Saturday, September 15, 2007

Admitting Ignorance Is Admirable

But not when the questions concern policy and you're running for president of the United States. Jonathan Martin reports on Fred Thompson's visit to the Sunshine State:

Taping a television interview for a Tampa-area news channel after his appearance at the Villages, a still-sweaty Thompson offered little when asked two questions by the St. Petersburg Times’s Adam C. Smith that nearly every presidential candidate who has touched down on Florida soil this year has faced—property insurance and Terri Schiavo.

He effectively punted on both, saying that he knew that the hurricane-induced insurance crunch is “an issue,” but that he didn’t “know enough about it yet.”

The matter of whether Congress was right to intervene to save the life of Schiavo was even worse, as Thompson said didn’t “know all the facts surrounding that case.”

“That's going back in history,” he added of the 2005 controversy, forcing his campaign to later plead with the Associated Press to change their characterization of Thompson’s answer from not having an opinion to not offering one.

Ryan Sager elaborates:

"Local matters generally speaking should be left to the locals," he told the Times. "I think Congress has got an awful lot to keep up with. ... I don't know all the facts surrounding that case, I can't pass judgment on it. I know that good people were doing what they thought was best. ... That's going back in history. I don't remember the details of it". . . .

On the way to the next location, I asked the Thompson campaign to clarify. A campaign spokesman, Jeff Sadosky, offered this: "While he believes in the sanctity of life, he also believes that it was a decision for the family to make under state law, so there was no role for the federal government to play." Later, on the bus, he added: "Congress has better things to do with their time."