Vision, Mission, and Strategy

Hillbilly Politics

Rich Galen has written the best article yet on Thompson’s campaign and subsequent withdrawal.

At about 2 PM Eastern yesterday, Fred Thompson made it official when he had the campaign press shop issue the following statement:

“Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.”

Like the campaign itself, the statement was brief, unambiguous, and dignified.

At the time, I was having lunch Christine Byun, the ABC producer who had followed the Thompson campaign from the beginning. Our Blackberries began to wheeze and buzz at the same time with the news of the statement and we swung back into full work mode immediately: She calling her desk for instructions, me answering calls from reporters demanding to know why I hadn’t told them in advance.

The answer was: I didn’t know in advance. Fred Thompson is a private man who makes decisions on his own schedule. Following Saturday’s third place finish in South Carolina, I was beset by calls about what he would do and when he would do it.

I had the same answer for all: You have a deadline to report his decision. He has no deadline on which to make it. […]

Here’s a tale out of school which describes the kind of man Thompson is: One day in the week leading up to the South Carolina primary the campaign office in McLean, Virginia, asked if he would record a video thanking supporters for helping to have raised over a million dollars from the day after the Iowa caucuses to that point.

This video was obviously going to be a veiled pitch to send in more money — a point not lost on Thompson, even though the script I wrote never mentioned it.

He told me he wasn’t going to record it. Knowing we were facing an uphill climb to stay in the race, and knowing the video would tempt viewers to donate to help the campaign to go onto Florida and February 5th, he said, “I am not going to ask for money under false pretenses.” […]

It is strange that the qualities we are looking for in a sitting President — thoughtful, calm, and serious — are exactly the qualities that we penalize in those running for President. […]

Read the full article. Although most of it is here, I left out the responses from the other candidates. Too bad hindsight is 20/20. When foresight demands the same clarity of gaze it almost always falls short. No matter what, every other candidate is going to fall short in some way or another. However, we can look at this article have a little more clarity on our choices, can’t we?

Or  you can listen to the hack. While they might not be mutually exclusive stories, I find Cameron’s gloating just a little hard to take.

January 2008
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