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The Case For Fred Thompson

It's been only a week since former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) acknowledged that he is considering a run for president in 2008.

But in that short time he has managed to generate considerable interest among grassroots activists and the national media alike. The question now is, will Thompson actually run? Today we make the case why he should. Later this week we'll argue the opposite.

Neither of these posts should be read as the definitive take on whether Thompson should run or not. Rather, they are meant to spark conversation, so feel free to agree, disagree, condemn or compliment in the comments section below.

He's Ready for Primetime

A recent CBS/New York Times showed that nearly six-in-ten Republican voters are unhappy with their party's current crop of 2008 White House hopefuls. Just 39 percent of Democrats said the same about their field.

That level of unhappiness is largely centered on the lack of a solidly conservative candidate who has a realistic chance at the nomination. Each of the three frontrunners -- John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani -- has flaws of differing sizes and shapes in the eyes of movement conservatives. The two social conservative candidates -- former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback -- have yet to prove they can compete with the campaign organizations and fundraising capacity of the frontrunners.

Enter Thompson. While he was never a leading social conservative voice in the Senate, Thompson's voting record during his eight years in Washington should be acceptable to anyone to the ideological right. Thompson was rated highly by conservative groups during his time in office, and surely won loyalty from conservatives when he squired Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts around Capitol Hill during his 2005 confirmation process.

There is a sense among Republicans that Thompson could stand toe to toe with with the big boys thanks to his star power and personal magnetism. The politician-turned-actor is a well-known face to many Americans from his role as Arthur Branch on the television show "Law and Order." Don't underestimate star power as a factor in politics. Look at California, where the state's voters have twice elected Arnold Schwarzenegger -- a larger than life celebrity who had never before held public office -- as their governor. California is atypical of the country as a whole, but Americans are easily starstruck, and Thompson, frankly, looks the part of a president. (That may be because he played one in "Last Best Chance" in 2005.)

Thompson's decision to retire from the Senate in 2002 rather than seek another term is also a blessing in disguise when it comes to the 2008 presidential race. Ever since his first race for Senate in 1994, Thompson has cast himself as a populist outsider. In that contest for the remaining two years of Vice President Al Gore's Senate term, Thompson -- a political unknown at the time -- toured the state in a bright red pickup truck and repeatedly told audiences that his opponent had "never seen the inside of a pickup truck."

By walking away from a sure-thing second term in 2002, Thompson reinforced that populist image. He also spent the next five years outside of Washington as his party steadily lost the trust of the American public. Thompson can make the argument that he wants to be part of the solution. That's a compelling argument when paired with Thompson's conservative credentials and personal attributes.

The final piece of the Thompson puzzle is money. McCain, Romney and Giuliani have all been in the race and raising money for months (if not years), and with the pricetag for the nomination estimated at between $50 and $100 million the ability to raise millions of dollars is a huge hurdle.

Lucky for Thompson that his home state is renowned for its willingness to donate to political candidates. Beginning with Sen. Howard Baker's (R-Tenn.) run for the presidency in 1980 and with Al Gore's first run in 1988 and then both of Sen. Lamar Alexander's unsuccessful bids for national office (and don't former Sen. Bill Frist's abbreviated run), Volunteer State donors are acclimated to supporting their native sons.

Baker, Frist and Alexander are intimately involved in the recruitment of Thompson and would undoubtedly bring their financial networks to bear on his behalf -- ensuring a solid financial base on which to build a national campaign.

Combine Thompson's capacity for fundraising in his home state with his starpower and his acceptability to social conservatives and you have a package that no other candidate in the field offers. The sooner Thompson gets in the race the better, however, as it takes months to build the kind of organization in states like Iowa and New Hampshire he will need to be competitive.

Stay tuned for the case against Thompson later this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 19, 2007; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Swift Boat Money Man Raising $ for Romney
Next: The YouTube Effect (Part XIII)


Poor Fred must have had a tough life. Apparently he's both gay and he's sleeping around with women. I thought it was either one or the other? :).

Posted by: Daniel | April 8, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

America needs Fred Thompson! Sign the Official Draft Fred petition at We must show Fred he has our support! Thousands have already demonstrated their support in a multitude of ways!

Posted by: FredSupporter | April 4, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

But Fred Thompson isn't a legal resident of Tenneseeee --- he is a legal resident of Virginia...

