Monday, July 23, 2007

Fred Thompson Update

Fred Thompson, Mark Corallo and Ed Gillespie, 2007

Why are Christian conservatives so eager to embrace Fred Thompson, who once lobbied to overturn the domestic gag rule? The answer's complicated, but plausible (hat tip to Soren Dayton): neither Thompson nor Rudy, who's been the consistent Republican front-runner, is a reliable social conservative. But if Thompson wins the nomination, then evangelicals will be able to claim victory. If Rudy wins, they lose their kingmaker status.

The latest hires: HSP for direct mail, Rich Galen and Linda Rozett for communications, and Bill Wichterman and Joe Cella for religious outreach.

Of Thompson's aforesaid lobbying stint, the National Review editors reflect that "Pro-lifers should . . . treat this episode as a regrettable bit of ancient history," because Thompson seems to have changed his mind about abortion. "But the picture is cloudier than it should be, because Thompson has been less than forthcoming about the evolution of his views."

Since 2003, Thompson's PAC has paid his son $176,000 for doing "next to nothing," reports Dick Morris.

Update (7/24): Campaign manager Tom Collamore has resigned, to be replaced by former senator and former energy secretary Spencer Abraham as chairman, and Randy Enwright, a former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa and the Republican Party of Florida, as the day-to-day manager.

Also, Stephen Rodrick of NY Magazine is the latest journo to accompany Thompson on the trail.

Update (7/25): JT Mastranadi, who less than two weeks ago was brought on as research director, resigned this morning. According to a friend, Mastranadi was "fed up" with the "lack of structure" and was unclear about his role in the coming campaign.