Fred!: The Ouch Factor

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 30, 2007 3:55 PM

Sorry, Rudy?

In the April NBC/WSJ poll, Giuliani led McCain among GOP voters, 39%-24%, with Romney at 12%. But with Thompson on the ballot, Giuliani was at 33%, McCain at 22%, Thompson at 17%, and Romney at 12%.

Moreover, among GOP voters who said they were"dissatisfied" with the GOP field were initially voting for Giuliani by29%-25%-11% over McCain and Romney. But on the second ballot, those who said they were "dissatisfied" with the field had Thompson out in front29%-22%-20%-10% over Giuliani, McCain, and Romney.
Some have noted he'll also be hurting McCain by sucking up campaign dollars  that should have gone to making McCain's financial second quarter look better than his first.

Meanwhile, PowerLine has a report that Mr. Thompson may not disappoint, despite the high expectations:

First, Thompson exudes the same great presence and ease of manner in person that he does on television. He's likeable and quick with the good one-liner.

Second, Thompson's instincts are, with the notable exception of campaign finance reform, soundly conservative. This was certainly true on the issues he wanted most to talk about -- the war on terror,economic growth, entitlement reform, and immigration. At the risk of oversimplifying (or perhaps positing a false dichotomy), it seemed tome that Thompson's conservatism is more rooted in common sense than in ideology. However, he seems intellectually curious enough to consider more cutting edge conservative ideas. In this way he may resemble Reagan, who in many ways was a common sense conservative, but also a man of ideas who ended up betting much on brave new supply side economic theory. However, I don't mean to suggest that Thompson would be as bold as Reagan.

And, a word of caution:

Third, on the evidence of last night, Thompson needs to sharpen his message and his presentation skills. Some of his answers were crisp,but others were rambling and a bit unfocused. Moreover, he was betteron generalities than on specifics. If I'm not mistaken, Thompson has only run twice for public office, and his last race was in 1996. In addition, he's not held public office for a while. He may be rusty.