I would like to see the Post review the public records pertaining to Fred Thompson's 1985 divorce from Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey Thompson as the Tennessean (Nashville newspaper) is still keeping mum about the actual Thompson divorce file...and as I recall, 1985 was also the year that Thompson landed his first motion picture role playing himself in the film "Marie".

Posted by: Elmer Gantry | March 25, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Go Fred Go! | March 25, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Online advocacy is effective and it's often a means for everyday people to make things happen. Many times those things are great things, like

We're encouraging former Senator Thompson to run for president. You can help. Visit

So far we have 3600 petitions from all 50 states and we're not done yet!

Posted by: Chester Goad | March 22, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

che lives!

Posted by: katman | March 21, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to the day I can call Mr. Thompson Mr. President.
Thank you.

Posted by: Hal Davidson | March 21, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The Internet-Monkey-Shakespeare posit seems to be holding up if this is Blech any measure. WTG, Darwin.

Posted by: Mrs. Premise | March 20, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

No!No!No! Not another actor republican for president! He did nothing as Tennessee Senator except date young blonds (Lori Morgan was one)and attend ostentatious parties hosted by his base.

Posted by: lifelongtennessean | March 20, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Jim R I quite agree. Its a nasty tendency and explains why people get so focused on "electability". I wish people would debate the issues.

Part of the problem though is that the MSM focuses on the main candidates, excluding the rest. When did you last hear about Hillary's electability, Obama's ability to raise enough money? Compare it to the last time you heard details about Richardsons foreign policy experience, or McCain's views on immigration...

Posted by: JayPe | March 20, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:13 AM | Report abuse

drindl, followed your link... seems like they let the freaks out unsupervised at this site. the whole idea originally came around about a year ago (at least, that's when i saw it) about chuck norris. i like fred thompson on law & order. let's keep him there.

Posted by: meuphys | March 20, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Jim R, your right man. I totally agree. As a loyal Republican myself, when people ask me "are you a Bush fan", my reply is "depends on the issue." Plus, that's why we have primaries. Primaries can be very important, because if a member of our party isn't voting the way we thing he/she should, then we can vote for another person who will. It really surprised me when Chafee beat out Laffey in RI this past election cycle. Laffey had the Club For Growth and an outsider image, vs. Chafee's liberal social voting record. But it still wasn't enough, the RNC supported Chafee b/c he was in office and was the statues quo. It is dangerous to be loyal to politicians and sacrifice principle. Principle is important, and politicians can and will be replaced.

Posted by: reason | March 20, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

This is off the subject, but I would like openion of people interested in politics.

When I was young, when two or three men got together they talked politics. Now they talk sports.

It seems to me that we now often treat politics as a sport, are "loyal to our team" etc.

In my view, this is very damaging to our country.

What do you think? Thank you

Posted by: Jim R | March 19, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

It does say much for the current field that Thompson and Gingrich are both considering entering the race.

Thompson could claim to have the Reagan mantle (social conservative and B-list actor), as could Romney (Governor in large liberal state). But I think Thompson would struggle to prove he has what it takes to be President. Reagan had been CEO of Americas largest state. Thompson was in the Senate talk shop for 8 years up until 6 years ago. Its not the same thing!

Plus does he have the will? If you don't desparately want it, you might as well give up. You need to have Clinton/Romney-esque determination to fundraise constantly for months, and campaign relentlessly without making a single mistkae in front of the cameras. I don't think he can be bothered. But its nice to be thought of as a potential presidential candidate.

Posted by: JayPe | March 19, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I like Fred Thompson, and if he got into the race, I'd consider very strongly voting for him. The last conservative actor that was elected President turned out to be a Republican icon to this day, Ronald Reagan! So he could definately play on that image. I think he'd be a great nominee. Although, running against McCain and Romney will be very tough. They will swift boat Guiliani out of the race, eventually.

Posted by: reason | March 19, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Thompson has a skeleton in his closet. Their have been persistent rumors Thompson fathered a child with another mans wife in East Tennessee. She was chairman of the Republican Party in her county and traveled with Thompson. This story was relayed many times by her husband as being the reason for their divorce. This weighs heavily on Thompson's decision to run or not to run.

"Lucky for Thompson that his home state is renowned for its willingness to donate to political candidates. Beginning with Sen. Howard Baker's (R-Tenn.) run for the presidency in 1980 and with Al Gore's first run in 1988 and then both of Sen. Lamar Alexander's unsuccessful bids for national office (and don't former Sen. Bill Frist's abbreviated run), Volunteer State donors are acclimated to supporting their native sons."

