posted by: smarty_pants | August 6, 2007 5:31 PM

Funny how Fred's supporters all used the following logic: "She's a lawyer, therefore she is not a trophy wife."

Typical right-wing sheep: Repeat a lie (or in this case, a myth) long enough & it becomes "fact."

No wonder these people spend their lives in fear.

Posted by: ssomo | August 6, 2007 5:26 PM

So every time the media gets its facts about a public personality wrong, it's the responsibility of that person to contact the media and clear up the matter? You gotta be kidding me.

In the first place, who could possibly keep track of all the factual inaccuracies reported by the media?

In the second place, does the media really think that public personalities sit around all day combing the newspapers, keeping tabs on exactly what facts were said about them by every last two-bit blogger and pundit? Please. Get over yourself, journalists.

Posted by: blackdoggerel | August 6, 2007 5:23 PM

The fact is that both Republican front runners, Giuliani as well as Thompson, are going to have to answer lots of questions about their younger wives with checkered pasts, and not just about law degrees:

Posted by: connectdots | August 6, 2007 5:22 PM

Why all the fuss about a tropy wife. Trophy wives rock. Got one myself right here in Annandale, and I'm a Democrat. Relax Republicans, some of us Democrats have come to praise you and your wives.

Posted by: Annandale | August 6, 2007 5:20 PM

My God, she's NOT a lawyer? Why the very foundations of the Republic are threatened. Jeez...WaPo is becoming more and more tabloid each day.

Posted by: luca_20009 | August 6, 2007 5:18 PM

Remember Fred's previous girlfriend-he likes 'em young, and he likes 'em BLOND-the very attractive country music star Lorrie Morgan, for whom he used to buy very expensive stiletto heels (no doubt to fill them with champagne) so she could strut her stuff by his side as the arm candy he always needs to make him look less like the Creature that he truly is!

Posted by: zanzara | August 6, 2007 5:13 PM

Who cares if she is a lawyer or a political consultant? This is a non-starter "problem" and I am not even a republican, but seriously, journalism like this is lacking. WaPo is now a gossip rag tabloid.

Posted by: jbur816 | August 6, 2007 5:12 PM

Keep up the trash bash. Heaven forbid that the campaign should be about anything as dull as social security or immigration. Don't ever make any of those GOP candidates argue any real plans for greater energy independence. Keep the flocks distracted with gossip, yessiree.

Posted by: jkoch1 | August 6, 2007 5:09 PM

A previous commentator stated that "the Thompson campaign didn't move to correct the public record...."

What record?

As I see it, the public record was conjured up by the MSM with nothing better to do. Sounds like the Washington Post and the other MSM outlets need to slay some dead wood. The type of "journalism" exhibited by the article certainly isn't going to increase readership.

Posted by: svining | August 6, 2007 5:04 PM

An actor marrying someone 20+ years his junior and running for president should expect tabloid coverage of his run for the presidency. Can a Thompson supporter give us a 5 bullet summary of why they think he should be president?

Posted by: anjos | August 6, 2007 5:04 PM

The truth about Old Fred Thompson's wife matters because, well, the TRUTH matters! If she's hint-hint, nudge-nudge letting the lie out there that she's been a lawyer, it should be exposed that she's not. Because the American people should know important facts about the people who may one day be in a position to have power over the lives of those American people.

The U.S. is currently suffering through the seventh year of a man who portrayed himself as a "compassionate conservative" and a successful businessman. But the truth that was not revealed until much later is that he's a former alcoholic with mental damage who took great pleasure in ordering people to be executed and ran his businesses into the ground until they were bailed out by his rich controllers. If people had been told the truth about that, perhaps things would not be so bad.

I don't care about whether Jeri Thompson had breast implants, just like I don't care about Hillary Clinton's cleavage. (In fact, thinking about the latter makes me a bit bilious, and I'm a hetero guy.) What I do care about is learning whether people, including wives who aim to exert influence over the policies of their elected husbands, are frauds and deceivers. So a story about the bogosity of her "law degree" is fair game in my book.

Posted by: Bukkonen | August 6, 2007 5:03 PM

Washington Post -
Love the tabloid reporting.

