Fred Thompson Drops Out of Race
Former US Senator Fred Thompson has withdrawn from the Republican presidential race, after a string of poor finishes in early voting rounds.
"I have withdrawn my candidacy... I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort," he said in a short statement. . . .
John Fund, writing in WSJ's Political Diary, as usual has very insightful insights on the entire campaign:
Fred Thompson spotted an opening in the field of Republicans candidates last spring: a yearning for an uncomplicated Reaganite who would unite all wings of the party and take the fight to the Democrats with brio. Until late September, Mr. Thompson actually led national polls among GOP voters. But the seeds of his downfall had already been planted.
His first mistake was not fully realizing that in entering the race so late, he would have trouble building the infrastructure necessary for a modern campaign. The best talent had already been snapped up by other candidates. Mr. Thompson ended up hiring a corporate manager to run his campaign. While a good organizer, the man had never run a political effort of any size, and the resulting confusion cost the campaign precious momentum and money. New leadership wasn't installed until just before Mr. Thompson formally entered the race after Labor Day.
The former Tennessee Senator's second mistake was making it too easy for reporters to paint him as a lazy, disinterested candidate. His campaign committed enough unnecessary gaffes to feed that story line (such as speaking for only five minutes before an enthusiastic crowd of Florida Republicans last October) and the perception set in among many supporters that they were backing a walking horse, not a warhorse.
Lastly, the candidate's theme that he was the "Consistent Conservative" in the race was developed too late and could not be sufficiently exploited because of a lack of money. When Mr. Thompson finally did hit his stride in December, he became a good candidate who performed memorably in recent debates. But, by then, his potential audience had already drifted away to other candidates who looked like they had a better chance of winning.
Mr. Thompson intends to remain active in politics and public affairs, although he has flatly ruled out any plans to serve in someone else's administration. Don't be surprised to find him returning to the airwaves he left just a few months ago -- but this time with much higher name-recognition as a political figure.