Posted by: PFT | March 19, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Local Illinois Official Seeks Congressional Homeland Security Investigation

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

In the United States political system, the people are represented by two separate and unequal groups: the traditional partisan system, who provide the traditional partisan candidates, and the actors, who provide the necessary cover for the first group. These are their stories...

Posted by: Lenny | March 19, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse


who should be blamed for the off-topic posts-- clearly no one cares about the topic he's chosen -- becuase in light of what's going on in the USA, it's irrelevant- i'm beginning to think the WAPO needs to start searching for a more tuned in fix

Posted by: Damian in Pittsburgh | March 19, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I thought Fred Thompson was gay. But, I still like him. Maybe now is the right time for a gay republican president. Our current super manly president is worthless so maybe we should try one with a softer side. GAY FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!!! GAY FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!!! GAY FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!!! GAY FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!!! GAY FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT!!!

Posted by: Frank | March 19, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Today DOES seem to be setting a record for off-topic posts. Of course, we've all gotten used to che's novel-length nonsequiturs leading off the column.

Hollywood isn't responsible for giving us Fred Dalton Thompson. He got into movies playing himself (in "Marie") after a career in Tennessee state politics, then he starred in several popular movies, then ran for Senate, then "retired" and took the role on "Law & Order." I can see why people like him for 2008, given the clayfooted group they have so far. But I can't see FDT being taken seriously enough to go all the way. The in and outs of his dual careers make him look like a lightweight. Had he been living quietly since leaving the Senate, I might could see it. But people would just see a decision to throw his hat in the ring now just as a reaction to his show's likely cancellation.

Posted by: Iva Norma Stitts | March 19, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for being way off subject, but I need to get it in. Valerie Plame testified under oath before congress recently, and burdened by the CIA on what she could not say, clearing up much of the untruths thrown at her by her distractors and their spin artists. Until the distractors do the same, testify under oath, I will believe her version of their illegal acts.

Posted by: EdA | March 19, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I personnally have thought since the day that Fred Thompson joined Law and Order that he was running for President. He has good Republican credentials, and now after being on Law and Order for several years has face, if not name recognition. I think he is a sly old fox.

Posted by: bdstauffer | March 19, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

While Thompson has avoided some of the baggage of serving in the Senate for the last several years, he's picked up significant baggage elsewhere: He's the Fundraiser-In-Chief for the Scooter Libby defense, and the likely conduit for information from the White House that appeared to reverse Libby's defense in mid-trial. Gee, wasn't Scooter going to put Cheney on the stand . . . until? He who has the gold rules! Chris seems to have overlooked this little factoid about Thompson.

Another paragraph in his recent resume: He was the Bush administration's point man for Senate confirmation of their two very conservative Supreme Court nominees.

Thompson is not just close to the Bush-Cheney administration, but is a defacto part of it. Not a good place from which to seek the Presidency in 2008, but admittedly, he's not in as bad a shape as the rest of the Repub field.

Posted by: Henly, Tx | March 19, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

David Schmidt.... What do you see that others don't see in Thompson? And how does being a lawyer bear on your enthusiasm?

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 19, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I think it's time for another irrelevant comment.

Posted by: Spammer | March 19, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I am a lawyer working in Chicago. If Fred announces, I am ready to commit a weekend a month to go to Iowa to get things rolling. I know many who would join me.

Posted by: David Schmidt | March 19, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

'While public opinion has shifted immensely, and large numbers of Democrats in Congress are pushing for us to get out, the fact remains that the Very Serious People in Washington, as represented by Fred Hiatt, are still all for sending other people off to die to find the pony they know is there. The editorial the Post had out yesterday will be recycled for next year's anniversary, with little changed.

And on and on.

...A year ago, David Ignatius told us in the Post:

wouldn't pretend that these two snapshots are an accurate representation of the whole of Iraq. If that were so, the country wouldn't be in such a mess. But this is the way this war is supposed to be going. It's a few years late, but the new U.S. strategy is moving in the right direction.'

The new Iraqi contr5act with oil companies lasts 30 years. that's how long we'll be in iraq.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the most important qualities the next president must have is the ability to recognize and put together an effective policy and administrative team.