Who cares if she's a "lawyer" or not.

Please dish up the real dirt and tell us if the boobs are real and what's in her garbage?

Posted by: grannymiller | August 6, 2007 5:02 PM

This is absolute nonsense. The first response to any questions about Mrs. Thompson was given today when Fred defended her, claiming sole responsibility for the campaign (read Byron York interview). The next response, on the very same day, refutes two items and two items only: No law degree and never married.
What is the media's expectation here? That the campaign is responsible for fact checking stories and making immediate calls responding to select inaccuracies ONLY IF they raise her profile? If they have a stance of responding to any stories on her, then make a point to say she doesn't have a law degree, the media would note that as a de facto admission of every other story's validity.
Yossarian lives

Posted by: dagovner | August 6, 2007 5:01 PM

I'm having a hard time understanding why she's classified as a light weight "trophy wife". Yes, she's younger than her husband. Yes, she's attractive. So? Does the fact that she chose to leave her job (in which she appears to have been successful) and raise her family automatically make her a light weight?


Just because a woman chooses to raise her family instead of persuing a career doesn't make her a slouch intellecutally. Perhaps the folks calling her a trophy wife and implying that she's a light weight ought to check their prejudice.

Posted by: ka0993 | August 6, 2007 5:01 PM

She was a "consultant"? He was a "Senator"? Do they live their entire lives between ironic quotation marks?

Posted by: davidclow | August 6, 2007 5:00 PM

Is this a "Meow moment" for the author (and his researcher), or what?

What kind of headline is that? For a moment I thought she must have a same-sex dalliance in her past.

That is a pretty compelling gotcha on the Thompson campaign - they didn't spring to liberate the media from the clutches of its own ignorance with enough alacrity!

Pretty Poor, Post.

Posted by: mail555 | August 6, 2007 4:56 PM

Of course this is a legitimate issue, and shame on anyone who tries to suggest otherwise. If you know someone is referring to you as a lawyer when you aren't, you have a responsibility to actively dispel that rumor, even if you are not positioning yourself for a run for the presidency. This speaks directly to the veracity and trustworthiness of the Thompson "campaign." I can't believe anyone in the Republican party is foolish enough to place their trust in this empty suit.

Posted by: jerkhoff | August 6, 2007 4:55 PM

Re: the earlier Post references to Ms. Thompson as a lawyer. This is just another example of the WaPo not doing an adequate job of checking what it puts into print.

Whether Ms. Thompson is a lawyer or just a flack is not really relevant to Mr. Thompson's (non?)campaign. What is significant is that the Post published misleading info...yet again!

Posted by: mikes1 | August 6, 2007 4:52 PM

Well, we all know how important the truth is to the media and to our elected representatives in Washington, DC. When a president who is a Democrat lies to cover a tawdry sexual liaison, that's grounds for impeachment. When an Republican administration spends over six years systematically lying to lead the country into war, cover up deals with big oil, refuses to follow the Geneva Convention, briefs federal employees about supporting Republican candidates, and offs federal attorneys are who are not using their offices to oust Democrats, that's called restoring character and values to the White House. Leading news organizations couldn't fact-check stories painting Thompson's wife in a favorable light? Fox attacks NPR's veracity? Hey, that's just journalism -- journalism that the Soviets and the Nazis understood quite well.

Posted by: Bob22003 | August 6, 2007 4:52 PM

Ha Ha Ha! Creature from the Black Lagoon! Funny-and SO TRUE! Thompson, who's a "connections" kind of man, full of himself, and his considerable ego-but quite short of content-he's just a big NO from the get-go. And his wife! EEeeeuw!

Now, we need to marry up the Creature with-Mr. I'm-only-in-this-for-me-Sec. Michael Chertoff-who is a dead wringer for Dracula (someone else said Skeletor-that's also acceptable!

Posted by: zanzara | August 6, 2007 4:51 PM

What matters the most is that the seed has been planted in the minds of many potential voters that she is an "accomplished" attorney. From here on out, no matter how much traction the truth--that is, that she doesn't even have a law degree--gets, the falsehood that she has practiced law (and the faux respect that such a thing entails) will continue to get airplay.

