Thompson’s chance to make a difference: Bow out, endorse McCain

A NOTE ON THE NOTE: Thanks to John Bentley at the CBS blog for addressing the problem. All fixed now.

NOTE to visitors from the CBS blog: The blog item posted by John Bentley Saturday contained a serious error! This is Brad Warthen’s Blog, and as such, it only reflects the thoughts of Brad Warthen. The jottings you find here are in no way the opinion of The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper. For further explanation, note this item.

Eight years ago, Fred Thompson came for an editorial board visit after we had already endorsed George Bush, to tell us how wrong we were. We should have backed John McCain, he told us. I knew that, of course, but I sat still for his gruff advice as a sort of penance for my failure. I had tried hard (more about that in my Sunday column), but the consensus on our board had gone against me.

As futile as his gesture was at that point, I still appreciated Sen. Thompson’s position, as bad as it made me feel. McCain had been the man, and it was the nation’s loss that he was not elected in 2000.

Since he knew that then, and Sen. McCain is the same man he was, I’ve wondered all year why in the world Mr. Thompson even thought of running. As I said back in this column, he forgot to do one thing when he jumped in late: Tell us what it was he brought to the campaign that the candidates already running did not already offer.

Now, it’s my turn to return the favor and tell Fred Thompson something that he should already know: It’s time for him to do the principled thing again, and assert what he knew to be true back then: He should bow out, and support McCain. And he should do it now; now is when he can make a difference.

Sen. McCain is tied for first place in New Hampshire polls with a damaged Mitt Romney; Mr. Thompson is in single digits. By the time he comes South, all he will be able to do is be a spoiler, to pull just enough voters away from another candidate (and I suspect that candidate would most likely be his longtime ally McCain) to throw the victory to the surging Huckabee.

Nothing against Huckabee on my part; I just don’t see him as the alternative Mr. Thompson himself would prefer. Meanwhile, he has continued to express his continuing respect for Sen. McCain; this would be a chance to show he means it.

Speaking of Gov. Huckabee, his victory is his own. But he was not in a position to begin that rise, he was not in striking distance, until Sam Brownback gracefully departed from the race. They had both been drinking from the same well of voters, and Sen. Brownback clarified matters for them.

Quitting when he did was Sen. Brownback’s greatest contribution to this campaign, and was the best thing he could have done to serve the values and ideas he espouses. If Sen. Thompson wants to advance his own values, if he wants to make a difference and serve the country — or if he simply wants the gratification of being a player at all — he should get behind McCain now.

70 thoughts on “Thompson’s chance to make a difference: Bow out, endorse McCain

  1. Joel

    I think that McCain should drop out and endorse Fred. You are completely wrong that Fred has not said what he brings to the table that the others don’t. He brings conservatism across the board that none of the other, including McCain, bring.
    He has repeated this dozens, if not hundreds, of times. If you haven’t heard it, go to and discover it.
    Fred has the added benefit of actually having voted in line with his positions, which is in distinct variance with Governors Romney and Huckabee.

  2. Richard L. Wolfe

    I owe my primary vote to Ron Paul for trying to restore Constitutional government for so many years. I will vote for Senator McCain if he is the last republican standing. However, if it comes down to Obama and Romney, I will vote for Obama. If it comes down to Clinton and Romney I will just stay home.
    If Obama gets the nomination he is going to be hard to beat. I think the GOP’s best shot against Obama is still Guliani.
    The problem with McCain is he is past his prime. The country is in the mood for fresh meat and McCain is kind of stale. Ironically, Bush’s ( yes I said Bush ) success in the war on terror may hurt McCain because the nation may have a false sense of security and may want to spend all the treasure on social programs. He has already failed on the immigration issue, so tell me Brad how does he win?

  3. DJ

    Fred hasn’t distinguished himself, are you kidding me??? Could he be any more diferent from those he is running against???
    Please, pundits of the world, if you’re going to take the time to write about Fred, do him the favor of listening to what he is saying first.

  4. stlpatriot

    i agree joel, every man and woman in SC should take a look at
    There is nobody in the race thats more consistantly conservative than Fred Thompson, period..
    Take a look for yourself South Carolina, I’m sure you’ll agree,
    Immigration, Right to Life, Terrorism, National Defense, Social Security, etc…
    Go Fred!!

  5. Dick

    Let’s get one thing straight….Fred is not dropping out! I sent him a little money to let him know we are still backing him all the way, this after the Iowa caucus. Some have it right (not you) that McCain should drop and support Fred which will never happen but it would be a good gesture on a man’s part that wakes up each day and flips a coin to see if he is liberal or conservative for that day….I will stay with Fred as long as he stays in the race.

  6. Rob

    I agree with you, Brad. I like Fred a lot, but he has no chance to win this thing. I like him because he is a man of principle who truley loves his country. I believe he ran because he felt he could take the place of Sen. McCain, had his summer slump continued. It did not, he’s back. Sen. Thompson needs to step back and re-evaluate what is best for his country. If McCain was put in the same position, I think he would drop out. As times would have it, he is the current favorite for the nomination. Fred is behind Ron Paul. (I base this off We love you Fred, but we do so because you make choices for the good of the country, not for your own personal ambition.

  7. Doug

    > until Sam Brownback gracefully departed from the race
    That may be the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever read on this blog. You’re making some sort of assumption that Brownback would have somehow split the 39% of the Iowa vote that Huckabee got? Hilarious. Brownback dropped out because he would have finished in 9th place in Iowa had he stayed in. Zero name recognition combined with zero personality results in zero percent of the vote.

