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When Lee Bandy Talks, People Listen June 10, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in 2008 Presidential Primaries.

thompson 2


FITSNews – June 10, 2007 – Veteran S.C. political correspondent Lee Bandy is a lot like E.F. Hutton – when he talks, people listen. Even though he’s technically retired, Bandy’s Sunday column in The State newspaper nonetheless remains ground zero for presidential opinion-shaping in South Carolina, a key “insider barometer” that can either fill a campaign’s sails or take the wind right out of them.

This Sunday, Bandy opined on the South Carolina presidential prospects of former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, concluding that Thompson is well-positioned in the Palmetto State to “communicate the big picture” and possesses “the right credentials, attributes and experience to be the GOP’s best hope in 2008.”

We agree. We like what we’ve seen so far from Thompson, and since our tax-cutting Democratic favorite Bill Richardson has failed to generate much enthusiasm on his side of the primary fence, we’re pretty much wide open at the moment as to who we think the next American President should be.

While Thompson has the same “star power” that candidates like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain bring to the table, his South Carolina campaign won’t be without its hurdles.

First of all, Thompson is entering the race at a time when most of the other major campaigns have already established a grassroots presence, acquainted themselves with South Carolina’s unique political landscape and scooped up much of the state’s local political talent (such as it is). Like Giuliani before him, Thompson’s celebrity means he won’t have to battle as hard for name ID, but he must buttress that popularity with capable local management and a solid on-the-ground organization, two things Giuliani has had difficulty establishing.

Second, expectations are higher for Thompson than perhaps any other candidate – not only because of his fame but also because of his positioning on the issues and the potential he has to capture a large percentage of the undecided GOP base. The fact that Thompson “plays well in all time zones” here in South Carolina is both a blessing and a curse, meaning that anything short of a third-place finish would be viewed as a disappointment – a pretty lofty standard considering he hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy yet.

Third, Thompson has yet to be exposed to the vitriol of South Carolina’s own version of the Hatfields (Richard Quinn & Associates, the local political firm advising McCain) and the McCoys (Tompkins, Thomson and Sullivan, the local political firm advising former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney). Predictibly, the Quinn and Tompkins forces have spent the majority of their time in South Carolina drawing a bead on each other so far, but Thompson’s entry into the race presents both sides with a fresh target.

Romney’s flagging Palmetto State campaign in particular will have little choice but to go after Thompson with guns blazing, and how well Thompson is able to deflect those attacks while staying focused on his core campaign messages will go a long way in determining his success here.



1. The Trawlerman - June 11, 2007

“We like what we’ve seen so far from Thompson…” What, pray, have you seen of any substance? Cohen has it right in the story printed below: “If there is a passion, an overriding sense of purpose in Fred Thompson, it is not apparent from his record. More apparent, clearly, is that he lacks any such thing.” Thompson’s best day in the race will be his first. Prediction: he finishes third, at best.

2. FITSNews - June 11, 2007

Gee Trawlerman,

Seems like you’ve got a horse in this race already … our guess is Rudy, whom we like just fine as well.


3. sic haters - June 11, 2007

way to go tralwer man. another sic willie audition DENIED. thank you very much and thank you for playing. no rudy, no mccain now sic willie is auditionign for thomson.

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