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Tommy Thompson Is First Victim of Iowa Straw Poll

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson dropped out of the race for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination tonight, a day after he finished a disappointing sixth in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.

Tommy Thompson
Tommy Thompson, the four-term governor of Wisconsin and Cabinet secretary in the Bush administration, pulled out of the Republican presidential race Sunday, a day after placing sixth in the Iowa GOP straw poll. (Getty Images)

"I have no regrets about running," Thompson said in a statement released by his campaign. "I felt my record as Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as President, but I respect the decision of the voters."

Thompson is the first casualty of Saturday's Straw Poll. He had pledged to leave the race if he didn't finish first or second in the non-binding vote, which is seen as the first serious test of the 2008 Republican race.

Thompson served four terms as governor of Wisconsin and was also secretary of Health and Human Services during the Bush administration's first term. Despite spending considerable time in Iowa in the run-up to Saturday's vote, Thompson was never able to build any real momentum -- a lack of movement confirmed by his sixth-place finish in Ames.

His departure has little to no impact on the race. Voters wanting a Thompson in the race need only wait until next month when former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is expected to announce his presidential candidacy.

Read the statement from Tommy Thompson's campaign after the jump.

Released by the Thompson Campaign:

Thompson Thanks Supporters, Exits Presidential Race

Madison -- Saying he has 'no regrets', Governor Tommy Thompson thanked his supporters Saturday night and officially left the campaign trail.

"I want to thank the people of Iowa who were welcoming and supportive as well as my volunteers and contributors from around the country," said Thompson. "I have no regrets about running. I felt my record as Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as President, but I respect the decision of the voters. I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America."

Thompson, who was elected to serve four terms as Wisconsin Governor and four years as Secretary of Health and Human Services, began exploring a presidential bid last December. Weeks ago, he told supporters and the news media that if he did not do well in the Iowa Straw Poll, he would step aside and leave others to work for the Republican nomination.

"No candidate is more experienced than Governor Thompson and no candidate worked harder; but sometimes the dynamics just aren't there to bring about a victory," said Steve Grubbs, Senior Advisor to Thompson's campaign. "The Governor's staff was deeply committed to him and to his candidacy. If we could have willed a victory, we would have."

Thompson will return to the private sector as well as his non-profit work after a brief time off.

"I have very much enjoyed my years in public service and I am comforted by the fact that I think I made a difference for people during that time. I hope to continue working to serve others over the next few years," said Thompson.


By Chris Cillizza  |  August 12, 2007; 9:41 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Analysis: Huckabee's 2nd-Place 'Win' in Ames
Next: Giuliani Pushes Back on Immigration Issue


Aaron aaron aaron. You want to do something about the level of polticial discourse today? Don't come in here with our 10 posters. Go somewhere where it really makes a differance.

You want to get the political discourse out of the garbage. Start with the garbagemen. Start with the people who have MILLIONS of viewers/listeners.

You want to stop the attacks, go directly to the source. Help us get Fox/Rush/Hannity/O'REIlly off the air. Their shows are nothing but paid advertisments posing as news. Conflict of interests?

THe Koz and others are just reacting and fighting them. Without the monster there are no monsters to fight. You want change? Start at the top. It will filter down. Get Foxx off the air and we'll talk. It's not the d's/libs holding up progress and sabotaging justice. It's your gop and your propogandists. You want change start where you can. Start with Fox/Rush/hannity/oreilly

Posted by: rufus | August 14, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I worked on Tommy Thompson's campaign in Iowa and I can tell you that Tommy Thompson is perhaps the most honorable man that I have ever met in politics. He really cares about making change in this country and I am sorry to see our campaign come to a stop. Having worked with him personally during the last 4 months I am a bit thrown off by the somewhat mean-spirited comments about him. Regardless of what you thought his chances were there's no need to continue to kick him when he's down. Let's bring a bit of integrity back to this forum and not make harsh comments. If you had met him face to face I can't honestly believe you would be saying the same things.

Posted by: Aaron | August 14, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Thompson may have been better than sliced bread in Wisconsin, but he didn't or couldn't connect with the voters in the rest of the base. I saw and heard him speak in DC at a Cancer rally in Sept/'02. He didn't connect there either. I could never figure out what was he thinking when he declared for president. Millard Fillmore comes to mind, as a more exciting candidate. On the other thread, the emptiness of Romney's suit is becoming more and more apparent. I do not think that he will be the nominee, but then again, I was for Dr. (screemin)Dean, in '04, so what do I know..........

Posted by: L. Sterlilng. | August 14, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

roo: Most of the dems are pretty much on the same page about Iraq. The media, which is controlled by a very few, have vast interests in the Defense Industry, is in favor of continuing the war in Iraq and not going after Osama bin Laden where most analysis think he is. The cost of troops in the mountains as to lives and actual $$ is far less, therefore the profit is not there. I know this opinion is hard for most folks to accept, but I firmly believe it to be accurate.

Posted by: lylepink | August 13, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

" It's too bad the news media did not treat him fairly. I will blame for all the failures of lot of good people who wants to take this country to next level on the NEWSPAPERS AND TV."

I hear you Shiva. You want to help. The first line of business is taking down public enemy number on. The station that's leader ran campaigns for Rudy and is giving him better treatment. The station that poses propoganda by their advertisers as news. Do you know who I'm talking about.

There currently is a boycott of Fox "NEws" sponsors. If you want to help I suggest you research, the info's out there, and email or call all of fox's sponsors and tell them you will not use their products until they pull their support of lying propogandists. This is the only way to get fox off the air and restore the media balance.