Most of our failures.... Iraq, Katrina, treatment of injured vets, justice, foreign policy, intelligence, to name a few.... failed or are failing because a dimly-aware president's political appointments lacked the needed job knowledge and administrative skills.

So.... what is Thompson's administrative experience? A sometimes actor who greatest role was playing a senator?

Please. Haven't we learned anything? With Thompson, "where's the beef?"

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 19, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

'TAMPA, Fla. Mar 18, 2007 (AP)-- Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Sunday defended his law firm's role in representing Citgo Petroleum Corp., which is ultimately controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying it was helping protect American jobs.'

Hilarious. I thought Chavez was a demon in the eyes of the radical right [ph, btw, the reason Jerry Falwell wants Chavez assasinated is so he can buy Citgo.] Funny, huh?

Posted by: LOL | March 19, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

'March 18, 2007 -- "Law and Order" star Sam Waterston has joined Unity 08 (click here for link), an effort to empower the political center and elect a bipartisan ticket to the White House.'

As an example of 'center' they will cite 'bipartisan' mean 'leiberman' meaninng 'whatever dick cheney says'

Posted by: 'Center' in DC means 'center right' | March 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

No, look over here! It's a boogeyman! Look at the boogeyman, not Gonzales or Libby or Plame or Christians protesting the occupation all over the country! What a coincidence this came out today!

I bet we're going to see lots of 'confessions' in the next few days, just to show us they're 'getting the job done', so don't think about all these pesky scandals in DC, hmm?

'WASHINGTON Mar 19, 2007 (AP)-- Waleed Mohammed Bin Attash, long suspected of plotting the bombing of the USS Cole, confessed to planning the attack during a hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a Pentagon transcript released Monday.

He also said he helped plan the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 that killed 213, the transcript said. Seventeen sailors were killed and 37 injured when suicide bombers steered an explosives-laden boat into the guided missile destroyer on Oct. 12, 2000.'

Yes and then after that, he singlehandedly sunk Atlantis...

Posted by: WHAT A COINCIDENCE! | March 19, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This will be fun to watch: The Democratic senator leading the inquiry into the dismissal of federal prosecutors said today that he wanted Karl Rove and other top aides to President Bush to testify publicly and under oath, setting up a confrontation between Congress and the White House, which has said it is unlikely to agree to such a demand.... Why not testify? After all, if you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to hide, right? Personally, I say we subject them to strict interrogation methods. After all, those methods aren't torture, right?

Posted by: Cole | March 19, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse


Fred Thompson's gaze can kill small animals.

* Fred Thompson once ended a filibuster by ripping out a Senator's heart and showing it to him before he died.

* The actual cause of global warming: Fred Thompson's burning rage.

* Only two things can kill Superman: Kryptonite and Fred Thompson.

Posted by: drindl | March 19, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I've heard he's gay too.. here he is yesterday... this will probably sink him with the mullahs...

'WALLACE: What about civil unions?

THOMPSON: I think that that ought to be left up to the states.'

Posted by: drindl | March 19, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Is Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) going to be his Vice Presidential candidate?

Posted by: Potomac, MD | March 19, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Rumor has it that Fred Thompson is gay and that his current marriage is a sham. He's in the closet.

Posted by: Progressive | March 19, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

8000 BC Human pop was 5 million, see wiki World Population. This is based on and other sources. At that time, we were already causing extinction of other species.

Equilibrium pop is when number of species that go extinct each year equals number of new ones created each year. The actual record is that this level is less than 5 million total on the planet. Technology may have increased that, but its far below 5 billion. We have to stop immigration and stop pumping up world population by foreign aid.

Posted by: Old Atlantic | March 19, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Take this quiz:

True or False:

1. Saddam threw the UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq.

2. Saddam's Iraq was a refuge for al-Qaeda.

3. "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" is just a historical statement.

4. The insurgency is in its last throes.

5. The purpose of US foreign policy is regime change.

6. The most important sacrifice Americans can make is to see the bad news coming out of Iraq.

7. We are not seeing the good news coming out of Iraq.
8. Fox News is news.

9. Rumsfeld was the best SecDef this nation ever had.

10. If we beat them there, we won't have to fight them here.

11. As they stand up, we wilil stand down.

12. Iran is just months away from having a nuke.

13. Dissent emboldens the enemy, aids and abets the terrorists, and is unpatriotic.

14. Freedom is like dominoes.

15. Our mission is victory.

16. In six months, this will all turn around.

17. The Generals on the ground know what they need and get what they want.

18. If Joe Lieberman is for it, it's bipartisan.

19. The Senate Intelligence Committee already looked into it, and there's nothing to it.

20. It's Clinton's fault.

21. Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror.

