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Tommy Thompson's in

The former Health and Human Services head and former Governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, jumps into the 2008 GOP fray. I wonder when he’s going to swing by Daddy Dobson’s radio program to talk about marriage and fidelity. (CNN):

Thompson, a senior partner in a law firm, said he is hoping to appeal to Republicans who feel that other GOP candidates are not conservative enough on economic and social issues.

“I am the reliable conservative, my record shows that,” he said. “All that people have to do is look at my record, and I am one individual that they can count on.”

A few of his positions:

Iraq: He’d have its 18 provinces set up their own governments. “Shiites would elect Shiites, Sunnis would elect Sunnis, Kurds would elect Kurds,” he said. He’d also divide up oil revenue among an Iraqi federal government, the territorial governments and its citizenry.

Abortion rights: “I am pro-life, and I think that’s the way to be,” he said. Pressed by Blitzer about the issue of overturning Roe vs. Wade, Thompson responded that the real question is what he will look for if he were to appoint a new Supreme Court justice – and that’s a “strict constitutionalist.”

Same-sex marriage: Thompson said the issue should be left for states to decide. [Hey, just like those pesky Dems running!]

Embryonic stem-cell research: He signed off on the Bush administration’s limits handed down in 2001.

One interesting tidbit that I’m sure the fundies will go after Thompson on — his hiring of openly gay former Wisconsin congressman Steve Gunderson to help him with domestic AIDS strategy when Thompson was at HHS, as well as his focus on science, not bible based, abstenence only mumbo jumbo. From POZ on what meetings with Gunderson produced:

HHS spokesman Tony Jewell called the meetings “outreach to better explain what it is we’re doing,” adding that “the secretary is always interested in hearing how things can be done better.” One AIDS executive, who asked not to be named for fear of jeopardizing his newfound access, says he openly raised a range of concerns from audits to grant censorship to the surprising level of influence enjoyed by the antigay “family values” lobby. “All of us have the sense that they were really listening,” he says. Several participants say the sessions spotlighted the secretary’s role as an ally within an agency divided between conservative ideologues, led by abstinence true-believer [scandalized former deputy secretary Claude] Allen, and those defending science-driven public health, led by Thompson.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding