For months now, Jeri Thompson has endured the criticism of pundits and opponents, alike. The question has always been whether the criticism was fair, or not ...
While I have little interest in discussing whether she is a "trophy wife" -- or a "highly accomplished lawyer and political consultant" -- her reputation becomes relevant when she affects the outcome of the race. (Usually, spouses have little affect, though there is no doubt John Kerry lost votes because of his spouse.)
... Which brings me back to Jeri Thompson. In the last two days, I have had conversations with three different conservatives who attended Fred Thompson speeches this week.
First, a little bit about the three people I talked to ...
... All were men
... 2 of 3 are millionaires
... None of them are supporting another candidate
... None of them knew the other had talked to me about this
According to one fellow who attended an event earlier this week, while Rudy Giuliani was speaking, Jeri went around and "worked the room." This was viewed as being disrespectful to the person speaking at the time.
At another meeting, ennui apparently set in as soon as Fred started speaking. Feeling her husband wasn't received as well as he should have been, Jeri turned to one gentleman and said she expected the audience to be more "ebullient." (Of course, she would think the problem was the audience -- not Fred's speech!).
Lastly, another fellow attempted to shake Jeri's hand. In this instance, Jeri had something in her right hand, but not in her left. Rather than shifting it over, she refused to shake his hand saying, her hands were full. He described this slight as "arrogance."
... Now, it would be petty to dwell on any one of these incidents. In and of themselves, none of these incidents are that remarkable. But it does interest me that in the span of just two days, the wife of a presidential candidate managed to offend at least two millionaires -- and another top conservative. Not only that, she offended them to the point that they went out of their way to express to me their unsolicited condemnation ...
Think of it like this, when most people meet a celebrity, they come away star-struck. In fact, they are more likely to overlook imperfections than they are to dwell on them. What is it about Jeri that has had the exact opposite reaction?
Political candidates in this environment can ill afford to offend voters, much less major donors. It is clear to me that Jeri is hurting -- not helping -- Fred's chances.
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