Posted by: rufus | August 13, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

roo - of course, thank you. I also did not go into the development of al Qaeda in Iraq due to Bush providing them with an ideal training ground - should have said sth about that. There was so much wrong with that Weekly Standard piece - what got me more than anything was the way they invented hard left talking points (points I have not heard from many if any real live leftists, due to their (the talking points') simplicity/immaturity) and then attributing them to Obama.

Posted by: Bokonon | August 13, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Tommy Thompson a great leader.
I am from Wisconsin and I am proud of Tommy Thompson. I am also so sad to say that people in our great country did not have the chance to get to know this great man. I am also very sad and frustrated with all our news media. The news media is not helping our authors of our constitution who wanted every person should be treated fairly and with respect. The media wants to cater to candidates with money. That is not the medias job. They should give equal time to all the candidates regarding what the poll says and how much money they have or collected. The way the presidential race is going only the money candidates will be the next President of United states. Not the person who works hard and who got ideas. I see few people made nasty comment about this great former Governor of Wisconsin. I will tell them talk to the democrats in Wisconsin. They will say they love Tommy Thompson because he is a man who can work both sides of the senate and the house. He did it in Wisconsin. He will even take an excellent idea from a politician who bitterly critical of him. He is a good man. Man with a vision. It's too bad the news media did not treat him fairly. I will blame for all the failures of lot of good people who wants to take this country to next level on the NEWSPAPERS AND TV.

Welcome back to Wisconsin Gov Tommy Thompson. The best Governor we ever had in Wisconsin. We love you dearly.

- Shiva

Posted by: Shiva from Wisconsin | August 13, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon--You forgot to mention that Obama does not, in fact, support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Posted by: roo | August 13, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

drindl: I have racked my brain for "Reasons", Going in and now getting out of Iraq. This one now "We can't leave." is about the stupidest I have heard. I can't get past my first thought of the "Oil/Money" which appears to be supported more on a daily basis. Bokonon has been rite on, for a long time as well.

Posted by: lylepink | August 13, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

tHOMPSON is not and was never going to be elected. So why waste time speaking on a candidate that never had a chance at the primary. Divide and conquer. Misdirection. Bad gop bad bad bad

Posted by: RUFUS | August 13, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: myspace 951601954 | August 13, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Matt in Boston - I have never posted about MA "leadership".
Radical Patriot - Do you favor dismantling the Federal Reserve and adopting the bimetallic standard, whereby the Treasury must possess one dollar in gold or silver for every dollar in circulation?

Do you oppose a central banking system that can alter the money supply as one tool of monetary policy, or do you merely oppose the central banking system the USA has chosen? Why should the currency in circulation be collapsed to, say, $40B?

Why should not copper and platinum back the currency? Why not federal park land?

Or, why not the gross productivity of the United States? That way, the currency in circulation bears a relationship to the products and labor bought and sold with it.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 13, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Good one, bokonon-- yes, that's the only reason I can ever get anymore from war supporters -- we are there because 'we can't leave'.

I wonder how many people would have supported the war initially if that was the reason then?

'We're going to invade Iraq so we can destabilize the country so that we can't ever leave...'

That may have been Cheney's [and by extension, Halliburton's] reasons all along though...

Posted by: drindl | August 13, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Jed, Romney ran for governor and was elected as a liberal, pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, non-partisan Republican. He only became a holier-than-thou hypocrite - and began hunting rodents - when he decided to run for President. It amazes me how willing some people are to just accept what he says without doing some minimal research.

And his business experience, which supposedly got the state out of debt without raising taxes? He left us with a $1.5 billion deficit for his final year in office - a year spend on the road mocking the state to conservative audiences. We could not wait to get rid of him.

Posted by: Bokonon | August 13, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

To the brilliant, creative, and original person who posted this article verbatim from the Weekly Standard, I offer my own rebuttal, also an original creation:

"For Obama, fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq is almost counterproductive, while fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is good."

-This is the opinion of the Weekly Standard, a publication which never pretended to be unbalanced. No proof is given that this is in fact Obama's position. Also:
1. "al Qaeda in Iraq" is roughly 5-10% of the opposition faced by the US Army. A more substantial opponent is the (Shiite) Mahdi Army, against whom the (Shiite) Prime Minister has been less than aggressive.
2. Over 70% of Iraqis want the US Army to leave, according to a recent poll. In related news - over the past 2-3 years, the continued US presence in Iraq has served as an incentive to young Iraqis to join the insurgents. The US Army is creating the enemy before kills them (and they kill the US Army.)
3. al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the original group responsible for 09.11 - not the tribesmen in Iraq. And bin Laden is still alive and well in Pakistan. Do you remember Bush vowing sincerely - looking right into the camera, and thus supposedly into the eyes of the 'Merkin people - to get him (bin Laden) "dead or alive"?

The Weekly Standard goes on to suppose that Obama believes that
"Al Qaeda in Iraq was born in sin because it 'didn't exist before our invasion.'"

-No, that's your team that obsesses about sin. Come to think of it, that's al Qaeda, too.

"Al Qaeda in Central Asia and the subcontinent has, for the senator, a cleaner pedigree, traceable directly to Osama bin Laden. But what in the world do the circumstances of birth have to do with counterterrorism?"

-This too is an argument imagined by those intellectual titans at the Weekly Standard, and then conveniently attributed to Obama.

"Sen. Obama is desperately worried about the dozens of 'groups affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda . . . worldwide' --"

-With good reason. As should we all be.

"but not about Al Qaeda in Iraq, which if you had to rank the al Qaeda offspring by their lethality to the continental United States, would rank no lower than third."