  8. Allan Stewart

    ….If McCain was put in the same position, I think he would drop out…
    McCain was in a much worse position a few months ago when he pleaded for support for the McCain-Kennedy-Bush amnesty plan they tried to ramrod down our throats. McCain is back in the race only because people have forgotten (for now) what he did. His current denials of his support for amnesty might get him some short-term support, but will eventually serve as fodder for any opponent that wishes to expose his mendacity.
    Fred did pretty good in IA considering his relatively late start and the compressed time-frame that prevented the social conservatives from really getting to know Huckabee.
    Fred will pull support from Huck first. All the other Republican candidates are regarded as liberal. Huck’s foolish followers think he is a conservative, like Fred is in fact, and they should switch to Fred if they really believe in the principles that Huck pretends to support.

  9. Vince

    Wrong. Fred and John may be friends, but there’s no way Fred’s going to drop out merely to endorse McCain’s support of amnesty, man-made global warming, and opposition to the Bush tax cuts. South Carolina Republicans are not going to support McCain merely because he’s a distinguished war veteran. And Mike Huckabee’s class warfare simply will not play here. Fred’s the real conservative, and he’s in this for the long haul.

  10. kevin

    WELL WELL , another kool-aid drinking liberal strikes again ! I had been wondering when mccain will drop out for 4 months now , his campaigne is almost bankrupt , he finished 4th in Iowa , and South Carolinians proved they dont want him in 2000 …….Whats left , drop out with dignity after you lose on tuesday and through your support to the only REAL conservitive in the race , Fred D. Thompson . It’s clear to me Obama will pull enough of the young independent voters of New Hampshire from Mcain to keep him a lower tier candidate . not to mention all the votes ron paul will get from independnts …… sorry sen. , wont happen for you twice in New Hamshire !

  11. thestateisaschill


  12. Winghunter

    Either McCain OR Bush was choosing the lesser of two evils and Bush was unquestionably the better of the two.
    In going back over McCain’s record combined with his several recent mindnumbing failures in pursuing socialism, not cutting taxes, infringing our inalienable rights, promoting bigger government and pursuing even more damage to our sovereignty, this argument isn’t even debatable.
    While he constantly offers he’s a hero for his service in surviving capture of the enemy, I can now point to many military hero’s who adamantly claim he is not and in his only other apparent stake to the highest office of our land inwhich he is for the war against terrorism ( which only the reasonable are )…this does not a president make, far from it.
    Where his anger won’t get us into trouble it will certainly hold us back and cause great turmoil from within and a dictator I’m not ready for…McCain isn’t even material for a senator.
    Fred Thompson merely needs to hang in there long enough for the people to know the records of the other’s which will swiftly end their candidacies and rightly so.

  13. Dale

    I cannot believe what I just read. Fred Thompson is the ONLY Republican candidate that continues the Reagan Revolution. McCain is the one who should drop out and help restore a real conservative to the White House. I sure hope voters in the South are smarter than those in Iowa who brought into Huckabee’s schtick. I truly gave Huckabee a chance to earn my support, but when light was shed on his record, I knew I wasn’t leaving Thompson’s side. McCain never had a chance with me or with it appears a majority of Republicans. Romney might as well be Bill Clinton as slick as he is. No thanks, give me Fred in 08!!!!!

  14. Carlos

    Check it out folks, the news from an hour ago is that Robert Novak discovered that Mitt Romney’s campaign was behind the Politico hit piece that said Thompson was going to drop out and support McCain..
    The purpose was to cause strife between these two campaigns so no one could challendge Romney for 2nd place in Iowa.
    Romney’s campaign obviously feared that Thompson was gaining too much traction.

  15. Winghunter

    Novak is another pundit that demonstrates he also doesn’t have a clue on several issues although rumor has it that McCain’s campaign was indicated also in this continued subversion of our election process.
    Yet, Fred has weathered many such attacks even though they have taken their toll;
    AP Gives Thompson the ‘04 Treatment

  16. Brad Warthen

    Well, THAT was a lively discussion for a Friday. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was deliberately provoking folks just to get things stirred up on a slow blog day.

    But I wasn’t. If I’d wanted to do THAT, I would have put "Ron Paul" in the headline. That always does the trick.

    As for the folks who have kindly suggested I’m not aware of what Sen. Thompson brings to the table, and have directed me to his Web site (which my main blog page links to, day in and day out), rest assured that I have BEEN out there and listened to Fred (just click on the link; there’s video, shot by yours truly — and here’s more), and it is on the basis of that that I have written about his failure to explain why he’s in the race (or not in the race, depending upon your perspective).

    Anyway, look at the poll numbers and other factors in New Hampshire, read up on the situation there, and you might see where I’m coming from. Or not. Either way, thanks for joining in the discussion.

  17. Vince

    With all due respect, Fred Thompson has talked at length on numerous occasions why he’s in the race. Perhaps you need to need to actually undertake some due diligence and research the record, his answer is out there. And irregardless of the polls in NH, he is the only adult in the room who consistently stands on principle and tells the truth. That’s not something to dismiss so casually as you do, and there are many voters across the country to whom that actually matters.

  18. Doug Sterling

    It woudn’t sway me if Fred Thompson were to endorse John McCain. I won’t vote for tax-cut-opposing, illegal-alien-amnestying, global-warming believer John McCain. If we can’t elect a real Republican in 2008, then let the Democrats have the White House. Fred Thompson is that real Republican, and I’m planning to watch him take the Presidential oath of office on January 20, 2009. Go Fred!

  19. Acid Burn

    Fred is in the race because the silent conservative base asked him to run and he accepted.
    It’s time McCain accepts defeat and gracefully steps out of the race.

  20. Randy Ewart

    If Fred Thompson is the “real republican” that party is in worse shape than I have believed.
    Brad, Meachum has a tremendous story on about McCain as a principled presence. Such principles that do not amount to blind allegiance to the GOP is why Doug Sterling and other republicans hate him.
    Some would rather support a candidate who doesn’t really “care to run for president” and tiredly recites conservative platitudes than an American hero who works to eradicate government waste and puts principles over politics.
    I think an Obama-McCain general election would be great for the country and a win-win in terms of recalibrating from Rove’s divide and conquer public “service”.

