As we surveyed earlier, Thompson got some tough press from a number of quarters. There seems to be zero honeymoon. I asked Larry J. Sabato for a little historic perspective and whether Thompson underperformed or whether expectations unfairly had gotten out of whack. He answered as follows:
“Both, of course. What did his supporters say all through the spring and summer? Fred Thompson is another Ronald Reagan. We all knew Reagan. He was a President of ours, and Thompson is no Reagan. No one could be. Reagan is iconic and has become a myth.Questions are starting to be raised about his health, his commitment, his fundraising, his high staff turnover. Thompson’s opponents made it clear last night that he’s a big, tempting target and they won’t hold back to allow him to get any momentum. I agree with Thompson that it may not be a good thing for a President to have a lot of fire in the belly; too much ambition can lead to disaster, at least in some cases, and it’s rarely attractive. But think back. Other than Gerald Ford, who was appointed to the Presidency, have we really had Presidents without the fire? Not good news for Fred. But maybe there’s more fire there than we’ve seen so far.”
It is noteworthy that in the Thompson communications team email sent out to tout their online hits and house party numbers they included this line: “While the press has been quick to state that Fred Thompson’s campaign is lacking, the campaign’s political department, in concert with the eCampaign team, organized over 220 house parties, spread over 40 states.”
When knocked back a bit on your heels it is easy, and often accurate, to blame the media. But you still have to fill up venues, fundraise and make your case. If you don’t do that, the media is the least of your worries.
UPDATE: The second event of the day may have been better.
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