This sort of thing is straight out of the Republican playbook. Lie, bend the truth, and when called on it, move to another topic.

Posted by: castanea | August 6, 2007 4:48 PM

Anyone who has worked in public affairs and had professional interaction with Jeri knows that she's a great many things - but politically impressive is not among them. She is a lightweight but any reasonable standard.

Posted by: billcolton | August 6, 2007 4:46 PM

Its a sad state commentary of life in Washington if Fred Thompson has women calling and pursuing him. Its even sadder that people would actually want this guy to be their next president. Thompson's supporters must be the 25% who still think Bush is doing a good job.

Posted by: bringbackimus | August 6, 2007 4:43 PM

That's it? She's got no law degree? How about her opinions about key issues of the day? Fred is certainly another empty suit with nineteenth century ideas. How about sticking to the real issues for a while, during your "campaign diary" or is it really just another TV show election with more airheaded media dribble oozing out the sides?

Posted by: cmaexecutive | August 6, 2007 4:41 PM

Ever notice how Fred Thompson resembles The Creature From the Black Lagoon?

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | August 6, 2007 4:39 PM

with articless like these the Washington Post is rapidly heading down the path of "famous for being depised".

sure, it might make them money (hell. i viewed the advertising banners when reading the article) but is that really the road our ostensibly second best national newspaper wants to go down?

Posted by: dummypants | August 6, 2007 4:38 PM

What candidacy? Best I can tell, he's not running.

Posted by: vze2r3k5 | August 6, 2007 4:38 PM

I'm not sure that being called a lawyer is a compliment, especially outside the beltway.

Anyway, for those who are counting...this is article 15 in the Post's daily macacca-slinging campaign to derail the Thompson candidacy.

Posted by: gitarre | August 6, 2007 4:37 PM

Wow, an actor with a trophy wife. THAT'S a new one....The right never cease to amaze. Seems like the spend all their time blasting the "Hollywood" liberals, yet fall all over themselves in starry-eyed wonder, lovingly trying to catch glimpses of their very own Hollywood actor. Seems hypocritical....oh wait, this IS the Republicans, the party of 8 wives among three candidates, the "family-values" party. What a joke!!

Posted by: vze2r3k5 | August 6, 2007 4:33 PM

Fred Thompson looks like walking cancer. Who on earth would vote for him? He's a lobbyist who got lucky in acting.

Posted by: gasmonkey | August 6, 2007 4:32 PM

It is important. Professional credentials are hard earned, and should not be taken lightly. If she passed the bar, then she's an attorney. If not, she should correct the public record, as was done today. The insinuation here, is that they were in no hurry to make the correction. This article rightfully, though subtley questions the character of people who would either make up credentials or not correct erroneous misrepresented credentials.

Posted by: | August 6, 2007 4:28 PM

Sounds like white trash.

Posted by: shewholives | August 6, 2007 4:25 PM

Who cares? Well, I care, if the future holds more pictures of Jeri n' the Geezer like the one that appeared in Sunday's Post.

I did not appreciate that wave of nausea. If FT runs for Pres, I'll need to more carefully coordinate breakfast and newspaper reading.

Posted by: trichobezoar | August 6, 2007 4:25 PM

this is just typical of the free pass that the press have given this gas bag from law and order. and typical of the disingeniousness that thompson has shown thru out his dance with the media.l

Posted by: nobleone | August 6, 2007 4:24 PM

It's quite a back-door trick to quote someone else who disparages someone. You get to put the slander in the public domain and blame someone else at the same time. And of course, quoting Chris Wallace is always a code phrase to the fellow anti-Republicans.

But all things said, what a rubbish column/blog. Get out of the gutter and write about real issues or go eat bon bons and watch ET all day.

Posted by: thuff7 | August 6, 2007 4:24 PM

"It is a measure of how rapid Jeri Kehn Thompson's rise to prominence
has been that there has been widespread confusion about a basic fact of her background: whether or not she is a lawyer."

er...who cares? This is getting more and more supermarket tabloid all the time.

Posted by: tdvance1 | August 6, 2007 4:16 PM

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