  21. Josh Painter

    The poll numbers in New Hampshire? Fred’s not competing there, just like McCain (and several others) didn’t compete in Wyoming and Rudy didn’t compete in Iowa and isn’t competing in NH. They are all choosing their battles – putting precious resources in those states where they have a realistic shot.
    Speaking of Wyoming, it has 12 post-penalty GOP delegates, same as New Hampshire. And Fred now has three of those delegates from placing second in the WY primary (Romney won, picking up 8, Duncan Hunter was third with 1 and Ron Paul fourth with 0. These four are the only candidates who bothered to compete in Wyoming).
    Fred will do well in South Carolina.

  22. weldon VII

    Then he was Fred. Now he’s Mr. Thompson.
    When you want something, you really butter them up, don’t you, Mr. Warthen?

  23. Dean

    I supported Fred in Iowa and I’ll support him as the only true conservative in the race all the way down the line.
    Let me put it like this. I’ll NEVER vote for McCain in any way, shape or form. Not no way, not no how!
    He wanted Dems to cross party lines to vote for him in 2000, let them vote or him now.

  24. sam

    hey i don’t know but for me i need someone who looks exited. thompson really doesn’t. but i would vote for him with all im worth. except that im voting for huckabee.
    i have spent over 200 hours researching huckabee’s record and have concluded that he has the best record. fred definitely comes in second. actually paul would except for his extreme foreign policy ideas. too bad. then except for hunter, the other 3 are lightyears behind. mitt, mcain, and guliani are horrible. i repeat, horrible.
    thanks! sam

  25. LR

    McCain should be the one dropping out. Thompson is the only true conservative running with a chance to win the nomination… The rest of them — with the exception of Duncan Hunter — are NOT Conservatives. Each of them has proven this over the years — look at their records, and what they did while in office, don’t pay attention only to the words coming out of their mouths since they decided to run for President!
    Thompson/Hunter in ’08 — the only REAL Conservatives in the race.

  26. megan

    Sam…you say you’ve put in how many hours of research on Huckabee? I hate to be the bearer of bad news…but:
    They must make teflon coating in Hope, Arkansas…because I’ve never seen a candidate like Huckabee be able to shake off so many accusations that have actual RECORDS backing them up since the Clintons.
    Here’s my list of Huckabee’s flaws…(at least the ones we’re aware of…so far) If you want links to learn more about anything…let me know!!
    – Spending $60,000 in taxpayers funds meant for the upkeep of the governor’s mansion on things like boat repairs, hose, meals out for family, groceries for vacation home, dog house, dry cleaning, etc (nothing like having a 2nd “taxfree” income, is there??)
    – Regardless of whether it’s an *accepted* practice or not…going on the wedding registry to get things for their new home is downright tacky!! I would’ve thought that with the thousands of dollars in gifts they got during his governorship, they would already have been set!! How about the $70,000 worth of furniture that was given to the STATE that Huckabee had tried to claim was a gift for THEM?? (until the giver stated publically that it was for the STATE and not Huckabee) Strangely, an audit performed after they left office wasn’t able to locate the furniture either…though I’m not sure whether they’ve “located” it since then or not.
    – When his son hung a stray dog, then slit it’s throat and finished it off by stoning it to death as a counselor at boy scout camp (18 at the time), Mike has tried to put it off toward political attacks on him. The problem comes when he attempts to keep it quiet (it’s a class a misdemeanor, which could’ve landed David Huckabee in prison for a year with a $1000 fine). When the animal rights lawyers contacted the Director of Arkansas Police to ask for help in investigating it…Huckabee’s chief of staff and personal attorney said that Mike wanted him to write a note, saying that they don’t normally work cases like that. Newsweek even had the letter from the attorney to the Boy Scouts and their response…acknowledging that David and his friend had both been let go as counselors for it after witnesses had come forward and the boys had admitted to it. Oddly enough…none of the witnesses were ever questioned and the local authorities were never notified about the incident…sounds like a cover up to me!!
    – You always hear that he’s a Christian leader, was a preacher…so why is it that his days as a Rock DJ are never brought up? He was even doing that FT, while preaching on Sundays. Also…it’s a bit strange that he’s refusing to release his past sermons…especially since he’s running on christian leadership. (even Hillary has been called on to release papers from her time as First Lady…shouldn’t Huckabee be held to the same standards?) Even the preachers on Baptist message boards I go to think he’s made the wrong decision by not having released any of his sermons. He claims to have a degree in Theology, but he actually has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. I also find it humorous that a PREACHER and someone with a degree in religion would be asking a REPORTER whether Mormons viewed Jesus and Satan as brothers…seems to me that he would’ve already known the answer to that one
    – Remember when he stated that he *HAD* to follow the will of the people and increase taxes after they’d voted for them?? Do you also remember that the ballots didn’t have anything about tax increases on them, since he’d already signed off on them before the vote???
    – Did you know that he SUED the ethics commission TWICE (during the time he was under investigation for ethical violations (which he was found guilty of on several of them)…he was attempting to sue to change the rules over gift/money limits and only place limits on things that could be proven to be a bribe!! (odd, considering how many of his biggest donors ended up with cushy jobs after *donating* money & gifts to him…where I’m from, they used to call that a BRIBE)
    – Ann Coulter took him to task over his having agreed with a caller that the Supreme Court ruling okaying sodomy was right….later, after taking flack over it, he said he didn’t know about the case and based his decision on what the caller had said. (this is another reason I think Fred is the best choice…when he was questioned over drilling in the Florida Everglades, he flat out said that he didn’t know enough about it, but would research it and get back to them…he did exactly as he promised, too…something even the Democrats he worked with had to give him kudos for…the man has always kept his campaign promises)
    – Huckabee’s Foreign Policy knowledge – a nightmare?? Let’s see, the man has NO clue on anything outside of Arkansas…but he DID sleep at a Holiday Inn Express!!! (idiot…’nuff said!!) (according to Don Imus, that line wasn’t even funny the first time he said it in his studio a year prior to this one…guess he hasn’t improved on his foreign policy a year later. Did you also catch the news about him claiming that John Bolton had agreed to advise him…something Bolton said he’s never officially or even unofficially discussed doing.
    – How about the Mexican Consulate in Arkansas that he was leasing for $1 per year???? Which also brings back to mind his scholarship program that when it failed to pass joined onto an in-state tuition bill that the also supported. He lied about the restrictions supposedly on these programs, also. (students only needed to attend 3 years of high school to be eligible, a 3.0 gpa and only say they intended to apply for citizenship at some point!!)
    – Wayne Dumond…Huck says he had nothing to do with his release and lays all the blame on the parole board. He even says that they were Clinton appointees, so he held no power over them…neglecting to mention that after a 1-4 vote against releasing Dumond turned to a 4-1 vote in favor of it after he held a closed door meeting with them and several key people were even re-hired just prior to the vote or soon afterwards by Huckabee himself. He has a horrible record of releasing violent offenders early to begin with and released more than several surrounding states combined…including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri…he even pardoned more often than Clinton!! You should see how many violent offenders he’s released that are listed now as having their location unknown!!
    – He has a terrible habit of speaking first and then blaming others when he’s criticized over what he said…like :
    He came out attacking President Bush recently and Condoleeza Rice and many others criticized him because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about…his response? He couldn’t recall that he’d even written that bit or not. (you’d think he could recall, since he’d said the EXACT same thing at a speech he’d given earlier at CSIS!!
    – He had actually had the same stance on abortion as Fred just a year ago and thought leaving it up to the individual states was the best…then, when he started to run for POTUS, all of a sudden, he came out saying that Fred’s stance was stupid and saying that he would push anti abortion legislation.
    – Huckabee is against school choice and is endorsed by the NEA….the same organization that Fred had mentioned as being the biggest obstacle to better education in this country in his “hands down” debate prior to Iowa.
    – Then to top it all off…the attack ad that he’d spent $30,000 on to run against Romney, only to supposedly have a sudden change of heart and call a press conference to not only tell them about, but to show the ad to them…knowing that they would air it for him at no further charge???
    – He’s also managed to get some of the dirtiest campaign advisors out there…Ed Rollins and Dick Morris…and even says that he feels like he needs to take a bath after dealing with Morris…but obviously his morals, etc hold 2nd place to winning the Presidency.
    I’ve only touched on some of the bigger ones that I’m aware of…I’m sure there’s even more out there that I just haven’t located (what’s that saying…where there’s smoke, there’s fire?)
    The main point is that he seems VERY power hungry and doesn’t seem to mind sacrificing his ethics to capitalize on that power. Is it possible he’s been getting a pass from the media because democrats are salivating over running against him?? All I’m saying is that it would be difficult to know that Huckabee was a Christian by his actions. (a wolf in sheep’s clothing??)