-Where to begin? In the first place, how do you rank 'al Qaeda offspring'? Is there a point system? Is it enough for them to claim the name, or must they prove some sort of connection? How about funding? And finally, who is qualified to award the title of "offspring"? as opposed to "-inspired," or "-wannabe," etc.? And who decided that a couple hundred al Qaeda is Iraqis rank third? On what criteria? Who else was considered?

You see what I mean.

"Obama says of Iraq that we are in 'a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.' But this is the case also with Afghanistan."

-with the key difference that Afghanistan was THE SOURCE OF THE 09.11 ATTACK. We have a VERY good reason, understood and even to some extent supported by the international community, for being there. We never really had a great reason for invading Iraq, although several different ones were tried. The current reason that we're there is supposedly "because leaving would be worse."

Posted by: Bokonon | August 13, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Tommy Thompson was a competent and decent Governor here in WI, when it was a decidedly Red State. He was followed by another Republican, who was a disaster. That turned the state to Purple, where it is now.

Yes, Sen. Proxmire was one of our best. But don't forget Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who had been Governor, and may be best remembered as the "father" of Earth Day.

Finally, don't also forget "Fighting Bob" La Follette from an earlier generation. We have the 21st century version in Sen. Feingold, whose views are far "bluer" than the state overall, but much beloved.

It's interesting to me that even a "farm state" like Wisconsin is no longer reliably Red, any more than Colorado. Thanks Karl.

Posted by: pacman | August 13, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

that's pretty funny Jed -- in light of Mitty's campaign sound bites. Of course Mass voters think he sucked -- he pulled a bait and switch.

That won't work again.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 13, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"FYI, Massachusetts voters don't think much of his "record of achievement." I know - I am one."


Maybe that is because Massachusetts is a liberal, Democratic state and Romney was a conservative Republican Governor?

Posted by: Jed Merrill | August 13, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

zouk/audacity -- obama is telling the truth about how starting an unnecessary war in Iraq diverted resources from al queda in afghanistan, the ones who attacked us on 9/11. There was a long, solid piece on in the NY Times front page article on it yesteerday.

But if you get your info from the weakly standard, facts won't appeal to you.

Posted by: Jane | August 13, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin - "Yes, I know Mass. is a liberal state...but most voters recognize good leadership when they see it, regardless of party."

You obviously haven't taken a look at our congressional leadership: John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Barney Frank (just for starters). While many words come to mind when most American's hear these names...leader isn't one of them. To say that Mass. voters look past party lines and vote for leadership over party is laughable.

Posted by: Matt in Boston | August 13, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

To me. The religous right are really atheists trying to destroy christianity by TRYING to weaking Jesus and his teachings.

Does the right respect the techings of Jesus? If a man was living Jesus's tachings right now, would the right think of this man as weak?

Liars, sell-outs, fascists.

Your party has a year. use it wisely.

Posted by: rufus | August 13, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I told them to call themselves Bushie's rather than chrsitians. I don't have a problem with them, their being. What I do have a problem with (the "religous" right) is their claiming to be chrsitians while teaching the opposite of his teachings. Call themselves whatever they want. But not chrsitians. They cannot do that. Calim one thing while preaching and acting on another's teachigns.

Posted by: rufus | August 13, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mark in Austin's wife, who is all of a tax specialist CPA says, "these doctors [Ron Paul] do not understand finance or taxes."

I guess that's that then. The gratuitous gurgles of the CPA says the Federal Reserve must stay. And since Ron Paul is a Doctor, he must not understand anything about these matters. Thanks for settling the issue once and for all.

It is curious, though, for anyone who really understands the Federal Reserve for what it is--and who is not in its power structure--to want it to continue its role in the American economy. But I'm a doctor of the other sort [Ph.D.], so I don't know anything about these issues either.

Your entry was very disappointing, Mark, because you usually have interesting and intelligent comments to offer.

Posted by: Radical Patriot | August 13, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I heard about that battlecry event. I tried to get the diociese to do something about these false prophets. Trying to say Jesus was not a "man's man" and how they were going to restore christains masculinity.

I called them several times and emailed. I told them if they want to start a new religon fine. If they want to build religous warriors, fine. But don't disgrace Jese's name with their garbage. Don't claim to be christians while teaching young people the OPPOSITE of chrsitianity.

Posted by: rufus | August 13, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

For Obama, fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq is almost counterproductive, while fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is good.

Al Qaeda in Iraq was born in sin because it "didn't exist before our invasion." Al Qaeda in Central Asia and the subcontinent has, for the senator, a cleaner pedigree, traceable directly to Osama bin Laden. But what in the world do the circumstances of birth have to do with counterterrorism?

Sen. Obama is desperately worried about the dozens of "groups affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda . . . worldwide"--but not about Al Qaeda in Iraq, which if you had to rank the al Qaeda offspring by their lethality to the continental United States, would rank no lower than third.

Obama says of Iraq that we are in "a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences." But this is the case also with Afghanistan. Unless we plan on losing, we are probably going to be there for a long time. U.S. soldiers are going to die there for years.

Afghanistan's politics, which are easily as complicated as Iraq's, are going to remain a corrupt mess no matter what America does on the battlefield. Does Obama really think that two brigades pulled from Iraq are going to make all the difference in Afghanistan, whose brutal topography swallows up manpower as effectively as the jungles of Vietnam?

Does the senator doubt that the American occupation of Afghanistan angers millions of devout Sunni Muslims, especially those most likely to answer the call to holy war?

Posted by: The audacity of shallowness | August 13, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Senator Proxmire was indeed one of the great selfless ones.
I compare him to Montana's own Mike Mansfield, who, like Proxmire, did not accept big contributions to his campaign and was repeatedly reelected without very much campaigning.

Mansfield refused to write memoirs, calling them, "those things where you take all the credit for everything that went right and blame everyone else for what went wrong."

