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Frist's Quiet Trip to S.C.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) made a swing through South Carolina over the weekend as he continues to contemplate a run for president in 2008.

Frist raised cash on Friday for state Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who is challenging Democratic Rep. John Spratt in the 5th District this November. The following day he spoke to the state Republican executive committee, touching on hot-button conservative topics like judges and the "culture of life," according to one Frist aide. Frist also huddled with Jim Roquemore, a major figure in the state's agriculture community and a Republican fundraiser. Roquemore lives in Orangeburg, located in the state's Midlands region.

The State's Lee Bandy described Frist as a man who has virtually given up campaigning for the 2008 presidential election. "The Tennessee Republican came and went almost unnoticed -- which apparently was the way he wanted it," wrote Bandy, the leading political reporter in the state. "There was little advance publicity and virtually no media."

Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, took issue with Bandy's characterization of the Frist trip, insisting that Frist received as "warm a reception" as any of the other 2008 Republicans who have toured the state.

Dawson admits he is somewhat "biased" toward Frist because of the senator's work in 2002 to help elect Lindsey Graham to the Senate. Frist, at the time the head National Republican Senatorial Committee, was "always there for us and never took a lot of credit," said Dawson.

Frist has also likely won some goodwill by his willingness to donate to state and local candidates in the Palmetto State from his Volunteer PAC. Neither Frist nor any of the other 2008 Republican hopefuls have hired any staff in the state, although knowledgeable GOPers say that Chip Saltsman, a former chairman of the Tennessee Republican party, is active on Frist's behalf in the state.

As I noted during my recent swing through South Carolina, Arizona Sen. John McCain is the current GOP frontrunner in the state, with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney second in terms of both organization and buzz.

Frist certainly has laid the groundwork over the past several cycles to be a major player in the state's "first in the South" primary, but his struggles in 2005 have cast some doubt on whether he will be a viable candidate in 2008.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 6, 2006; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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I really don't know that much about McCain but he seems too nice to be a republican. Republican candidates are usually phoney cheese-puffed smiley faces that have evil agendas.

Posted by: grover bannks | March 25, 2006 5:45 AM | Report abuse

Frist is "too good to be involved in politics" ?! That was hilarious.

You might want to double check the record on who is actually engaging in "petty partisan politics". You will find one Bill Frist.

Only blinding loyalty to the Right Wing could make you unable to recognize what a weasel this guy is.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Bill Frist is a good person - probably too good to be involved in politics. The stock issue is pretty much dead, and the other stuff is just petty partisan politics. I hope he doesn't run for President, simply because he is too decent.

Posted by: June Sanford | March 8, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

In response to What Liberal Media:

I will check it out and get back to you!

Posted by: Paul Adams | March 7, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Paul Adams said:

Here is why: If Sanford gets in the presidential campaign and wins the South Carolina primary (the proverbial key to the Republican Nomination) he will abandon the governors office to campaign full time...thus opening up a special election for the office of Governor.

Why wouldn't the Lt. Gov simply become governor?

Posted by: What Liberal Media | March 7, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Oh btw, in addition to being a cat killer and a diagnosis-by-video specialist for people in a vegetative state, let's not forget that he's still under investigation for insider trading with stock from his Pappy's company. Great guy, huh. A veritable symbol of the Republican Party.

Hey, maybe he'll be "reborn" in a 6'x10' cell in a federal pen somewhere. If anybody needs to find God it's him.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | March 6, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree and concur but remember it was South Carolina that took away the keys to a promising presidential bid 8 years ago for McCain. Sanford has been campaigning for 1600 ever since he got elected governor in 2002. The national pundits love him...just like they loved McCain. But there are some differences unlike McCain: Sanford out of the box has been against gay marraige, he is for intelligent design and he was for reforming the abramoff culture of Washington ever since he went to Washington in 1994. He was the guy who went to congress not taking the paycheck, nor the pension, nor any pac money. He swore to serve only three terms and he abided to keep his promise. When they offered him plum spots to stay (approps and ways and means) he told them he had to come home.

And yes he is a maverick and does not get along with the general assembly...but he will get reelected this year. The general assembly will support him if he starts exploring new hampshire and runs to GET RID of him so the good old boys can do what they want back here in South Carolina.

Just my thoughts. Remember he is a free agent in '08.