  27. A finance professor

    One thing that bothered me about the debate lat night – most candidates ignored the approaching financial disaster in this country.
    Just 40 years ago a coke or a cup of coffee costs 10 cents, a gallon of gas costs 30 cents, a new car costs $2,500 and a new house cost $25,000.
    Today a coke or cup of coffee is over $1.00, gas is $3.00, the new car cost is about $25,000 and the new single family house averages $250,000 or more.
    Over the last 40 years, prices for all these commodities have increased by a factor of about 10 times or more.
    This means that in the last 40 years, the dollar has lost 90% of its purchasing power. Today you need $10.00 to pay for what you use to be able to buy for $1.00.
    Why has the US $ lost 90% of its value? Because in the last 40 years the Federal Reserve has printed increasing amounts of paper money to fund excessive government spending for wars and welfare programs – and this paper money has no gold backing. The result has been constant inflation.
    The US is on the brink of a financial catastrophe. The dollar is in freefall on foreign exchange markets and there are increasing signs that governments and investors around the world are looking for alternative currencies to use for investment vehicles. The US government is in debt to Foreign Governments a total of over 2.3 Trillion dollars and that borrowed money has been spent on wars and welfare (yes – that’s 2.3 TRILLION dollars). And these foreign governments are not all friends – almost $700 billion is owed to China and the Oil Exporting Countries in the Middle East.
    Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate that is discussing this coming financial collapse and understands the incredible economic dangers we face.

  28. Frederick Paxson

    FRED THOMPSON is the best person to lead this country. He is a true conservative and has been his entire life. All one has to do is check his record to see this.
    During my time in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst, I personally served under both Presidents Carter and Reagan. Without argument, President Reagan was the best commander-in-chief a military person could ever have served under. Fred Thompson possesses the same qualities and vision as President Reagan in that he is strong on national defense and sees a dire need to secure our borders and control immigration.
    I can think of no better person to lead this country and fix the problems we have. He is the only candidate from either party who has specific and detailed plans on border security and immigration reform; revitalization of America’s armed forces; saving and protecting Social Security; and tax relief and economic growth. These are detailed on his Web site at . I challenge you to find any other candidate who has laid out specific plans to fix anything.
    Fred Thompson has published his first principles, some of which are mentioned above. In addition to those, he strongly believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, federalism, traditional American values, the rule of law and is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment — all concepts established during the birth of our country and documented in our Constitution.
    Again, try to find any candidate who has laid out their plans to “fix” this country. You will find they all speak in vague and abstract terms on their plans.
    For those who have heard Fred Thompson speak, you will usually hear him say that the Fred Thompson you see today is the same Fred Thompson you saw yesterday and is the same Fred Thompson you will see tomorrow. He stands by his principles and values and doesn’t shift his positions based on polls or public opinion; in other words, he doesn’t say what the voters want to hear just to get elected, but remains steadfast on his views and convictions.
    During his time in the Senate he focused on three areas: to lower taxes, strengthen national security and expose waste in the federal government. Fred Thompson has foreign policy experience, having served as member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Intelligence committees.
    As chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, he opened the investigation in 1997 on the Chinese government’s attempt to influence American policies and elections, and this investigation identified connections with the Clinton administration (documented in the committee’s report).
    As a member of the Finance Committee, he worked tirelessly to enact three major tax-cut bills. Fred Thompson remains steadfast and even though a person may not agree with all his views and he understands some may disagree with him, you can count on him to be consistent and unwavering.
    Don’t be fooled by his laid back approach and what critics call his “laziness.” As a former assistant U.S. attorney, he earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor and he possesses the toughness this country needs in order to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s issues.
    I ask that you take a hard look at what this country needs, then take a hard look at all the other candidates’ views, policies, their records and their track record on consistency. Fred Thompson possesses integrity, loyalty, commitment, energy and decisiveness, all traits of an effective leader, and will emerge as the best person to take this country boldly forward.
    Please help Fred win in South Carolina:

  29. Alan Srout

    I wouldn’t vote for Juan McCain, Mike “Open Borders for Jesus” Huckabee or Slick Mitt Romney if they were the last three people on Earth! Fred Thompson is the only true Reaganesque conservative in this race, and if he is not the nominee, I predict disaster for the republican party and the United States of America. No Rudy McRombee!

  30. Susanne

    John McCain cannot win if nominated. True conservatives will not vote for him even if Hillary is the nominee for the Democrats.
    If people will just listen to what Fred Thompson is saying in his videos on his website or YouTube they will see he is THE conservative candidate.
    We are at war with Islam, we have open uncontrollable borders, illegal aliens committing crimes and killing people on our roadways. Around the world and here in our own country there are many threats we need to deal with. The only candidate that has viable plans to deal with this is Fred Thompson. He is running because grass root conservatives begged him to. We could not support anyone else who was running.
    John McCain and Mick Huckabee are weak on illegal immigration. Romney wants to force health insurance on all and give it away to those 3 times ABOVE the poverty level. Who do you think really pays for that. The government doesn’t print their own money, they take it out of the working man’s paycheck. The Democrats want to raise taxes, that means more money out of our pockets.
    Please people wake up. How much more money do you want to give out of your paycheck to the government. Only Ron Paul and Fred Thompson are for smaller government but Ron Paul is too angry and has a horrible foreign policy plan to be a viable candidate.
    Fred Thompson can win and should win if we want to ever rid ourselves of the illegals, if we ever want to lower the taxes against us, if we want someone with credibility to stand against our enemies at home and abroad.
    Please take the time to listen to what Fred has to say. He is the real candidate that is not running to gain power but running because the people asked him to run.

  31. Frank O

    Who the hell elected you to intervene? Why don’t YOU just take down your pathetic column? Let someone with an appreciation for free speech and our electoral system and constitution have your spot on this server you twit!

  32. Jaded

    The beauty of your request is that real conservatives not RINO’s would never listen to the editorial boards of newspapers….you guys should quit and throw your support to bloggers. I get excited by the prospect of newspapers being gone within 10 years…and a great delight in the liberal idiots who will go down the rabbit hole with them.

  33. Judith Taylor

    Dear Mr. Warthen,
    I suggest you have your recommendation backwards. The Senator McCain you admired in 2000 is not the same Senator McCain that is running in 2008. Certainly, McCain still has his record of distinguished service in the U.S. military. I will also give you that McCain was correct about the surge and the need for greater forces earlier contrary to Rumsfeld’s plan to fight the war in Iraq with limited forces.
    However, Senator McCain has made several turns against the conservative principles of the Republican Party during the last eight years that make him a different candidate today than the man who ran in 2000.
    The most important issue is immigration. Next to national security, the invasion of anywhere from 12 to 30 million illegal aliens, and their subsequent anchor babies has a serious negative impact upon each US citizen, our economy, and our culture. Senator McCain is on the opposite side of this issue from the position of the majority of American citizens as he favors amnesty for those here illegally. The majority of Americans oppose amnesty for these illegal aliens.
    I am not biased against Senator McCain as I worked for his campaign in 2000 and was broken hearted when he lost in South Carolina. However, this year I am supporting Senator Fred Thompson. Senator Thompson is on the correct side of the illegal alien issue. Furthermore, Senator Thompson also holds the same conservative principles of Ronald Reagan. Also, Fred Thompson is the only candidate that can pull together the Reagan coalition.
    Again, Mr. Warthen, while I respect your admiration for Senator McCain, I suggest you have your recommendation backwards. I would ask that Senator McCain withdrawal and endorse Fred Thompson.
    Judith Taylor
    Woodbridge, Virginia

  34. Robert Lange

    Fred Thompson is the standard bearer for conservatives in 2008. His positions on the issues are well thought out and well spelled out on his web site — not just some glib generalities. He is a tough up from the bootstraps kind of guy who is not going to fold under pressure. Yet he has a great sense of humor.
    Anyone who hasn’t seen it should see the enthusiasm from Fred and his conservative supporters after the Iowa contest. Don’t get fooled by the hit job the media has been putting out on Thompson; here’s the real deal:
    Given McCain’s abysmal showing in Wyoming, where FDT came in second, it is McCain that should be dropping out and endorsing Thompson.

  35. Brad Warthen

    … whatever people mean when they say “conservative” these days. The way people use the word stopped making sense to me about 30 years ago. Same thing with “liberal.” That’s why I avoid the words; they make very little sense.

  36. Mike's America

    You would have endorsed McCain in 2000?
    Some looking back on the history of the past nearly 8 years might agree with you.
    I would not.
    Despite all the grief President Bush gets for making a mistake here or a mistake there he has been RIGHT on the bedrock fundamentals in winning this war and changing us from a passive/defensive nation to one willing to act aggresively in the best interests of our long term national security and economic health.
    If they say that Hillary’s fall impending defeat is because voters want change, I don’t see how you can say going back and picking McCain is in line with that dynamic.
    The voters want change. If we offer them McCain, they’ll pick Obama. Then we’re really in trouble.

