"I’m gonna be back early and often and we gonna talk about all these things," former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson drawled to Pat Firnhaber Boone, Iowa, in answer to her plea that he jump in the presidential race soon.
"I like him so far and I want to see him in some debates," Firnhaber said of Thompson moments after shaking his hand as he made the rounds on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. "I want him to go after what we’ve already got running."
Firnhaber is unhappy with the GOP candidates who have declared their candidacies. "I can follow either line. I’m a registered Republican, but I can go down and switch anytime," she said. "We need some strong voice in this country…I don’t think we’ve got the strength that we need in any of our candidates and I think they’ve been way too scripted."
The script for Thompson’s Friday visit to the Iowa State Fair started with a visit to WHO Radio’s studios on the fairgrounds and an interview on the Jan Mickelson Show. "Are you a declared, semi-declared, or a half-declared — how much of your anatomy is in the presidential pool?" Mickelson began.
"Well, let’s leave my anatomy out of it," Thompson replied. "But I’ve declared that I’m going to declare, make a statement about declaring. It’s a testing the waters phase, a legal deal that allows you to test the waters and see if your candidacy is viable and if you can raise a little money in the process and that’s what we’re doing, but we’re near the end of it and we’ll have something to say about it in the near future."
Thompson told the radio audience he’s read a little history and chatted with former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, who ran for president back in 1980, and he had no intention of engaging in "monkey see, monkey do" by jumping in the race early.
"Everybody else feels like they got to, but I don’t think that’s the case. Only one way to find out, and we’re going to see," Thompson said.
Thompson reviewed his political stands on abortion, gun rights and immigration. "I like to think I was equally stalwart on things like tax cuts and lower taxes over the years, strong defense, a strong military," Thompson said.
Thompson portrayed himself as a states’ rights person who believes in a small federal government. "I go back to the Declaration. Our main rights come from…God, not from man," Thompson said. "…I believe in individual liberty. I believe in individual property rights…Those are the things that made our country great and I try to have them as my guiding principles."
In answer to the radio host’s question about Thompson’s vote for the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform package, Thompson said the law’s aim to keep political parties and corporate donors from giving large amounts of money to candidates was a good idea. "The part that look back on now and see was a mistake was trying to limit the television advertisements before these campaigns in the ways in which we did," Thompson said. "A lot of reasons for that, but one of the main ones is that it’s unenforceable, that it creates a bureaucratic nightmare to enforce it that is not good for our country. The Supreme Court should be deciding more important things than whether or not a particular wording in an ad makes it an issue ad or not. We don’t need hundreds of cases going through our legal system."
Thompson also labeled the recent immigration reform package that failed to pass the U.S. Senate "bad from every standpoint" with few differences from the 1986 law that granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who were living in the country nearly two decages ago. "I think the congress tried to sell the same horse twice to the nation," Thompson said.