Politico: Thompson will quit after Iowa and support McCain

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Offline Dig

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Politico: Thompson will quit after Iowa and support McCain
« on: January 03, 2008, 04:03:51 AM »
Fred Thompson may drop out
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/7682.html
By: Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen  Jan 2, 2008 11:05 PM EST




DES MOINES, Iowa – Several Republican officials close to Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign said they expect the candidate will drop out of the race within days if he finishes poorly in Thursday’s Iowa caucus. Thompson’s campaign, which last spring and summer was generating fevered anticipation in the media and with some Republican activists, has never ignited nationally, and there are no signs of a late spark happening here in Iowa, where even a third-place finish is far from assured. This reality—combined with a fundraising drought—left well-connected friends and advisers of Thompson Wednesday evening predicting that he will pull the plug on hype and hope before the Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary. Thompson’s departure could shake up the race more than his continued presence. Friends and advisers said they have long considered it likely that if the lobbyist-actor is forced from the race he would endorse John McCain his former Senate colleague who lately has been staging a political revival in New Hampshire. “Without a solid third-place finish, there’s no point in going on,” a Thompson adviser said Wednesday. “It was an honorable race, and he turned out to be a good candidate. The moment had just passed.”  A Thompson campaign source said there is “a strong likelihood” that if Thompson comes in a distant third in Iowa, with less than 15 percent of the vote, he would drop out soon—most likely before this weekend’s New Hampshire presidential debates.

The Thompson sources said they were describing a consensus expectation that is now widespread among his political circle, not announcing a decision that the candidate himself has definitively reached.  But Thompson lately has been dropping clear signals that he has reached an up-or-out moment of his own. On Wednesday he took the unusual step of raising expectations for himself at a time when most other candidates are trying to lower them.  When asked what Iowa results he’d be happy with, Thompson held up two fingers, indicating a second-place finish, according to reporters who were with him.  He did something similar on Sunday, when Thompson—apparently in a semi-jocular mood—dismayed his staff by telling reporters that he needed to finish second in the caucuses, a bar that nobody here expects him to cross.  Thompson aides have long said he needs an early victory to serve as a bridge to connect him to the key Southern contests that he envisioned propelling him to the nomination. Thompson had pinned his hopes entirely on Iowa serving that role. But every recent poll has showed him lagging in a distant third.  Thompson picked up a key endorsement in the backing of Rep. Steve King, a conservative who represents the western part of the state, and had won acclaim from conservative activists for his closing message to Iowa voters, a Web video arguing that the Democratic candidates are all running to the left and beholden to special interests like the National Education Association.  Thompson, the former U.S. senator from Tennessee and “Law and Order” actor, brought a dash of celebrity and down-home humor to the strait-laced field of Republican candidates. But conservatives’ excitement quickly dissipated after he got off to a sluggish start and showed only sporadic enthusiasm for campaigning.  Recently, his stump speeches have dripped with contempt for the press and the campaign process, and this week he even joked about napping. On New Year’s Day, he held just one campaign event at a time when the top candidates were going full throttle.

His war chest was so depleted that he was unable to advertise on television after Christmas, and was only able to back on the air in Iowa by blasting a stream of e-mails pleading for contributions. Friends and advisers emphasized that no deal has been cut to have Thompson endorse McCain. But they note that there would be a logic to doing so soon, in order to help a friend and colleague at a moment when he needs it most. In turn, Thompson might be named attorney general in a McCain administration. Trying to fend off rumors about an impending demise of the campaign, Thompson issued a news release Wednesday afternoon saying he plans to participate in debates in New Hampshire on Saturday and Sunday. Thompson was alone in issuing such a release: No other campaign thought that was necessary. Despite the air of doom hovering over his candidacy, Thompson has not yet shared his intentions with the campaign or indicated to friends that he has reached a decision in tandem with his wife, Jeri, an influential adviser. Campaign underlings continue to make plans as far ahead as Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. “Doing well in Iowa means exceeding expectations, and Fred has been exceeding expectations for more than forty years,” said Karen Henretty, a Thompson spokeswoman. “Thursday’s results aren’t likely to close any chapters.”

But other advisers to Thompson described his campaign as “broke” and said that without a shot of momentum from Iowa, continuing the campaign would be pointless and impractical. Thompson advisers expect Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee to claim the two top spots in the Iowa caucuses. The main suspense is whether Thompson will finish close enough to get credit for a surprisingly strong performance, coaxing him to keep battling, or will finish far behind. Thompson and McCain had a close relationship until the former actor entered the White House race. In 2000, the Thompson was one of just four Senate Republicans to endorse McCain’s presidential bid. At the start of this year, Thompson was even making phone calls on behalf of McCain’s campaign. Thompson has built little support in New Hampshire, so his endorsement would not mean a lot for McCain there.  But Thompson has been near the top of most polls in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Jan. 19. So his backing there could help McCain capitalize on any momentum he picks up in the first two contests.
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Ok, Thompson was Cheney's candidate (AEI paid for everything and Cheney's daughter works in the Thompson campaign).  Looks like Mr. "bomb bomb bomb Iran" is seen as the 4th hourse of the Cheney apacolypse.  McCain is running fear all muslim TV ads and looks like he is Cheney's new disciple.  Such a sad downfall.
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Offline bigron

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Re: Politico: Thompson will quit after Iowa and support McCain
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2008, 08:54:24 AM »
A few minutes ago Thomson deied quitting after Iowa.....

Also stated that nobody in his camp talked to Politico !

Offline stymo1

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Re: Politico: Thompson will quit after Iowa and support McCain
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2008, 10:37:39 AM »
A few minutes ago Thomson deied quitting after Iowa.....

Also stated that nobody in his camp talked to Politico !

Thompson Denies Plans to Drop Out
By FOXNews.com (8:55 a.m. ET)

http://youdecide08.foxnews.com/2008/01/03/the-political-wire-thompson-denies-plans-to-drop-out/

Republican presidential contender Fred Thompson on Thursday denied fresh reports that he might drop out of the race and back Arizona Sen. John McCain as early as this week.

The story, reported by The Politico, cited unnamed sources close to Thompson’s campaign, including one adviser who said he might drop out as early as this weekend.

“There is no such Thompson adviser. That’s not something that I have thought about. That’s not something I have discussed with anybody. It’s something made out of whole cloth and dropped at the last minute, probably by one of the other campaigns with some staffers with too much time on their hands,” Thompson said.

He admitted, “Everybody needs to reach a certain level, and everybody needs to get their wind at their back from Iowa. i want a strong showing,” but said,”We’re optimistic and feel good

According to reports in The Politico, what was once the upstart Thompson campaign might soon become the non-start Thompson campaign, a situation that his organization’s insiders are handicapping as a boost for McCain.

Thompson advisers said that if their candidate doesn’t make third place in Thursday’s Iowa caucuses, he could drop out of the race before next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. And if so, Thompson might throw his support behind McCain, who has seen a recent surge in support in The Granite State.

Click here to read the full report in The Politico.

“Without a solid third-place finish, there’s no point in going on,” an unnamed Thompson adviser told The Politico. “It was an honorable race, and he turned out to be a good candidate. The moment had just passed.”

And another source said there is “a strong likelihood” that Thompson would drop out before the New Hampshire contest if he received less than 15 percent in Thursday — probably even before the debates this weekend.

The sources said they were not speaking on any specific comments Thompson had made, but rather a general consensus among those close to the campaign.

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