22. "Redeployment" is another name for cut-and-run.

23. Benchmarks and timetables are a gift to the terrorists.

24. Our soldiers have a lifetime guarantee of the best medical care in the world.

25. George W. Bush Boulevard runs parallel to Haifa Street in Baghdad.

For each each statement you marked True, give yourself 1 Feith (Gen. Tommy Franks: "Feith is the stupidest fuc*ing man on the planet.")

BLOGOBONUS: Score 1 Perle for each additional neocon dogma you can list.'

Posted by: Are you smarter than a neocon? | March 19, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

gitarre | March 19, 2007 07:37 AM is right on. We have to stop legal immigration and no amnesty. Global warming is pushed by immigration to the US and China and India's pollution.

Posted by: Old Atlantic | March 19, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I will no longer comment on this or any political blog as I am now campaign affiliated.

Posted by: TheLastStraw | March 19, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Love him as Arthur Branch, would hate him as a Prez. Anti-choice, anti-gay marriage/union, pro-Iraq war... I'll pass, thanks.

Posted by: Flipkid | March 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Republicans like to bash celebrities with liberal views. Every time a liberal actor or musician raises money for a political cause, or goes on a talk show to promote liberal views, they're told to shut up and get back to work. And Republicans mock the Democrats for being supported financially by Hollywood.

But, as EWM points out, it's the Republicans that run celebrities for office. And I think there was at least one C-list actor who spoke at the Republican Convention a couple years ago. Republicans want celebrity support just as much as Democrats; they just can't get it as often.

Posted by: Blarg | March 19, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Muse hollywood only produces republicans becuase to win the GOP nomination you have to be a phenomenal actor.
You have to convince good poor hard working folks in the heartland of america that it is in their best interest to support a policy of lower taxes for the richest people in America which turn around and invest their new found riches into multinational companies that take the jobs these folks have oversees. Not to mention, bankrupt their public schools, invade their bedrooms, and record what they check out from the library. Now you have to be one heck of a Snake Oil salesman to pull that one off.

Posted by: Andy R | March 19, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If Hollywood is so liberal, how is it that it seems to spawn only Republicans seeking office? Thompsson, Reagan, Arnold, Bono, Eastwood, Grandy and Heston (I consider the NRA a political position).

Sorry, I'm selling this one. You have to have some semblance of an organization to compete nationally. His beat-up red pick-up truck doesn't have enough miles left in it...

Today on EWM: "Malice in Wonderland"
A tale (and tail) of two Scooters.

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | March 19, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

got your 'freedom' right here...

'The population of prisons in Iraq has soared in recent months with tens of thousands of Iraqis currently in U.S. custody without trial. U.S. troops and Iraqi government are investing heavily in the construction of prisons in the country with more than 100,000 Iraqis currently behind bars. A parliamentary investigation commission has found that U.S. troops alone now detain more than 61,000 Iraqis and the figure is expected to swell as the Americans press ahead with their military operations.

More than 50,000 Iraqis were reported to have been arrested in the past four weeks as part of the joint U.S.-Iraqi military campaign to subdue Baghdad. U.S. troops detain Iraqis merely on suspicion. Once detained, Iraqis may stay indefinitely as they are denied access to lawyers and Iraqi courts and government have no right to question U.S. troops' actions. Even Iraqi troops operations and activities now fall beyond the Iraqi judicial system as the country has been placed under emergency rule under which the courts have no power to question what the security forces do.

Many of the detainees are subjected to torture by military interrogators who use all means to extract confessions. The detainees are denied visits by family members or relatives and they usually have no means to get in touch with them until they are released. Many Iraqi families continue a hopeless search for relatives detained by U.S. troops. The search starts with hospital morgues and government-run prisons. U.S. prisons are off bounds. U.S. troops do not inform relatives of the Iraqis they capture.'

Posted by: if 'freedom' means 'torture'... | March 19, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

'With the personal clearance of the Director of the CIA, Committee Chairman Henry Waxman read a statement declaring that Plame had been a covert agent when the White House exposed her identity and employment, that her status had been classified and that the CIA had taken active steps to protect her classified identity and employment.