  37. spacemonkey

    Maybe Mitt will release a ‘rumor’ that McCain is backing out after losing Wyoming, and endorsing Fred, that should play to Mitt’s favor. Don’t cha think?
    Worked in Iowa.

  38. angela

    Things change in 8 years, Mr. Warthen. I liked McCain in 2000. But his determination to buck the will of the American people on illegal immigration, plus some other issues over the years where he has proposed poking the Fed’s nose under the tent has ultimately turned me off in this campaign.
    What does Thompson bring to this campaign that other Republicans do not?
    He is strong on national security, unlike Ron Paul.
    He is strong against illegal immigration, unlike McCain, Huckabee, and depending on the day of the week, Romney.
    He is a solid fiscal conservative, unlike Huckabee.
    He’s consistent, which cannot be said of Romney.
    He’s solid on social issues, unlike Guiliani.
    I could go on, but the point is that every other candidate has major weaknesses in their conservative credentials. Thompson stands alone.
    I honestly can’t believe you don’t see this. It’s really pretty obvious.

  39. Oink

    Wake up! That lie about Fred dropping and endorsing McCain was fabricated over at That was last week and has been completely debunked.
    Fred Thompson is always the adult in the room at GOP debates.
    And McCain not being for amnesty! Oh puh-leeze! He’s trying to tell us now that he didn’t say what we heard him say. You may want to believe that song-and-dance shell game, but not me.

  40. Tim (tmc32)

    The consensus of comments to your article seems to be that McCain needs to drop out and support Fred Thompson. I agree!
    Fred Thompson is the only true Reagan style conservative in the race. His views on issues across the board are consistent with those that brought together the “Reagan Coalition”. All his views are available on and you should research them before writing.
    I admire John McCain on his foreign policy views, but outside of that he is not conservative. In case you forgot, McCain fell into obscurity after his defense of the “Comprehensive Amnesty Bill.” He is still in full support of amnesty, as he tries unsuccessfully to defend his position. As the memory of McCain’s immigration position is refreshed, McCain will again fade. Because of that and other liberal views, he will never win the nomination. He should do the honorable thing and drop out to support his friend Fred Thompson.
    I am sure President Thompson would give him strong consideration as Secretary of State.

  41. shelbysbest

    Fred Thompson was and is and will always be a “true conservative” and he understands that our country must be governed by the rule of law based on the first principles laid out by our founding fathers and this is how he would lead as a president. His integrity, wisdom, and strength of convictions puts him ahead of the rest. He’s not afraid to put the truth out to the people and that is rarity in politics and he won’t “dance to anyone’s tune”. He is the grown up at the table.
    He’s got the policy to prove it:

  42. Richard Vincello

    As sure as Sen. McCain is a Great American, he would be a horrible choice for President. For me, the torture ban amendment was the final straw. Under no circumstances would I vote for him (or Gov. Huckabee).
    As many others have commented here, it is Sen McCain who should step aside and endorse Sen. Thompson. I challenge any Republican (RINO’s need not bother) to watch Sen. Thompson’s message to Iowa voters (link below) and then tell me he’s not the right person for the top of the ticket.

  43. Karen

    Does anyone wonder why newspapers have become dinosaurs? A editor tells a candidate who to endorse? Who the heck does this whacko, psycho think he is? Maybe Fred Thompson is so repulsed by John McCain disrespect for the value of US citizenship, the reprehensible way he treated honorable people who did not want amnesty for those who violated our borders, and for McCain’s coddling of Kennedy and Klan who consistently labeled republicans racists, bigots, warmongerers, etc. Why would any republican endorse a man like McCain? He has called his fellow republicans yahoos. Shame on this editor for overstepping his bounds and telling Mr. Thompson what he should do and whom to support. Any human who still pays to read the State needs to realize they could read it for free, but still know very little.

  44. Chris Fischahs

    Like “noses” … everyone has one!
    Thank you The State newspaper for telling Conservatives that they have to settle for a moderate Republican who is willing to compromise on America’s battle with John McCain and illegal immigration because the fight is too hard to win – and that we need illegal immigrant workers (while our own unemployment is 5% and rising).
    South Carolinians do have a choice!
    SEN. FRED THOMPSON is the consistent conservative. He has credibility and authenticity. Sen. Thompson is Conservative to his core – look at his record. And these conservative principles are reflected in his policies – look at where he stands …
    *** I believe that Sen. Fred Thompson is the best Republican candidate to challenge the Democrats for the Presidency BECAUSE he stands with Conviction for ‘our’ conservative principles… AND he is the only AUTHENTIC and CREDIBLE candidate who can be this Messenger, this President of the United States.
    This story, as is being reported on the National News now, is blatently politically motivated by this newspaper. Apologize on page 26… what ever. This was wrong!

  45. J Altman

    The writer of the article is a idiot and needs to pack his bags, leave SC and go live somewhere a little more liberal. I am ashamed that you live in this GREAT state and are still ignorant enough not to follow the news and realize that the only true conservative is Fred Thompson. You are like the rest of the MSM and can’t stand Fred because he doesn’t want to play your games. Go move to NC with John Edwards, he would probably hire you to be on his campaign.

  46. Gamecock32

    South Carolinians are going to cowboy up and stick it to the RINO candidates – Romney, McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani. This is a firewall state, my friends- we separate the boys from the men, and we will not be fooled by RINOs- Lindsay Grahamnesty won’t be able to save McCain down here. Fred is the real deal, and we’re not backing down.

  47. Exit Smith

    Why is the press trying so hard to get Thompson out of the race? I think everyone should go to and find out for themselves.

