Bill Lacey, Fred Thompson’s campaign manager, opened by saying that the debate takes place this afternoon but will be aired tonight.
The Fred File will liveblog.
Regarding the campaign, they’re very happy with the financial support they have received since Fred announced last month. The campaign aims to instill financial discipline and Fred’s been moving up in the polls.
For tonight’s debate, Fred probably won’t be getting credit from the media. He doesn’t need to be dominant, instead, he will make a good, strong appearance. His message is that he’s an authentic conservative, focused on taxes, government waste and reform, fighting terrorism, and immigration. This debate will focus on economic issues.
My question: What does Fred consider the determining issue of the 2008 election?
BL: He can’t speak for Fred personally but the campaign sees it as not a specific issue but a matter of leadership: the Republican party is at a crossroads and Fred opts for Reagan conservatism. If Bill had to pick one issue, it’d be government reform.
Matt Lewis Townhall.com: What have Friends of Fred & the campaign done on preparation, and have they practiced debating at night?
BL: Yes – Fred was a really successful trial lawyer and knows how to prepare himself probably more than the other candidates.
Dave Brody, CBN: Will Fred go against Giuliani and Romney?
Not so much. For now it’s incumbent to define him first as an authentic conservative – that’s what he wants to get across tonight, adding more substance as they go along.
Erick Erickson Red State: Any thoughts on Chris Matthews as moderator, after he had been calling the Bush administration a bunch of criminals last Thursday?
BL: There’s nothing you can do about it, as the media shows a tendency to be biased, but we go forth.
John Hawkins, Right Wing News: The campaign has had questions on fundraising both ways, too much and too little. How much have they raised, and what to expect for the 4th quarter?
BL: They’re extremely pleased with the 3rd quarter when they raised close to $5million, or $200,000/day. At the grassroots level, people are very seriously interested. The campaign is focused on their cash position and how to bring and communicate Fred’s message to the voters.
Norm Healy, Sic Semper Tiranus (sorry, no link): What is Fred’s position on ethanol?
BL will check on that but In Iowa Fred supported ethanol but didn’t change his mind on subsidies.
Brian, Blogs for Fred Thompson: Do the Christians support Fred?
BL: Fred has a lot of continued support and will continue to make his case. Fred’s point is that he has a set of principles and a set of beliefs and you will know where he stands. He makes a principled stand.
Fred is getting very large crowds, while the media’s surprised about the reception he gets. The challenge is to do really well in the caucuses so he’ll do well in South Carolina.
John Hawkins: As Hawkins sees it the strategy looks as follows: Romney hopes to win in Iowa and New Hampshire, Rudy on SuperTuesday, and Fred to do well in caucuses?
BL: Fred’s campaign wants to build a strategic build-up so they remain part of the voters’ equation by the time they get to South Carolina, making sure they go into South Carolina being viewed as a strong candidate.
Rick Moran, Right Wing Nuthouse: Will there be no supreme effort?
BL: They will make a big effort in the early states and build from there.
Red State again: How about tonight?
BL: We plan to show how well Fred’s prepared, and show Fred as a candidate of substance.
The biggest challenge of the campaign is that there are so many outlets.
Jim Garrity, The Corner:
You mentioned the difficulty of standing out on a stage with eight other candidates. When should these debates get narrowed down to the candidates who are above two percent?
BL: Something like that would make a lot of sense. I’m not sure what the threshold ought to be, but it is difficult for any candidate to make an impression when you’ve got nine guys on the stage. A threshold would be fine. I don’t think even think that’s the biggest problem. We want to be involved with as many debates as possible, but there are so many out there. You literally can’t do all of them. People get criticized for doing some and not others. It would be nice once we get through this process, for somebody to look and instill a little order… right now, having this many debates is not in the candidates’ or party’s best interest.
Frank Jay IMAO: How does Fred like the SNL skit?
BL: Bill’s missed it but Fred thinks Hammond does a pretty good job.
Steven Smith from New Hampshire: Hillary seems to own the Sunday morning talk shows. Will Fred?
BL: Fred will do them eventually, but what he really likes is question and answer sessions with voters in the states. Not happy with spending too little time in New Hampshire.
Matt Lewis: Would they still postpone entry into the campaign?
BL believes that Fred’s decision to go in late had advantages and no negatives, but would have liked more time to prepare. Fred wants a campaign that integrates the message, travel, and so far it has gone extraordinarily well.