Plame's sworn testimony and responses to questions confirmed these facts and the fact that during the past five years, until the White House outed her, the CIA had sent her overseas on secret, covert missions, while she also held supervisory positions in the CIA's Counter Proliferation Division, which deals with some of the most sensitive and critical issues in the US intelligence community.'

Posted by: treason | March 19, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on C-span today: As near as she can tell, it was Justice Department official William Moschella on the administration side who was responsible for slipping the provision into the Patriot Act in 2006 that apparently went unnoticed by many Senators, that enabled interim US attorneys to be appointed and serve without confirmation.

What was the motive for that provision and how does that explanation fit with what Moschella and his colleagues have been testifying to before Congress? Was it their intention from the beginning to use the Patriot Act provision to make US attorney appointments that did not require confirmation, not for national security emergencies, but for political purposes such as promoting former Rove deputy Tim Griffin, as the Department soon moved to use it?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I think Peter brings up a good point that Thompson's stregth is a clear sign that the GOP field sucks (at least in their eyes). However, I have yet to hear what he has to say about the war, or the recent surge. Until then he is all just smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Andy R | March 19, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

yourr taxpayer dollars getting flushed down the toilet...and into the pockets of criminally corrupt 'contractors'.

'Operating under a $1.75 billion contract -- the largest the State Department has ever managed -- DynCorp trains more police officers than any other private U.S. company in these countries.

The firm says it has 700 trainers in Iraq, where it helped train 198,000 Iraqis, and more than 500 in Afghanistan, where it helped train 93,000 Afghans.

But large regions of both countries face widespread and continuing violence. "If you look at the results, in neither country is the police functional," said Robert M. Perito, a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute for Peace and a consultant to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.'

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

This administration can't even LIE competently...

'One of the U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration after Republican complaints that he neglected to prosecute voter fraud had been heralded for his expertise in that area by the Justice Department, which twice selected him to train other federal prosecutors to pursue election crimes.

David C. Iglesias, who was dismissed as U.S. attorney for New Mexico in December, was one of two chief federal prosecutors invited to teach at a "voting integrity symposium" in October 2005. The symposium was sponsored by Justice's public integrity and civil rights sections and was attended by more than 100 prosecutors from around the country, according to an account by Iglesias that a department spokesman confirmed'

Posted by: sylvia | March 19, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

'By Kamran Haider. ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Seven Pakistani judges resigned on Monday in protest against government moves to sack the country's chief judge as the leader of an opposition alliance of conservative religious parties called for more protests'

Posted by: our 'democrtic' ally pakistan | March 19, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

-Only 18 percent of Iraqis have confidence in U.S. and coalition troops, and 86 percent are concerned that someone in their household will be a victim of violence.

-Slightly more than half of Iraqis - 51 percent - now say that violence against U.S. forces is acceptable - up from 17 percent who felt that way in early 2004. More than nine in 10 Sunni Arabs in Iraq now feel this way.

Posted by: winning those hearts and minds | March 19, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

f you are broken, you are worthless

Suddenly, it all makes sense.

Like many of you, I have struggled to understand the squalor awaiting wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I waited in vain for the explanation of how the Department of Defense could conveniently misplace 175,000 casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or -- as reported Monday -- return injured troops to the front lines.

Then Army Spc. David Pope cleared up the confusion. Sitting in a subdued living room in east Portland, Pope spelled it out:

"There's this mentality in the military," he said, "that if you are broken, you are worthless.'

Posted by: rumsfeld's army | March 19, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Feinstein said Lam notified the Justice Department on May 10, 2006, that she planned to serve search warrants on Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who'd resigned two days earlier as the No. 3 official at the CIA'

This is the big one -- the big money scandal at the CIA under Goss. Billions of taxpayer dollars diverted into astroturf 'contractors' and pocketed by congresspeople and agents. This is the one they will block with everything they've got becasue it goes all the way to cheney.

Posted by: sylvia | March 19, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

'Well, You Try To Reconstruct Iraq,' Says U.S. Defensive Dept.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

'and Thompson, frankly, looks the part of a president.'

That's the best you can do, CC? I think my dog looks the part of a president, too -- whiskered, sober, very presidential. In fact, I think he looks like Teddy Roosevelt. Should he run? He's certainly more intelliigent and tur5stworthy than anyone else in the republican camp.