At his assistance, his grave at Arlington, mentions nothing of his political career. He has just a simple marble headstone that matches those around him, noting only that he was a private in the United Sttes Marine Corps. The Senate certainly had great examples of selflessness and integrity when Mansfield and Proxmire were contemporaries.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | August 13, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

'On this morning's "Fox News Sunday", host Chris Wallace interviewed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and actually hammered him about putting his dog, Seamus, in a kennel on the roof of his car on a long family vacation. Wallace, who says he's a dog lover, points out that Massachusetts law prohibits endangering animals in this way and asks, "what were you thinking?"

After a chuckle, Romney jovially explains how Seamus jumped up there on his own and how much he loved being on the roof of the car. He also assures Wallace that the kennel was airtight and safe, but admits that he had no idea that he was breaking the law.'

ummm, 'airtight' and 'safe'? hello?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I left out the most important, scary, point. This WAS a republican revolution. A new revolution. A soft-non-violent (for the most part) revolution.

They just didn't have the spine to call it that. Until around 2002, then their revolution showed it's face. What happened when yoou showed your face? 06' sweep once the truth was known. once fox was shown to be lying propogandists and all the "news" coming out of their and the administration was garbage.

Gop. The strides you made were becasue people believed your lies. Once these lies where shone for what they were the GOP got whooped. The internet has destroyed your party. You can no longer go out there and lie to differant groups and never have it catch up to you. You now have to at least try and do what you say. The old rules of politics no longer apply. The internet and 9/11 changed the rules forever.

Now lobbyist's are bribing and lies are grounds for perjury. About time. Now we can start to re-build this great nation for the damage that has been done

Posted by: rufus | August 13, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

BattleCry Philadelphia was more than just a vulgar carnival designed to suck donations into the coffers of Ron Luce's corporation "Teen Mania". Indeed, it had a point, to recruit the future elite "warriors" in the coming battle against the separation of church and state.

It turned dark and frightening on Saturday afternoon. After Franklin "Islam is a Wicked Religion" Graham came out to thunder against the evils of homosexuality and the Iraqi people (whom he considers to be exactly the same people as the ancient Babylonians who enslaved the tribes of Israel and deserving, one would assume, the exact same fate) we heard an explosion. Flames shot out on stage and a team of Navy Seals was shown on the big TV monitors in full camouflage creeping forward down the hallway from the locker room with their M16s. They were hunting us, the future Christian leaders of America.

Two teenage girls next to me burst into tears and even I, a jaded middle-aged male, almost jumped out of my skin. I imagined for that moment what it must have felt like to have been a teacher at Columbine high school. 10 seconds later they rushed out onstage and pointed their guns in our direction firing blanks spitting flames. About 1000 shots and bang, we were all dead.'

WTF??? What does that mean (besides revving up a bunch teen-agers with violent sensationalism for no apparent reason?) It appears that the "Navy Seals" are a group of ex-special forces called Force Ministries who do this schtick at rallies and the like. Can you believe people make a living doing this stuff?

This story has been verified by others, who also report this little synergistic touch:

It began with fireworks so loud and startling I screamed. Lights and smoke followed, and a few kids were pulled up on stage from the crowd. One was asked to read a letter.

This was the letter that opened the event. Its author was George W. Bush. Yes, the president of the United States sent a letter of support, greeting, prayer and encouragement to the BattleCry event held at Wachovia Spectrum Stadium in Philadelphia on May 12. Immediately afterward, a preacher took the microphone and led the crowd in prayer. Among other things, he asked the attendees to "Thank God for giving us George Bush."

Posted by: the rising fascist youth movement | August 13, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Rove's legacy: Bush's Architect may not have been a genius, but the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis was his idea - Rove's legacy has nothing to do with his so-called strategic brilliance. His significance has everything to do with his cutthroat, win-at-all-cost style. Rove believes the political rule that there are no rules. Laws are meant to be broken. Scandals are meant to be covered up. Enemies are meant to be destroyed. The key to electoral success is to tear the country in half and see who comes out with the bigger chunk. Moreover, Rove helped usher in an unprecedented approach to executive-branch governing -- one in which the line between policy and politics no longer exists. Every agency, every official, every decision was a political opportunity to be exploited, laws and ethics be damned.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Karl Rove was the "architect" of one of the worst governments in American history, and the one who engineered the end of modern conservatism, one of the most successful ideological movements of recent times. "

Well said. Their goal was a "permenant conservative majority". They tried to APPOINT their way to a permenant majority. That street doesn't run both ways. That is no way to run a government. Appoint political lackies with no experiance. Not sure who if anyone has tried this treason in the past. Probably not since revolution times. wHEN PEOPLE'S LOYALTIES are beign questioned. Kinda like now. "You are with us or against us."

But the "liberals" are the bad guys, right? The liberals are the ones to be feared. The ones how have tried to destroy this country.

What a croke. The gop is responsible. And as such they will have to take responsibility for their actions. Stop blaiming democrats, stop blaming "liberals", stop blaming the Kos. Take responsibility for what you have doen the last 25 years and work to rebuild the damage done. If they are unable or unwilling to do that, and instead balem the democrats, they have no future in this great country. And rightfully so.

Posted by: rufus | August 13, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Loudon Voter writes
"I think you've been around enough to know that people don't get elected based on their resumes. This guy's candidacy was frankly a joke."

More or less of a joke than Romney's, Giuliani's or F Thompson's candidacies? Sure, I know people don't get elected on their resumes - look at the two terms of the Bush administration - his resume said he'd run things into the ground, and he did - but he won the nomination & two elections. My point is that the process is flawed, that we don't end up with the candidates that will best serve our contry's interests, but with the candidates that each party thinks will best serve the party's interests.

