Throughout the week leading up to the South Carolina primary, Thompson told reporters - and those of us on the bus - that he needed to do very well. He wouldn't specifically define "very well" but it was clear coming in third about 14 percentage points behind Huckabee didn't fit any definition.
Here's a tale out of school which describes the kind of man Thompson is: One day in the week leading up to the South Carolina primary the campaign office in McLean, Virginia asked if he would record a video thanking supporters for helping to have raised over a million dollars from the day after the Iowa caucuses to that point.
This video was obviously going to be a veiled pitch to send in more money - a point not lost on Thompson even though the script I wrote never mentioned it.
He told me he wasn't going to record it. Knowing we were facing an uphill climb to stay in the race, and knowing the video would tempt viewers to donate to help the campaign to go onto Florida and February 5th, he said, "I am not going to ask for money under false pretenses."
Throughout the campaign, when reporters enquired about Thompson's commitment to the race because of what Espo and/or Sidoti called his "laid-back style" I answered the same way: "If you're looking for a guy who is going to put on a Clarabell wig and a red nose and jump on stage singing show tunes, you've got the wrong guy."
It is strange that the qualities we are looking for in a sitting President - thoughtful, calm, and serious - are exactly the qualities which we penalize in those running for President.
It was a great ride. I'm sorry it's over.
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