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Thompson Manager Bill Lacy Speaks

I'm on a conference call with Bill Lacy, Fred Thompson's campaign manager.  These calls are great, as they offer insight into the candidates strategy and message.  Here's what I've gleaned ...

Lacy said that tonight won't be about scoring points -- that Thompson could roll up points like the Cowboys or Patriots, but he wouldn't get the credit for it.  Instead, Lacy says Thompson will have two primary goals:

1.  Look Presidential
2.  Sound Substantive

While some have criticized Thompson for not having a reason to run, Lacy pointed out that Thompson has a track record of handing difficult situations.  (It seems his "Salt Lake City Olympics" appears to be his role in Watergate -- as well as helping get John Roberts confirmed.)

Regarding Thompson's performance tonight, Lacy pointed out that as a seasoned trial lawyer, Thompson knows how to prepare himself.  I'm not sure being a trial lawyer is something to brag about, but the point is well taken; he knows how to prepare for a big event.

Lacy also alluded to the "where were you in '94" question.  Obviously, Thompson was part of the Republican Revolution that year, while others (Romney, Rudy, etc.) were distancing themselves from Gingrich and his ilk.

In terms of nuts-and-bolts, Lacy stressed the importance of cash-on-hand, verses money raised.  This is an important distinction, and Thompson is lucky his campaign is aware of the pitfalls of spending campaign cash.

Their strategy, it seems is to do well enough in the early states and caucuses -- and then win South Carolina. 

As Lacy puts it: "We've got to build a strategic bridge into South Carolina," meaning they have to show enough signs of competitiveness in the early states, to get to South Carolina.  In short, they don't have to win early states (though they aren't writing them off, either) -- but they've got to go into South Carolina viewed as still being competitve.

He told me that he does not believe Fred's late entry into the race has caused any negative issues, and may have helped.


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