  48. Dwain

    Thompson may be a personal friend of McCain, but politically they are very different and I would not vote for McCain even if Fred endorsed him! I live in AZ and know “Mavrick” McCain is a RINO. Warthen is wrong and Thompson owes it to his supporters to stay in this… Fred has just as good a chance as McCain to win in SC (better in my opinion).

  49. Dwain

    “… whatever people mean when they say “conservative” these days. The way people use the word stopped making sense to me about 30 years ago.”
    Posted by: Brad Warthen | Jan 6, 2008 11:47:23 AM
    Well Brad, you should educate yourself and read a book by Barry Goldwater sometime. “Conservative” is what Thompson is, and what the others are not! If you don’t understand “conservative” vs. “liberal” then maybe you shouldn’t be writing about politics!

  50. MC

    Fred Thompson is the only true conservative running. Don’t forget McCain/Kennedy immigration bill, Gang of 14, lack of support for Bush’s taxes. The only positive McCain has is national security and even on that his no torture position is naive, we have to have all options on the table to deal with terrorists. I encourage everyone that isn’t already going to vote for Fred to go to, learn his positions and you will become a FredHead too.

  51. Fabian

    I have been a supporter of Fred for years and I will vote for him. McCain has been a disgrace in his time since 2000 and needs to go home and retire with dignity.
    Fred, unlike the others, has not changed his positions or has he wavered under pressure. Fred is the man and I believe he can win this race.

  52. Sheryl Burgess

    Fred Thompson has my vote. He is a real consertative who doesn’t mix words on the issues. Mr Thompson’s debate preformance was outstanding. He is a man who can lead us back to the consertative principles that our great nation was founded on. I trust him to put us on the right track.

  53. Ernie

    After reading this article (opinion piece) I find it amazing that “The State” would even publish it. It is so strewn with factual errors as to be laughable.
    As others have said, it should be John McCain who drops out and endorses Fred Thompson. Not the other way around.

  54. Randal Baker

    I think Fred should do us all a favor and talk John McCain into bowing out after he beats Romney on Tuesday. That would clear the way for a true consistant conservative!

  55. Brad Warthen

    One, The State didn’t publish it. It’s on my blog.
    Second, you seem to be confused, and failing to distinguish between FACTS, and opinions that you happen to disagree with. (About every millionth time this happens, I feel compelled to point it out.)
    Maybe I can help you understand the difference. Cite a few of these “factual errors” the post is strewn with — you know, the ones that are so “laughable.” I’d like to join in on the fun, and get a chuckle or two.

  56. Kelly Foster

    Are you joking? How can you honestly print this garbage? Fred Thompson is the best thing this country has seen in decades. He is the only one who can pull us up out of the pit we are sinking in. To try and get your readers to think he hasn’t got a chance and should endorse McCain (what a joke!) is reprehensible. The dirty tricks the mainstream media has been playing against this fine man are as plain as day. We are not that dumb and unsuspecting. South Carolinians…pull together and learn about Fred. Read his positions, his ideals and his strategies for America. If you are a tried and true conservative, he is the only answer. Don’t let the media spoon feed you their biased opinions. Use your head and forget this garbage. I am ashamed this paper printed your ridiculous editorial.

  57. Maureen

    Although McCain is a decent guy, he is not in the same league as Thompson. Clearly Thompson is the VERY BEST CHIOCE as our Commander and Cheif and the Very Best Choice to put this country on track. I for one am looking for someone that will be a role model and someone I am proud to call my President but also someone my children will admire and respect. FRED THOMPSON is that person without doubt. ALL THE WAY FRED!

  58. william Pruett

    I believe Senator Mccain should drop out and endorse Fred. Fred has put forth a detailed plan on how he would handel all of the key issues. The news media has chosen to ignore Fred because he is running his own campaign , his way, and they don’t like it. CNN, Clinton News Network, will not even print the caucus results correctly or fairly. Fred is the only candadate who is right on on all the issues. Go Fred Go.

  59. Mary

    NO WAY FRED SHOULD DROP OUT AND ROLL OVER!! He is a VERY strong candidate, with incredible experience in national security, leadership, etc. He has a story that EVERYONE should read before they chalk him up to being an “actor”. The depth of his knowledge makes him the most qualified candidate for the GOP. HE’S THE ONE I WANT SITTING ACROSS THE TABLE FROM OUR ENEMIES! He was great tonite when he ‘educated’ Huckabee about Guantanamo Bay and what would happen if the detainees were moved to U.S. soil. He just needs the OPPORTUNITY to let everyone know his views…sadly, the debates have not been the forum for him since he is largely ignored by the media. But when the people of SC meet him, and/or read about him on, the choice will be obvious. McCain should drop out and support Fred if we want to win in Nov.!

  60. S Doucette

    Ok, so Fred has beaten McCain in Iowa AND Wyoming despite all the negative press, the false reports that he would ‘drop out after Iowa’ and every other political hit-piece thrown his way(just like this one).
    You have got to be living in a cave not to see the writing on the wall. Though I can appreciate the guy, McCain might be a good choice IF we didn’t have another one, FRED THOMPSON.
    I think that after the New Hampshire brou ha ha we will start to see the REAL picture take shape. You and every other Fred-bashing so-called reporter will have to accept the results and eat your words, your hat, and a whole plate full of CROW.

  61. Brad Warthen

    Catching up with e-mail, I just saw this one…

    Mr. Warthen

       You’re article concerning Fred Thompson was forwarded to
    me by some Pastors in your town. As the Pastor of a congregation of 5,0000 and
    having connections to many of the area churches I felt you should know that the
    pulse we are getting from our congregants is a majority thrust for Fred

       I felt your article was very shortsighted as you seem not
    have taken the time to know the issues of the candidate you have publicly
    disavowed. You mentioned that Mr. McCain is the same man he was last election,
    but you are wrong. There is one word called immigration that was not an issue
    last election such as it is now and no true conservative could vote for the
    McCain immigration policy. Nor, could any true Reagan conservative vote for his
    McCain-Feingold bill which is sickening to a true conservative.

