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Thompson Gives Low-Key Iowa Kickoff

Thompson fans in Iowa got what they wanted today: an official candidate visit. (AP).

Fred Thompson likes to say he's not a traditional candidate. His kickoff speech was a fitting metaphor.

He didn't give it in his hometown, to throngs of adoring voters, like Barack Obama did when he announced before a crowd estimated to be 15,000 strong. And Thompson didn't pick a classic, Iowa backdrop - maybe cornfields? - to serve as a reminder of the heartland theme of the tour.

And he didn't deliver a typical, tightly-written, speech that arcs toward that moment when the crowd erupts in spontaneous cheering for the person they desperately want to carry them into the White House.

Instead, Thompson gave his maiden campaign speech in Room 205 of the Des Moines Convention Complex in front of a faux granite set and three blue video screens with his campaign motto splashed across it: Security. Unity. Prosperity. A couple hundred people were in the room. His aides insisted it was 400 - maybe they were counting the press. But it was his speech that was even more of a departure.

Written, aides said, by Thompson himself and contained in notecards that the candidate took with him to the podium, the speech was unnaturally quiet and reserved. There were a few moments of stirring language that gave rise to some applause. But for the most part, it was serious and thoughtful and - boring?

That's Fred, say campaign aides. He's not a podium-pounding, voice-rising, preacher-like speaker. In fact, they said afterward, the opening words of his speech promised "a conversation" with voters - and that's what he offered.

Conversations are fine. But opening a campaign with a conversation is an interesting choice that might not play well on television screens - something that could be a first for the "Law & Order" star.

"Fred is Fred," said syndicated columnist Bob Novak, a longtime Thompson friend, who contrasted Thompson's laid-back style with the other "rah-rah" candidates in the race. "It's going to be interesting to see how that plays.

Novak called former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney "Mr. Enthusiasm - every girl's dream: handsome and bright and exuberant." Thompson, he said on Washington Post radio Thursday, is, well, different. "I don't know how Fred's going to go over," he said.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  September 6, 2007; 5:56 PM ET
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Criticizing Bush and Democratic Rivals


Beware-- America's Evita is coming and her name is Jeri Thompson

Posted by: Lumwyo | September 8, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

It's great that Thompson is in the race. After all, really really stupid people deserve a candidate who represents them. That's Fred, the stupidest candidate on the right. He has not said a single thing of interest. Just slogans and BS. I hope he wins. He will fold like a cheap suit in the general.

Posted by: storageboy | September 7, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Another reactionary Bush-wannabe; has no more credibility on national defense than my aunt Marie who owned a candy store in Brooklub.

As for his stand on abortion - ask him the Dukakis question: Would he criminalize the doctor who performed an abortion on his wife after she was gang-raped by escaped convicts?
Would he criminalize his wife? Would he shed one ounce of his family's blood for the Maliki government or the Iraqi civil warrior miscreants?

Posted by: shmaryahoopizzaman | September 7, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

(esponsibility--That's)sticky keys

Posted by: JimmieFromDayton | September 7, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Just in....more students drink less on thursday than Friday. Now that resposibility.

Posted by: JimmieFromDayton | September 7, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Thompson evokes not only Huckabee defending the US Empire and its militaristic imperialism and invasions and occupations.... but with German leaders in the 30's...with..

Security: Unity: Prosperity:

it has an evil aura of Oceania in 1984...

and THIS is conservatism???

the addledminded GOPers, all saddled with an acute affliction of FuerherPrinzip, are Pavlovian-like drinking the GOP induced koolaid and lockstepping into supporting another selected "conservative" for them to follow.....

into a morass of debt, deficits, and runaway inflation(of the currency...which is being bought off and then traded down by European and Chinese central bankers...) and a militaristic EMPIRE all over the globe hunting down monsters....

like the Founders(John Quincy Adams on that quote) WARNED AGAINST...

and so did Edward Gibbon in his seminal work(one that the current GOPers are utterly oblivious to...the fall of the Roman Empire...

Despite the controlled and contrived sham of an election, to make a statement(poke a finger in the eye of Big Brother) reregister Repugnican and vote for Congressman Ron Paul in the GOP tell the GOPers and its handlers the hell with their satraps of candidates and Empire and yes to the message of freedom, independence and soveriegnty that is so eloquently presented by Congressman and Doctor Paul.

Posted by: ChrisBieber | September 6, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Security: Voted for a war only to run away to act and lobby while he watched the Republican party lose its credentials for national security.

Unity: Played tappy-toes with the lobby for tort lawyers while he sold out conservatives, the gun industry, and business.

Prosperity: Fought harder for campaign finance reform than tax relief in 1998, 1999, and 2000 launching the US into a recession.

Posted by: mikeVA1 | September 6, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Fred is the right man, the right conservative to be the next President. He is doing the right thing with this campaign.

VETERANS are signing up to support him at

Posted by: opditch | September 6, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Issues! Issues! Issues! The 2008 election should be and is going to be about issues... not who can yell the loudest or write in the most applause lines... Not once did this article mention anything about any of the many serious issues facing America and the next President of the United States. Why?

I remember Gore screaming at a mostly black church... Hillary screams in several accents depending on where she's speaking... But Fred is genuine... and he speaks from the heart... not from the debate coach.

It's funny... he's long be criticized for being "just an actor" yet when he presents the issues to the voters... the media says basically "he needs to act more." What's up with that?

Go Fred - Beat Hillary
More than 100 Fred Thompson for President Merchandise designs

Posted by: FRedStatescom | September 6, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

So why are all these second tier candidates like Thompson,Romney, McCain, and Huckabee getting all the press while the front runner is getting blacked out by the MSM?
Could it be because all the second tier candidates are CFR puppets and the good Dr, Paul isn't?
Dr. Paul has more popular support than all the other GOP candidates combined. He also has more popular support than all the Democrat candidates combined.
And he's done this despite the MSM blackout.
Save our Constitution & our Nation.
Vote Ron Paul President 2008

Posted by: eco-pharm | September 6, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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