CommunityPam's House Blend

Fred's already running out of gas

The scuttlebutt on Fred Thompson is that he’s lazy; that when he was a senator (representing Tennessee), he wasn’t particularly a hard worker. His Freeper fan club always maintain that this is all BS and Dem spin, but this profile in the NYT doesn’t seem to jibe with the swampland’s view of Fantasy Fightin’ Fred.

From “Sparse Schedule for Thompson on Trail.”

For months, Mr. Thompson has fought off suggestions that he is not motivated enough to weather the round-the-clock campaign trail required of serious presidential candidates. (Or, as a recent headline in Newsweek put it, “Lazy Like a Fox.”)

His critics, already pointing to what they call Mr. Thompson’s skimpy Senate record, might find even more ammunition in his campaign schedule. In his second week as an officially declared candidate for the Republican nomination, Mr. Thompson has made a languid three-day swing through Florida ending Saturday with the candidate watching a football game in Gainesville. The pace has kept him on a jumbo air-conditioned bus far more often than he is actually campaigning.

Since Thursday morning, when the tour began, Mr. Thompson has made no more than three campaign stops a day, with long stretches in between. In recent spins through Iowa, he kept a similarly relaxed schedule. Mitt Romney, by comparison, often does six town-hall-style forums a day when in Iowa.

A spokesman for Mr. Thompson said the driving distances in Florida were a factor, and that he would add more impromptu stops later in the campaign.

Next week, his schedule has no public events at all, limiting his appearances to fund-raisers in Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

Also, he does nothing to dispel the other belief about him — that he’s an empty suit — his stump speech is thin, without any gravitas, and, according to the Times, it “has stuck to familiar, sweeping conservative themes like lower taxes and what Mr. Thompson calls ‘the sanctity of life.'”

Later in the piece, reporter Julie Boseman describes one outdoor Florida appearance wherer Fred was wilting during a Q&A:

In a speech here on Friday, he sweated profusely under the afternoon sun, breathed heavily and, while struggling over a question, asked no one in particular if his microphone was on. (It was.)

Some audience members, in a crowd that easily reached into the hundreds, winced as Mr. Thompson sweated through the question-and-answer session. “I’m surprised they didn’t pull him out of there,” said John Chambers of nearby Punta Gorda, after the speech ended.

And this is the man they expect to go the distance. No wonder Alan Keyes is jumping in the race.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding