Fred Thompson gave a trademark low-key performance, with a sweeping view of what America should stand for, rooted in our founders. He unabashedly repeated his line about Americans shedding more blood for liberty throughout the world than all other nations combined. What separates us is a commitment to rule of law, free trade, and smaller government with lower taxes and less regulation.
Thompson spoke of “major challenges to our security and prosperity,” rattling of a list of challenges including mandatory spending. Recounting the Democratic vision of government, he said, “this liberal philosophy must be rejected at all cost.”
In a remark that seemed to be channeling his recent target, Rudy Giuliani, Thompson said that, “We have yet to come to terms with the fact that Islamic terrorism is at war with us.”
He said that this conflict can be traced back a long time and that it “will be with us well after Iraq is in the rear view mirror.”
Thompson emphasized his support for Israel and their “mutual security interests.”
On Iran, he said, “We must make it clear that we will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.”
In the question and answer session, he was asked whether he would consider pardoning Jonathan Pollard, and to his credit, Thompson didn’t pander to the questioner. He said he’d have no reason to consider it, unless some new information came to light. “He was convicted of spying against my country,” Thompson noted.
He handled a question about federalism well, arguing that when the government is considering action, you must ask two questions: 1) Is this a proper job for government? And 2) If so, is it the proper level of government?
One woman asked for him to compare and contrast himself with his Law and Order character, Arthur Branch. Thompson said when Branch is “humble, lovable and cuddly, he’s like me,” but when he’s “mean, surly, and short-tempered, he’s not like me.”
In response to what would be needed to beat Hillary Clinton, Thompson reopened his thinly-veiled attack on Giuliani, saying that Republicans don’t need to turn into Democrats to win, but to adhere to strong conservative principles.
He also warned Republicans against worrying too much about Hillary. “We need to focus on ourselves,” he said, meaning that conservative ideas will attract voters.
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