Posted by: drindl | March 19, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

But one thing is certain, says the WP in a separate Page One piece, four years of fighting in Iraq have left U.S. ground forces facing a critical shortage of personnel and equipment. This means there is no "strategic reserve" of ground troops that can respond quickly if a crisis erupts elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

If only Jerry Orbach were still with us. I'd be the first with a "Lenny '08" bumper sticker.

Posted by: Greg | March 19, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

If that's the best the GOP has for a so called "consensus candidate" there in trouble. This guy doesn't have the fire in the belly to make a run.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | March 19, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Thompson can become a player in the GOP race, but only if he gets in ASAP. He's not Gingrich; his constant talk of "waiting until September" is naive and fatal. Without widespread name recognition (although L&O is popular) or, more importantly, knowledge of his policy positions, a swift entry into the campaign is needed.

Posted by: Chris | March 19, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

USAT goes big on Page One with a survey that illustrates how, four years after the U.S.-led invasion, most Iraqis live in fear every day and don't have much hope for the future. The survey, sponsored by several news organizations, found that only one-third of Iraqis think the situation in their country will improve in the next year. All of the Baghdad residents who were part of the survey said they don't feel safe in their neighborhoods. Outside Baghdad, two-thirds of Iraqis saying their neighborhood isn't safe. Most Iraqis also say that all the fighting has taken a strain in their mental health.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 19, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Fred Thompson in the same boat as William H. Macy used to be? The kind of great second-tier character actor about whom everyone says, "That face looks so familiar...", has a warm feeling about, but no one can never link it with a name?
I remember doing a double-take when seeing him at a Senate press conference in the late 90s or early 00s, and I somehow remembered him playing a Mission Control director in astronaut movies (Armagedeon maybe?), but I can't say I had any idea what his name was.
I kind of doubt that Thompson possesses the kind of Arnold-like stardom that catapults someone to office, or more than a fraction of Americans would recognize the name. (But then Reagan was a B-movie actor in GI-flicks and westerns, and the right made him into a national hero... so what I do know.)
The fact that Thompson seems to have shaken up the Republican field says more about how Republicans feel about the field than about what Thompson's chances actually are.
Lastly, do Republicans really want to take up an actor who's been in a number of hollywood films, after they've trashed hollywood so repeatedly in recent elections? (Such as George Allen's failed campaign against Webb)

Posted by: Peter | March 19, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

A solid and honest conservative with great communications skills, and without the religious-right scariness. He would unite the party and draw tons of Independent support, especially if he pounds immigration and the Democrat plan for federalized heath-care. Of course the media will try to macacca him.

Posted by: gitarre | March 19, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

U.S. attorney's firing may be connected to CIA corruption probe

By Margaret Talev and Marisa Taylor
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said the timing of the e-mail suggested that Lam's dismissal may have been connected to the corruption probe.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse denied in an e-mail that there was any link.

"We have stated numerous times that no U.S. attorney was removed to retaliate against or inappropriately interfere with any public corruption investigation or prosecution," he wrote. "This remains the case and there is no evidence that indicates otherwise."

But the revelation is sure to heighten demands in Congress for a full investigation into whether something other than job performance was behind the Justice Department's dismissals late last year of eight U.S. attorneys, including Lam.

On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he intends to force President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify and will insist that the testimony be under oath. Leahy, who appeared on ABC's "This Week," said he is "sick and tired" of the administration's changing rationale for the firings.

Justice Department officials originally told Congress that the U.S. attorneys had been dismissed for poor performance. But since it's become known that most of the attorneys received positive job evaluations.

Last week, the Justice Department released e-mails showing that loyalty to President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was among the criteria used to judge U.S. attorneys' performance and that Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers were deeply involved in discussions leading up to the dismissals.

Roehrkasse said the Justice Department would provide additional e-mails to Congress on Monday. The documents were to have been surrendered last week, but Justice officials delayed the delivery, saying they needed more time to prepare them.

In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Feinstein said she'd not yet decided what motivated Lam's dismissal.

"There were clearly U.S. attorneys that were thorns in the side for one reason or another of the Justice Department," Feinstein said. "The attorney general has said he did not know what was going on ... that is very difficult for me to believe."

Feinstein said Lam notified the Justice Department on May 10, 2006, that she planned to serve search warrants on Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who'd resigned two days earlier as the No. 3 official at the CIA.

