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Some think Thompson got off easy on the Newsweek story. I think there is a little for everyone — more folksy talk and plenty about his Tennessee roots. He comes off as genuinely a nice guy–so much so his ex-wife campaigns for him. But there is also some fodder for his opponents, particularly on his Senate past. First on the fizzled Chinese funraising scandals (how little things change) which Republicans viewed as a way to sock it to the Clintons:

“Thompson wound up losing control of the investigation, and the support of his own party, when the committee turned its attention to Republican campaign abuses as well. Thompson has said he wanted to make sure the inquiry was fair, and not just a Republican hunting party that would be viewed with suspicion by the public. But Republicans thought he was a weak chairman who was outmaneuvered by committee Democrats. The investigation fizzled and eventually shut down; Thompson was a near pariah among some Senate Republicans.”

Then there is this:

“Thompson’s popularity among his Republican colleagues took another hit in 1999, when he broke with the party and voted against convicting Clinton on perjury charges during his impeachment trial (he voted for conviction on obstruction of justice). But by then Thompson had one foot out the door. He had long complained that he found Senate life suffocating. ‘I don’t like spending 14- and 16-hour days voting on ‘sense of the Senate’ resolutions on irrelevant matters,’ Thompson said in 1998. It was, he said, ‘very frustrating.’ He may have wished the Senate spent its time on more-important issues, but Thompson himself didn’t have the patience, or the desire, to do the kind of ego stroking and horse trading it takes to get bills to the president’s desk. Of the 90 bills he introduced in his eight years as a senator, only four became law.”

No wonder Romney is pushing the “I’m the Everyready Bunny” theme this week.

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