If we look at the Kerry nomination of 2004, we see a party selecting a candidate based not on being the best candidate to serve as President, but the alleged 'best' candidate to beat Bush. Its a stupid way to select a candidate & they're doing it all over again.

Posted by: bsimon | August 13, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hamid Karzai, hand-picked by Washington to pose as president of the broken country of Afghanistan, says his government has "very, very good, very, very close relations [and] will continue to have good relations with Iran." He declares on CNN, "So far, Iran has been a helper" in fighting terrorism.

Nuri al-Maliki, favored by Washington as the most viable prime minister to pretend to lead the bleeding country of Iraq, says Iran is doing "positive and constructive" work in "providing security and fighting terrorism" in his country.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The war in Afghanistan has not officially ended, but the effective end happened today. A short Washington Post article reports on the just-concluded talks between Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf, and various tribal leaders. There was talk about confronting extremism. There was also this:

The tribal meeting's closing statement said that a 50-man team of prominent leaders from both countries would hold regular meetings and work to "expedite the ongoing process of dialogue for peace and reconciliation with the opposition," a reference to the Taliban.

Musharraf, after returning to Pakistan, said the committee should "engage warring forces in Afghanistan to bring the terrorism and extremism to an end." Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the past had also encouraged dialogue with Taliban fighters to persuade them to support the government.

Reconciliation with the Taliban. You remember them. Al Qaeda's protectors. Bin Laden's protectors. Apparently, all will be forgiven.

This comes as the New York Times reported, Sunday, that experts now admit Bush lost any chance of defeating the Taliban when he diverted resources to Iraq.

Posted by: the other war we lost | August 13, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Rove has been called the "architect." But of what? What did he build, and what will he leave behind?

He guided Bush to two narrow and hard-fought victories, and briefly oversaw a conservatism that had more power in Washington that anything we had seen in 70 years. But today those victories look like phyricc ones, as the conservative movement is in ideological and politics ruins, and the Democrats stronger today than anytime in a generation.

So, as his epitaph I offer this:

Karl Rove was the "architect" of one of the worst governments in American history, and the one who engineered the end of modern conservatism, one of the most successful ideological movements of recent times.

Brilliant yes. Bold, without a doubt. A compete and utter failure who left his country and his movement weaker than the found it? Yep.

Eventually, perhaps, disgraced.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

We do not see enough shame suicides among the Chinese. The Japanese and South Koreans are the world leaders in shame suicides. Chinese "suicides" are generally secret police murders.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Blinking is a tell -- a surefire way to know someone is lying. Which isn't at all surprising, since Mitty doesn't believe a word he's saying.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Sunni politicians maintained a hard line Monday after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki invited key Sunni and Kurdish allies to a crisis conference in a desperate bid to reach a compromise among Iraq's divided factions.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

'BEIJING, China (AP) -- The head of a Chinese manufacturing company accused of shipping hundreds of thousands of lead-tainted toys later recalled in the United States has committed suicide, a state-run newspaper said Monday.'

too bad we don't see more of that here..

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Romney on the Today show, I found his incessant blinking a bit disconcerting. I'm one for substance over style, but WTF.

I picked Huckabee vs. Hillary about 3 months ago, and I see my prediction still has some validity. I think Huckabee is the GOP's one chance in the general, even though it remains a small chance IMO.

Posted by: FH | August 13, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I just read that Susan Ralston, Abramoff's former assistant before she became Rove's [she who is under investigation for her uhh, activities] was 'learning to sing' as it were, and that was the reason for Rove's sudden departure.

It was also felt that Rove was too 'toxic' for anyone in '08 to wnat to be publicly involved with. Which considering how many crimes Rove is under investigation for, and how much of a paper trail there is, is possibly true.

Posted by: drindl | August 13, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

yeah, bye, tommy (yawn). i notice rove's departure dovetails nicely with the other thompson's announcement. but karl's through with political consulting, and he's never lied to us, right? maybe fred can scare up a million bucks to change karl's mind. although rove will likely get the keep-your-mouth-shut golden handshake of speaking engagements and corporate board jobs, as a democrat i take some pleasure knowing that the 2006 congressional election probably cost genius rove about $10 million in consulting fees for the 2008 campaign.

Posted by: fred | August 13, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Rove says that he's not going to join anyone's presidential campaign. I don't generally believe anything Rove says, but he could be telling the truth on this one.

Who would want him? In the general election, any Republican candidate would need to run away from Bush. And it's hard to say that you're going to be different from Bush if you employ Karl Rove, his chief strategist. Rove is too much of a liability; I can't imagine anyone hiring him.

Posted by: Blarg | August 13, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

bsimon: I think you've been around enough to know that people don't get elected based on their resumes. This guy's candidacy was frankly a joke.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 13, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

We're bound to see more drop-outs, right? Looks like it'll be Mitt, Fred, Rudy, McCain, Huck, and Tancredo.

Posted by: paul | August 13, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

T Thompson's withdrawl is Exhibit A in support of my hypothesis that the nomination process tends to produce bad nominees. On paper, the guy should be a leading candidate for the party, but because the process focuses on fundraising and creating media 'buzz' a guy that could be a great candidate gets passed over in favor shallower alternatives. Same thing's happening on the Dem side.

Posted by: bsimon | August 13, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

O Happy day. O Happy day.

Gop'ers dropping like flies. The GOP has a year. They will be removed from the political landscape for their treason/incompetance

Posted by: Rove Gone | August 13, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Those guys can't afford him. I think it would be more likely to see him as a congressional liason with Exxon, or Shell.

