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Newsweek: Thompson Not Really Conservative

From the DNC’s organ, Newsweek:

Away From the Cameras

The right has a crush on Fred Thompson, but his own papers suggest he is less conservative than they think.

By Holly Bailey
June 25, 2007 issue

…Thompson built his first Senate campaign, in 1994, on a typical theme: bringing change to Washington. He tried to stay clear of the culture wars, focusing instead on term limits and fiscal discipline. But no Republican running in the South could avoid the inevitable litmus-test question—where did he stand on abortion?

Thompson was more moderate on abortion than most Republican candidates. In his archive, there are several files on Thompson’s campaign strategy on the subject that could roil his 2008 bid. The records include multiple surveys from the Christian Coalition and other groups in which he took positions that could be viewed as supporting abortion rights.

On a 1994 Eagle Forum survey, Thompson said he opposed criminalizing abortion. Two years later, on a Christian Coalition questionnaire, he checked “opposed” to a proposed constitutional amendment protecting the sanctity of human life. He struggled with the question of when life begins. “I do believe that the decision to have an early term abortion is a moral issue and should not be a legal one subject to the dictates of the government,” he wrote in a campaign policy statement filed in the archives.

Stapled to the paper was a January 1994 interview that Thompson gave to the Conservative Spectator, a Tennessee newspaper. Thompson said he was “certainly pro-life.” But he told the paper, “I’m not willing to support laws that prohibit early term abortions … It comes down to whether life begins at conception. I don’t know in my own mind if that is the case so I don’t feel the law ought to impose that standard on other people.” The file also includes a copy of answers provided in 1994 to another newspaper. “The ultimate decision on abortion should be left with the woman and not the government,” he answered.

But if Thompson was conflicted about the issue, his voting record didn’t show it. He joined with conservatives to block federal funding for abortions and supported a partial-birth-abortion ban. National Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, gave him a 100 percent rating. Recently, Thompson has suggested a personal shift on the issue. He told Fox News that he’s always been against abortion, but that the issue has “meant a little more” since he saw the sonogram of his 3-year-old daughter. “I’ll never feel that same way again,” Thompson said. “Not only is it in my head, it’s in my heart now.”

That is apparently enough for many GOP activists…

Gosh, that is some damning material.

One can see why (unbiased) Newsweek couldn’t even wait for Mr. Thompson to declare his candidacy to get that out.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, June 17th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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