Posted by: Paul Adams | March 6, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Paul: an appealing but unlikely scenario. Sanford is too much of loose cannon for the Grand Ol' (Tax Breaks for Billionaires) Party to embrace with open arms. "Fiscal responsibility? A balanced budget? Break out the benadryl, Martha, I believe I'm having an allergic reaction."

McCain has spent years overcoming the previous loose cannon aspects of his personality while sucking up to the various GOP powers that be. SC is only one state out of many in the primaries and McCain would win in all of the others regardless of what Sanford does.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

There is no real arguement going on here...just petty name calling. I don't agree with Frist either. I don't think that he is a serious contenter for '08, '12 or beyond..the guy is crashed and burned. He is trying to be a team player for his party and the et tu brute he did to Trent Lott, really bad...but look at what Lott has been able to do while in the hinterlands. That guy his found himself again and is working to be an effective leader.

Frist, will become a footnote in our political history books and will become a commentator for F*# news...that will be his lot in life. Perhaps he will also get a job on the lecture circuit.

McCain on the other hand, will probably be the guy up until Mark Sanford decides that he wants to go to the dance himself...believe you me I live in South Carolina! That guy wants 1600 more than anybody I have EVER seen and he is playing it like LUKE, with a very COOL hand...remember on this very blog, he said he was a free agent, thus abandoning McCain when everybody in South Carolina is on the McCain bandwagon.

When the hometown boy gets on the stage...everybody will get behind the hometown boy. Here is why: If Sanford gets in the presidential campaign and wins the South Carolina primary (the proverbial key to the Republican Nomination) he will abandon the governors office to campaign full time...thus opening up a special election for the office of Governor. Every Republican in South Carolina will abandon McCain for Sanford to open up the governor's office in a low turnout special election.

Posted by: Paul Adams | March 6, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Frist is a charmless, creepy ghoul who wanted to crawl into Mrs. Schiavo's death bed, and his so-called "hopes" for being elected as the next president are as grim as the smirk on his face.

Were Cheney to resign, I do believe Bush would select Frist as replacement. Great! A simp to replace the blimp.

Posted by: Tabb Khan | March 6, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Senator Frist is nowhere close to being a good man.

Posted by: J. Crozier | March 6, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The word vile does come to mind when you think of someone who would walk into an animal shelter, pretend to "adopt" some cats and then proceed to torture and kill them.

Frist's "diagnosis" of Terri Schiavo would also qualify as vile. The fact that it was totally flawed is bad enough, but his pathetic pandering to the American Taliban Right really was beyond disgusting. Frist deserves any criticism he gets and more.

Posted by: Maria | March 6, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

In these times with your republican brethen illegally spying on all..ashamed of using my name NO WAY..but in these times DISCRETION IS THE BETTER PART OF VALOR. P.S. If your that brave, Barry, they could use your help in Iraq. You know that place that's bristling with WMD'S and Terrorists.

Posted by: Tired and Hungry | March 6, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I notice Tired and Hungry appears to be ashamed of his comments to use his real name.

Posted by: Barry Hoomes | March 6, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Just another republican pig..sniffing out votes as his party is loosing steam..possibly they should start bringing that macho man Cheney (You know the macho man with one GAY KID) with them to threaten the people into voting for them! ENOUGH ALREADY OF THESE FOOLS

Posted by: Tired and Hungry | March 6, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Senator Frist is a good man but doesn't really inspire anybody and I think he is aware his window of opportunity has all but closed. Sen McCain is only ahead because of name recognition and will quickly flame out when its crunch time. Calling a public servant vile just because you disagree with them only reflects poorly on the person making those comments. Liberal and Conservatives should be able to debate and disagree without getting personal.

Posted by: Barry Hoomes | March 6, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

As if his prior dismal record of being Dubya's rubber stamp isn't enough, his threat to change the rules to prevent oversight of the NSA wiretap program, despite support from Moderate Republicans to hold hearings disqualifies him.

It looks like the man is as big a divider (and stooge of the White House) in 2006 as he was last year.

Posted by: scootmandubious | March 6, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

It's not hard to see Frist shamelessly pandering to the bigots and homophobes of South Carolina's Republican Party. I'm sure Bob Jones University will be thrilled to have speak. What a vile public servant Frist has proven to be. No redeeming qualities.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | March 6, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

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