Posted by: Andy R | August 13, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Thompson was a big time corporate enabler-- a master of funneling taxpayer money into big business and then getting handsomely rewarded for it. He set up the wildly expensive Medicare Part D deal -- that forces taxpayers to pay inflated prices for drugs and drives the ever-rising cost of health care. Then he immediately went to work as a pharmaceutical lobbyst at a very fat salary as a reward. A prime example of everything that's wrong with this corrupt system.

So anyone want to guess who Rove will go to work for? My hunch is Thompson or Guiliani. Anyone?

Posted by: drindl | August 13, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Fresh off a strong victory in a weak and watered-down Iowa straw poll, Mitt took the opportunity yesterday to slip in an apology for his earlier comparison of his sons' campaign help to military service in Iraq.

"I misspoke there," Romney said yesterday on Fox News Sunday. "I didn't mean in any way to compare service in the country with my boys in any way. Service in this country is an extraordinary sacrifice being made by individuals and their families...there's just no comparison there."

Previously, Romney's team had claimed the remarks were taken out of context, even releasing a video of the incident in the hopes that it would clear things up. But that didn't work, so now he's admitting his mistake.

Posted by: another flipflop | August 13, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

'It's because he's everything Hillary is not: strong, articulate voice; experienced in governmental and private executive work; presidential looking, a bonafide record of achievement, and a great family'

you repugs are really hung up on looks and surface things. what is your problem? utter vacuity and shallowness?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"Romney, on the other hand, is an empty suit and a long election campaign will bear that out"

Yes, but I only hope that Rove isn't joining up with him in the not too distant future. Is Mitt the new heir apparent from the Bush clan? I urge my fellow Rs to look elsewhere if we want to win in '08.

Romney did not fare well in his interview with Chris Wallace on FNS yesterday, and neither did his wife, imo. She especially came across as very defensive. His own sound bites from 2002-2004 will doom his chances despite the money he can throw around.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 13, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree that Paul's views on the economy and most other things are ridiculous, but he is the only GOP guy up there who is against the war. I know he won't win but he seems to be gaining steam and he definitly has the money to stay in it for the long haul.

He also wants to get rid of the Department of Education by the way.

Posted by: Andy R | August 13, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Thompson's main downfall was this:

He was pandering too much.

He has a reputation of being a Republican "ideas man" from his days in Wisconsin, yet he brought relatively few bold ideas to the race. Instead, he tried to focus on being a "consistent conservative"....which only caused him to blend in with all the others.

Posted by: MBW | August 13, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Too bad that someone of substance has to go.

Romney, on the other hand, is an empty suit and a long election campaign will bear that out. He just spouts out tired old focus group-tested Republican mantra (strong military, strong family, stong economy) and has no real ideas.

He couldn't even get re-elected in his home state...and his handpicked successor go clobbered too.

(Yes, I know Mass. is a liberal state...but most voters recognize good leadership when they see it, regardless of party).

The main thing he has going for him: he's disciplined.

Posted by: MBW | August 13, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Andy R -

While "President Ron Paul" could never convince Congress to shut down the Federal Reserve Bank and institute a bimetallic standard, he wants to do just that. Ask a Paul supporter if s/he understands what it would mean to collapse the money supply by a factor of 25 or so and you will get a blank stare. As my wife the tax specialist CPA says, "these doctors do not understand finance or taxes." And neither do his followers, apparently.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 13, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about Thompson. The story coming out of Ames is Huckabee's second place finish. He had more votes then tickets that he bought for his supporters. That means that some of the tickets bought by Romney and the other candidats actually voted for Huckabee.

I also think that Ron Paul did enough to solidify him for the rest of the run. He won't win but he might end up being the Howard Dean of the GOP this season.

Posted by: Andy R | August 13, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

How can the guy from Cincy vote in the straw poll? Don't you have to be from Iowa?

Posted by: fulch | August 13, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear he's pulling out. That will give Ron Paul a bit more time to speak at debates.

Posted by: Watson | August 13, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

While he had to leave i think its important to remember some of the good things he did in his years as a public servant.

He served as HHS secretary at a very difficult time. This was no doubt a very stressful job.

He also fathered the welfare-to-work program. This was the same program that Bill Clinton pushed across the country during his presidency. Thompson supported the plan instead of complaining how a democrat stole it because he knew it would be better for the country.

I'm a much bigger fan of Mitt Romney but think Tommy Thompson did a lot of good that should be remembered.

Posted by: George | August 13, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

"Tommy Thompson Is First Victim of Iowa Straw Poll" Great headline title. A bit like saying "got stuck to his own toilet paper."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Darlae: With all due respect: Thompson never had a shot. He mumbled more than Barbara Harrison on channel 4's morning news. Very nice guy, though.

Posted by: Harlon | August 13, 2007 6:47 AM | Report abuse

My dad was one of Tompsons straw voters. He drove all morning from Cincinnati, Ohio to cast it. Makes me wonder how many others weren't even from Iowa.

Posted by: Darlae D. | August 13, 2007 6:00 AM | Report abuse

My dad was one of Tompsons straw voters. He drove all morning from Cincinnati, Ohio to cast it. Makes me wonder how many others weren't even from Iowa.

Posted by: Darlae D. | August 13, 2007 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Just saw the headline that Rove is bailing out. Looks like he is the second casualty of the Ames poll- the ridiculously low turnout is not a good sign for Republican enthusiasm in November '08, and he doesn't want his name associated with the debacle that has resulted from his having hijacked the Republican party these last years. Oh wait, Rove wants to spend more time "with his family". So did the rats trying to flee the Titanic.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | August 13, 2007 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Tommy Thompson is perhaps too honorable and common sensical to attract special interest money, and too Wisconsin moderate conservative to attract zealots. It's unfortunate that his presidential fantasy kept his mouth shut about Bush Administration mis-doings. Two years ago would have been a good time for a tell-all book like Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's "The Price of Loyalty" [written by Ron Suskind].