On May 11, 2006, Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales' chief of staff, sent an e-mail to deputy White House counsel William Kelley, asking Kelley to call to discuss "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

The e-mail did not spell out what the "real problem" was, and it was unclear whether Kelley and Sampson talked later.

Until now, lawmakers have focused on two of Lam's other inquiries into Republicans as possible ways in which she may have chafed the administration.

Lam oversaw the investigation that led to the corruption conviction of then-Rep.

For the rest of this article please go to:

Posted by: che | March 19, 2007 6:21 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Election fraud, my ass

By Paul Rogat Loeb
Online Journal Contributing Writer

They just wanted to protect the sanctity of the vote. That's the administration's pious explanation for why they fired eight U.S. Attorneys who were Republican enough for Bush to have appointed them in the first place.

"The president recalls hearing complaints about election fraud not being vigorously prosecuted and believes he may have informally mentioned it to the attorney general," explained White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

How could you question such a laudable goal?

Of course, the justifications keep shifting, as with the Iraq war. First it was the general performance of the prosecutors. Then a preference for specific replacements. Now it's concern for the democratic process.

But the administration and its allies have a long history of using the specter of election fraud to justify reprehensible actions. In 2000, then Governor Jeb Bush claimed to be fighting potential fraud when he purged over 55,000 voters from the Florida rolls for felony convictions that never applied under state law -- or never existed to begin with; for instance, if someone had a name similar to a convicted felon. Staffers of ChoicePoint, the Republican-tied data-collection firm that handled this effort, acknowledged that they disproportionately targeted low-income Democrats, particularly African Americans. A follow-up by BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast found that 90 percent of those scrubbed were legitimate voters, enough by far to have made Al Gore the winner. And the Supreme Court that handed Bush the presidency was led by William Rehnquist, who got his start harassing black and Hispanic voters in South Phoenix as part of a Republican effort called Operation Eagle Eye.

Election fraud was also the watchword in 2004. Ohio Secretary of State (and Bush state campaign chair) Ken Blackwell claimed he was just protecting the legitimacy of the vote when he knocked 300,000 voters off the rolls in key Democratic cities like Cleveland, far exceeding Bush's margin of victory. Blackwell also tried to reject new Democratic registrations because an arcane law said they were supposed to be on 80-pound paper stock (presumably more secure), then had to back off when his own official forms failed the same criterion. And he went to court to ensure that provisional ballots would be considered only if cast in the right precinct, defeating their key purpose, even as he sowed voter confusion by pulling machines and closing down polling stations in long-standing Democratic neighborhoods.

But maybe voting integrity really is the issue in the current wave of firings. In the same 2004 election, Karl Rove aide Timothy Griffin, just named the new U.S. attorney for eastern Arkansas, originated a strategy to send 70,000 letters challenging the addresses of black and Hispanic voters in places like Florida's Jacksonville Naval Air Station, a local homeless shelter, and the historically black Edward Waters College. As Palast writes in another BBC report, Republicans sent the letters out with do-not-forward instructions. When they came back undeliverable, as when soldiers were deployed overseas, Florida then struck the voters from the rolls so even absentee ballots no longer counted. Maybe that's what White House spokeswoman Perino meant by showing concern for the sanctity of the vote.

If election fraud were a legitimate issue, such abuses might have a shred of legitimacy. Yet the documented cases of deliberate illegal voting are minuscule. For a 2003 report, Securing the Vote, the think tank Demos conducted a national study, seeking documented evidence of actual fraud. They ran comprehensive searches of newspapers and court records, contacted secretaries of state and state attorneys general. Except for cases involving a handful of isolated individuals, every rumor of illegitimate voting turned out to be baseless. The image of armies of unregistered, illegal, and dead people swarming the polls was and is a Republican myth.

So what was the sin of the fired U.S. attorneys? It seemed that they weren't sufficiently enthusiastic about joining compatriots who investigated or indicted local Democrats by a nearly five to one margin over Republicans, often with election eve headlines that melted away, along with their cases, as soon as the polls were closed. Some may have refused to go after Democratic groups who were trying to register voters. San Diego's Carol Lam even had the audacity to prosecute Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham. Perhaps this solidly Republican group actually believed their job was to serve all of America's citizens, instead of playing the role of political attack dogs. It's too bad that couldn't be the standard for the administration that terminated them.
Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of "The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear," named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association. His previous books include "Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time." See

Posted by: che | March 19, 2007 5:51 AM | Report abuse

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