       Please be made aware that before Mr. Thompson entered this
    race after being presented with 200,000 signatures of people asking him to do
    so, the true conservatives had no one to support. Mr. Thompson is the only
    candidate who is conservative across the board. He is the only candidate who
    understand Federalism, State Sovereignty which the great state of South Carolina
    used to deem pretty important. No other candidate has the voting record of Fred

       Before this gentleman entered the race I was doomed to not
    vote this election. Then your article comes along asking the only man fit for
    this job to bow out without even being heard is disgraceful to many of us  who
    found your article to be most high-minded and inconsiderate. He has just as much
    right to be heard as John McCain. We look forward to the day when John McCain
    will bow out and endorse Fred Thompson.

       If you have a chance to watch a re-run of last nights
    debate. You will see one man that had full control of his demeanor, plays no
    games and answers straight and finally knows where he stands.  While I
    understand you have the right to write as you wish, I would strongly ask you to
    look at Senator Fred Thompson again.


    Dr. Steven Vaughn

    Senior Pastor

    Grace Churches

    And I pass it on, since at least this guy’s from South Carolina, and not brought here by the CBS blog. Still,  you’ll note certain similarities with the other comments here.

    It’s a good thing I posted this, from the perspective of you Thompson supporters. Y’all are the first people I’ve heard from who like the guy since back when he was teasing us with that "will-he-or-won’t-he" stuff. After he got in, it seemed like Thompson supporters just went silent. Everywhere I go, folks talk about Huckabee and McCain and Romney and (occasionally) Giuliani.

    But on the internet, at least, Thompson obviously still has a following. I can assure you that Ron Paul and John Edwards do, too — and they can get just as worked up.

  62. Lee Muller

    If McCain says we have can’t win the war with Mexico’s invasion, I doubt he has the stomach for the war with radical Islam.

  63. Tamie

    Fred Thompson is the man we have all been waiting for. McCain is not. Mr. Randal baker, you offered the following- “Maybe I can help you understand the difference. Cite a few of these “factual errors” the post is strewn with — you know, the ones that are so “laughable.” I’d like to join in on the fun, and get a chuckle or two.”. You, Mr. Baker did not elaborate on this. I think you were surprised by the number of bloggers who commented negatively about your comments. Maybe you need to look up Fred and possibly change your vote! We look forward to you joining us!

  64. Pastor Dan

    It really would make a lot more sense to ask McCain to drop out and endorse Senator Thompson. McCain’s best days are well behind him; even in NH he won by less than half the margin he had eight years ago. Fred Thompson is the only candidate prepared to tackle the real serious problems facing our country today.
    Remember, conservatives win by staying true to their principles, not by relaxing them to “get along.”

  65. Allan Stewart

    In the 70’s, with a House & Senate and most State Houses controlled by his party, a Democratic President championed the ERA amendment to the Constitution. At a time much less contentious than today this relatively noncontroversial amendment could not be passed.
    Anyone that believes the Constitution can be amended to stop abortion is living a fool’s dream and when Huckabee claims that a Constitutional amendment is the way to end abortion, he is playing us like fools. It can’t be done.Why do you think no one has ever tried?
    Only Thompson has a practical plan to achieve our goal. The solution is to appoint one more strict constructionist to the Supreme Court. But the pro-abortionist know this, too. Winning confirmation for the right candidate will be the fight of the century. It will take every ounce of a President’s political capital to win the fight. Any compromise in selecting the nominee will allow abortion to continue unchecked for another generation.
    Huckabee & Romney have both demonstrated their willingness to compromise whenever politically advantageous. The only candidate we have that can be trusted NOT to compromise his principles – or our faith in him – is Fred Thompson. It doesn’t matter how hard or long the battle. Fred knows what really matters. If you really want the ongoing massacre of the unborn to stop – you need to get very serious about this election. Look at the facts. Look at the history of each candidate’s actions. Fred Thompson is our ONLY prayer.

  66. Chip

    “Y’all are the first people I’ve heard from who like the guy since back when he was teasing us with that “will-he-or-won’t-he” stuff.”
    First of all, we’re even because this is the first time we’ve heard of you. Second, he asked us if we wanted to “draft” him to be our president and we understood exactly what he was saying so, this MSM spin of being undecided is just that, spin….read all about it as I’m sure you’ll offer you know nothing about it;
    Conservative Blackout
    Brad: “After he got in, it seemed like Thompson supporters just went silent.”
    I see what you mean, the silence here is absolutely deafening. I guess you have to actually look for us or say something that gets our attention, eh? The vast majority of bloggers are for Fred Thompson…how is it that you weren’t aware of this?
    Perhaps, you should have offered something before now and we would’ve met, so to speak, long ago.
    Brad:” Everywhere I go, folks talk about Huckabee and McCain and Romney and (occasionally) Giuliani.
    This is directly due to the fact that folks, apparently like you, haven’t done their any real research on any of the candidates beyond bass playing and newly found hunting ambitions. Allow me to offer you a short list of links in candidate research for your light reading;
    Candidate Research – Know Who You[‘re Voting For ( The Easy Way )

  67. Rob

    Are conservatives a dying breed? The answer to that may well be Yes. There is no comparison from a conservative position between Thompson and the rest of the pack. Where’s the support from the conservative talkers. All I have heard is that ” while Thompson clearly has consistantly held to conservative values, he got in late he doesn’t seem that serious about wanting the job”. Yea. and they sure are “real nice” to him and these are the people who prompted jamming the phone lines to stop the amnesty bill. Thompson would in fact appoint conservative judges. It’s anybodys guess with the rest of them on what is likely the biggest factor for the direction of our country for the next 15 years. No doubt he’ll quit after the S.C. loss. This country will sleep in the bed it has made through complacency. Too bad for us.

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