Maybe he'll yet mention the surplus of illegal immigrant labor sabotaging welfare-to-work programs. Or in a similar vein, a new statistic on the national downturn in youth work:

"Last month [July 2007], 42.3% of Americans between 16 and 19 were working, the lowest for July in nearly 60 years of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only three times before 2002 had the rate ever dipped below 50%."

Posted by: KV | August 13, 2007 5:31 AM | Report abuse

M S E: I totally agree, Senator Proxmire was one we wil never come close to finding again, Russ is good, but no one is anywhere near him.

Posted by: lylepink | August 13, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

1957 - 1989 is 32 years, not 42, as it incorrectly states above.

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | August 13, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Wisconsin Senator from 1957 to 1989 (42 years!)William Proxmire was one of the great ones of all time. He filled the Senate seat of one of the most loathesome Senators of all time, Joseph McCarthy.

For those who don't know, here is brief bit of background of one of the greatest Senators ever to serve the American people.

From Wikipedia:
William Proxmire was elected in a special election on August 28, 1957, to fill the remainder of the term vacated due to the death of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

He was reelected in 1958, 1964, 1970, 1976 and 1982. His reelections were always by wide margins, including 71% of the vote in 1970, 73% in 1976 and 65% in 1982, when he ran for a fifth six-year term.

Proxmire holds the U.S. Senate record for consecutive roll call votes cast: 10,252 between April 20, 1966 and October 18, 1988. The previous record of 2,941 was held by Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine.

He was an early, outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. He frequently criticized Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon for their conduct of the war and foreign policy decisions. He used his seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee to spotlight wasteful military spending and was instrumental in stopping frequent military pork barrel projects. His Golden Fleece Award was created to focus media attention on projects he felt were self-serving and wasted taxpayer dollars.

As Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Proxmire was instrumental in devising the financial plan that saved New York City from bankruptcy in 1976-77.

In his last two Senate campaigns of 1976 and 1982, Proxmire refused to take any campaign contributions, and spent on each less than $200 out of his own pocket--to cover the expenses related to filing for re-election and return postage for unsolicited contributions. He was an early advocate of campaign finance reform.

Proxmire's campaigning consisted primarily of standing at the entrance to the state fair or a county fair, or in the parking lot of a Packers', Braves or Brewers game and shaking hands with attendees to the event, stating "Hi, I'm Bill Proxmire." If someone had a question at these events for him, he told them to write a letter to him. He wrapped bandages around his fingers to prevent blisters.

Proxmire was famous for issuing his Golden Fleece Awards identifying wasteful government spending between 1975 and 1988. The first one was awarded in 1975 to the National Science Foundation for funding an $84,000 study on "why people fall in love". Another Golden Fleece Award went to the National Institute for Mental Health, which spent $97,000 to study, among other things, what went on in a Peruvian brothel. The researchers said they made repeated visits in the interests of accuracy. The Federal Aviation Administration also felt Mr. Proxmire's wrath, for spending $57,800 on a study of the physical measurements of 432 airline stewardesses, paying special attention to the "length of the buttocks" and how their knees were arranged when they were seated. Other Fleece recipients were the Justice Department, for spending $27,000 to determine why prisoners wanted to get out of jail, and the Pentagon, for a $3,000 study to determine if people in the military should carry umbrellas in the rain.

As with pork barrel spending on defense projects, he successfully stopped numerous science and academic projects of dubious value.

From 1967 until 1986, Proxmire gave daily speeches noting the necessity of ratifying The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. After giving this speech every day that the Senate was in session for 20 years, resulting in 3,211 speeches, the convention was ratified by the U.S. Senate by a vote on 83-11 on February 11, 1986. [citation needed]

Posted by: Marc Scott Emery | August 13, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

reason: Maybe we are on the ESP thing that I referred to a couple days ago with bsimon. I was thinking the same as you, and was going to post the thought. I differ only slightly in that I doubt anyone would have a chance against Russ. I was in Wisconsin for a time between 66 and 72, and later was a devotte of Bill Proxmires "Fleece awards" exposing the waste in Fed Govt. I seem to recall he claimed the fileing fee as the only expense in his re-election bid, and was re-elected.

Posted by: lylepink | August 13, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

In Wisconsin, we know to drink the milk before the sell-by date. Well Tommy Thompson's sell-by date was 12 years ago and nobody is going to drink that stuff and nobody did.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | August 12, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse


Well, you can't say we didn't try. Speaking to the Post on Friday, Gov. Thompson declared that the press - and, by default, the voters - "Don't look at the resume....They're not looking at who is the most qualified to be president. They look at who's got the best looks, the best smile, the most money and is doing well in the polls." True. Presidential elections have featured a triumph of style over substance repeatedly. And, unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast.

The Brandwagon admires Thompson's pluck, both in running for president in the first place - and in highlighting the ways in which the electronic media has reduced what should be truly substantive policy debates into tidy sound bites, flourishes of salacious rhetorical contortionism, and momentary flashes of belt buckles, boots, cloisonné American flags, and incandescent smiles.

However, and this is a big "however," Governor Thompson is about as far from being a political neophyte as Vice President Cheney is from being the world's penultimate open consensus builder. With four decades of public life, including almost 35 years as an elected official - and an unprecedented four consecutive terms as the Republican governor of an ostensibly Democratic state, one would think that Thompson would know just a little about whys and wherefores of American politics. To us, this is particularly frustrating. After seriously considering, what probably would have been very competitive presidential runs in 1996 and 2000, Thompson chose announce his candidacy for the least substantive, most expensive, most drawn-out, presidential campaign in U.S. history, on the April Fool's Day 2007 Edition of ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos. Huh? Did someone forget to say "April Fool's?" Come on.

