When I was a kid I loved Mad Magazine. One of my favorite features was how they used to truncate really bad reviews of movies and books to make them sound glorious. Well, Fred’s getting the same treatment from the MSM, only in reverse.
“I’m not particularly interested in running for president,” the former senator said at a campaign event in Burlington when challenged by a voter over his desire to be commander-in-chief.
“But I think I’d make a good president,” Thompson continued. “I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I’m doing it for the right reasons.”
Here’s the full transcript of what Fred actually said, which his people posted at Fred file:
[THIS IS A BEST-EFFORT TRANSCRIPT OF THE SPECIFIC QUESTION AND ANSWER]
Q: My only problem with you and why I haven’t thrown all my support behind you is that I don’t know if you have the desire to be President. If I caucus for you next week, are you still going to be there two months from now?
…In the first place I got in the race about the time people normally get into it historically. The fact of the matter is that others started the process a lot earlier this time than they normally do. I think it was for some of them when they were juniors in high school.
That is a very good question, not because it’s difficult to answer, because, but I’m gonna answer it in a little different way than what you might expect.
In the first place, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this if i didn’t. I grew up very modest circumstances. I left government, I and my family have made sacrifices for me to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I’m doing this. I figure that to be clean you’ve got to cut everything off. And I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a tv show, I had a contract with abc radio like I was talking about earlier and so forth. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing at all if he didn’t want to do it.
But I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president that they can have.
When this talk first started, it didn’t originate with me. There were a lot of people around the country both directly and through polls, liked the idea of me stepping up. And of course, you always look better at a distance, I guess.
But most of those people are still there and think its a good idea. But I approached it from the standpoint of a deal. A kind of a marriage. If one side of a marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, it probably ain’t going to be a very good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing. In this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, then you have an opportunity to do some wonderful things together.
I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that I have the background, the capability, and the concern to do this and I’m doing it for the right reasons. But I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president.
Nowadays, the process has become much more important than it used to be.
I don’t know that they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don’t know that they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. But nowadays, it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure in the world we live in today it’s a terribly good thing if a president has too much fire in the belly. I approach life differently than a lot of people. People, I guess, wonder how I’ve been as successful as I’ve been in everything I’ve done. I won two races in TN by 20 point margins, a state that Bill Clinton carried twice. I’d never run for office before. I’ve never had an acting lesson and I guess that’s obvious by people who’ve watched me. But when they made a movie about a case that I had when I took on a corrupt state administration as a lawyer and beat them before a jury. They made a movie about it and I wound up playing myself in the movie and yeah I can do that.
And when I did it, I did it. Wasn’t just a lark. Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing well. But I’ve always been a little bit more laid back than most. I like to say that I’m only consumed by very, very few things and politics is not one of them. The welfare of our country and our kids and grandkids is one of them.
If people really want in their president a super type-a personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about for years how they could achieve the Presidency of the United States, someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning, I ain’t that guy. So I hope I’ve discussed that and hope I haven’t talked you out of anything. I honestly want – I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances than achieving the presidency under false pretenses. I go out of my way to be myself because I do’t want anybody to think they are getting something they are not getting. I’m not consumed by this process I’m not consumed with the notion of being President. I’m simply saying I’m willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it if I’m in sync with the people and if the people want me or somebody like me. I’ll do what I’ve always done in the rest of my life and I will take it on and do a good job and you’ll have the disadvantage of having someone who probably can’t jump up and click their heels three times but will tell you the truth and you’ll know where the President stands at all times.
Maybe once USA Today and CNN graduate from Mad Magazine Journalism School they’ll start reporting on candidates who actually answer questions, instead of those who don’t take any questions at all.
That is, if their reporters actually get to the venue where the words were spoken. As Fred noticed,
Incidentally, the audience in Burlington broke into applause in the middle of my answer. The reporter wouldn’t know that because she wasn’t even there.
BTW, I’m undecided on which candidate to support.
This week’s WSJ’s Five best: “Cold War classics for an age of a resurgent Russia” chosen by Ernest Lefever:
and “The True Believer” by Erich Hoffer (Harper & Row, 1951).
Steve Madden Women’s Deedrah D’Orsay Pump in silver, to ring in the New Year:
Pat’s got Carnival of the Insanities.