Fred Thompson aims at first or second in Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson chatted by phone with me yesterday (Thursday) and our primary discussion was about the situation in Pakistan.  Then, we moved on to talking about Thompson’s Iowa campaign.

Henderson:  "Let’s shift to realities on the ground here in Iowa.  I remember talking with you a couple of weeks ago and you said you were tickled that Iowans seem to be independent minded.  Do you find an opening here or are you sort of spinning the wheels of that bus?"

Thompson:  (Laughter)  "You know I haven’t felt one spin since we’ve been on this bus trip.  I still feel the way I did, even more so, that there’s no question a lot of people haven’t made their mind up yet and we’re gettin’ good turn-outs.  We’re gettin’ good crowds.  We’re gettin’ good receptions and we’re talking some of the things that you and I have just been talking about and that is the kind of world we live in.  I had an oportunity to visit that part of the world — Pakistan and Afghanistan —  had an opportunity to sit down with Musharraf two years ago.  A lot has changed since then, but the things that are happening in the world are important to us and our national security.  If we can’t secure our own people’s safety, then none of these issues are going to matter to us much in the long run so we’ve been talkin’ about that and askin’ people to consider who they want representing them when these tough considerations have to be made. You know, I served on the Intelligence Committee.  I was the Republican floor leader for the passage of the Homeland Security bill.  I was called on by Condoleeza Rice when she wanted someone to head up an advisory board to advise her on security matters and I’ve had an opportunity to travel the world and meet friend and foe alike, leaders of these various countries — including Musharraf, and I think I understand the kind of world that we live in and the need for strong leadership so, you know, nobody knows how these things are going to turn out, but I’m expecting a very good result.  I want a very good result.  I expect a very good result.  I need a very good result.  I’m not going to be satisfied with just a decent showing.  I want a good result in Iowa and if the people of Iowa think that I’m the guy, then they’ll give me that."

Henderson:  "So what is a good result?"

Thompson: "Well, I’m not going to put a number on it, but you know I’m expecting to finish first or second.  Let’s put it that way.  I wouldn’t be happy with anything less."

Henderson:  "Steve King endorsed you recently…and as I was sitting in the room listening to him he twice mentioned the ‘fire in the belly’ issue and said that he was perhaps an antidote for that.  Has he talked with you about that particular issue and do you feel that you are presenting a vigorous candidate to Iowans?"

Thompson:  "Kay, whatever it is, it is what it is.  I am the same person that I have always been.  I am the same person who won two elections in an uphill battle, the first time, in Tenneesse.  I’ve carried Tennessee by 20 points on two different occasions in a state that Bill Clinton has carried twice and what you see is what you get.  I don’t have anything to prove in terms of the extent of my personal ambition or whether or not I work 12 or 14 hours on any particular day or 14 instead of 12 or whatever. I am me.  That’s reflected in the positions I’ve taken over the years.  I am the same guy I’ve been, the same guy I’ll be in the future.  What you see is what you get and beyond that, I don’t have anything to prove to anybody."

Ten minutes were up and the interview concluded.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.