To be clear, we are not in the business of beating a good man when he is down, but Gov. Thompson has, generally, been considered one of the most innovative Republican politicians in generations. Regardless of our own political predilections, most political professionals would have to agree that Thompson was a fairly committed reformer, a policy initiator, and not simply a pol. And this is where we believe Thompson's campaign was wasted. On almost every level, Thompson's campaign represented a "Failure to communicate."
And, in American presidential politics, how one communicates is far more important than what one communicates. Gov. Thompson's defining fault was his inability to craft a powerful political brand grounded in his personal truth.

Perhaps the best example of this lives on his website. Here, Gov. Thompson is framed as a "Reliable Conservative," with "Common Sense Solutions" with the entirety of, what we would call, his "brand story" centered on a seemingly chronological series of past political accomplishments from a primarily pre-9/11 world. "INNOVATORS" do not live in the past. Innovators speak to the future. Gov. Thompson's website speaks the language of another candidate, living in another time, and an election whose sell-date has long since passed.

Perhaps, we might have critiqued Gov. Thompson's political brand a little sooner. Maybe his campaign would have noticed. And maybe, just maybe, Gov. Thompson would have come out swinging - and not scolding. Maybe, he would have tried a little more inspiration, and a lot less reflection. But, again, Gov. Thompson should have known better. After all, Gov. Thompson has won way more than a few elections. A little style almost always helps substance garner enough attention to attract more than a few extra votes.

From our perspective, Sen. John McCain also suffers from a similar case of "brand betrayal," as he has journeyed from the "Maverick Outsider" to the "Establishment Insider."

Mitt Romney is correct in stating that this election is about "change." Perhaps that has something to do with his current day in the sun.

Peter S. Cohl
The Political Brandwagon

Posted by: Peter S. Cohl | August 12, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, T. Thompson's departure after this poll was inevitable. He has a great career in the private sector and makes much more money. Besides that, in 2009 he could choose to re-enter the political arena. He has 2 chances: Wis. US senator or Wis. governor. He has already been a former governor of Wisconsin 4 terms. That's a long stint, but 1 of his rivals, Jim Doyle, is governor and will be up for re-election in 2010. Could Tommy come back and run against Doyle to be governor once again? His other option is that liberal US senator Russ Feingold will be up for reelection in 2010. Thompson has already been to Washington as director of Health & Human Services...would he want to go back as a US Senator? If so, it would give him a platform to push his ideas and a vote to carry them nationally. What do you all think?

I think, after him choosing against running for gov. in 2006 and now losing the nomination fight for President, that he will either run for US senate or continue life in the private sector.

Posted by: reason | August 12, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Tommy Thompson seemed to be the only one of that whole herd of Republican candidates, mostly each stampeding to be more *conservative* than all of the others, who -- at least from his resume -- seemed to give a darn about poverty, and about the concerns of ordinary people. He may have gotten no traction, but with him dropping out the quality of the Republican field is now purely dismal. Whereas, the Democrats have six well qualified candidates, and three -- maybe four -- of them are getting real traction.

I was once a supporter of Mitt Romney*s father George, who was a progressive Republican and a skilled company and state executive. The whole Mormon thing never came up back then, nor did the depressing laundry list of *social conservative* crusades that Mitt has flipflopped in order to now endorse. Shame on Mitt, for not sticking with his own good record as a governor of a liberal state, and his father*s enlightened legacy.

Posted by: oldhonky | August 12, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget, Romney flip-flopped on abortion and a lot of other issues! He's just like Kerry!

Posted by: Jill | August 12, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Tommy, for having the good sense to quit when it's over.

It's really hard saying what this poll means. The other front runners didn't compete. The straw poll got a low turnout, probably because it was only a contest between Romney and the also-rans.If Romney had done anything but win it would be news. But I don't see much here. Huckabee and Brownback were not really that far apaprt, so I don't think Huck has taken a decided lead among social conservatives.

Lets see what happens in the caucus.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | August 12, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Romney is too pretty to be real, like the group of friendly aliens from the Twilight Zone who claimed to live their lives according to a book entitled "To Serve Man." (It's a cookbook!)

He does have a strong voice, although "articulate" is more a function of what if anything he has to say, and on that I have serious doubts. And he does have years of experience as a private executive - but (state) government, just 3.

And "great family"?

"That book, 'To Serve Man'? IT'S A COOKBOOK!"

Posted by: To Serve Man | August 12, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Massachusetts voters don't think much of his "record of achievement." I know - I am one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Sedona, you forgot "conscientious dog-owner."

Or maybe not...

Posted by: Seamus' Ghost | August 12, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Tommy Thompson's leaving places Romney in a more commanding position. Note the Democrats' increasing attacks on Romney. It's because he's everything Hillary is not: strong, articulate voice; experienced in governmental and private executive work; presidential looking, a bonafide record of achievement, and a great family. Better call the bullpen and get Obama warmed up.

Posted by: Sedona | August 12, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tommy, could you take your brother Fred with you?

Posted by: L R | August 12, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, good on him for having a go. His departure will hardly change the race though.

He had a deep resume, but unlike Bill Richardson he was unable to get any traction at all.

Does he have a future in a Republican administration? VP is out (Pawlenty would be a more logical Great Lakes Governor) and he probably wouldn't take an Admin post again. He can enjoy the private sector, out of the public eye.

Posted by: JayPe | August 12, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Tommy, we hardly knew ye'.

Posted by: Mike Meyer | August 12, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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