Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fred Burnishes His Cultural Conservative Image

On the heels of a prominent evangelical’s claim: “at this moment in time it is Fred Thompson's race to lose,” comes this Newsweek story on Fred’s ability to reach out to the right.

A portion:

U.S. News has learned that [Fred has hired a pair of prominent religious, conservative activists who are] arranging more meetings between Thompson and conservative Christian leaders and have launched a rapid-response operation to fend off attacks on Thompson's conservative credentials… in March… James Dobson told U.S. News he doubted Thompson was really a Christian. But Dobson and Thompson have since talked, with Dobson rumored to be reassessing Thompson. And prominent social conservative Paul Weyrich, who met recently with Thompson and evangelical activists, said the former senator "was in agreement with us on almost everything."

For Thompson, the timing couldn't be better. McCain's campaign is reeling from staff departures and cutbacks, and Giuliani faces fierce opposition from Christian right leaders. So Thompson's team is betting that the GOP primaries will turn into what one adviser calls a "Thompson-Romney duel," since Romney is the one top-tier Republican lobbying hard for evangelical support. "If he gets strong support from evangelicals, Thompson could reshape the race," says the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life's John Green.

What role do Fred's rural roots and the values he grew up with in Lawrenceburg, TN, have in this debate? The area where Thompson grew up is as rock ribbed conservative on cultural issues as any in the nation. Thompson was raised in a community where God, country, family were key priorities. Fred would be in a very distinct minority if he had somehow been immersed in those values only to lose them once he hit the big-time.

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