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A hard look at Fred's troubles on the trail

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 8, 2008 01:02 PM

I know I’ve got a lot of readers who support Fred Thompson. You know that I’m not incredibly enthusiastic about any one of the GOP candidates. So, don’t bite my head off when I point out to you that it’s not just the liberal media who are reporting on Fred’s troubles on the campaign trail. What happened with Fred’s campaign in Delaware (which votes on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5)–or rather, what didn’t happen–embodies Fredinertia. Let’s take a closer look.

First, here’s an interesting comment at conservative stalwart Patterico’s site from a few days’ ago about the Delaware debacle that shows the lack of basic organization plaguing the campaign:

Unfortunately, Mr Thompson has run a campaign that’s a joke. Oh, sure, he’s got all of the positive attributes our host mentioned, but it’s almost as though he thought he could put all of his position points on the internet and then everybody would just then flock to the polls to vote for him.

Perhaps this will seem like a little thing to a lot of people, but to me it demonstrates something larger. In the small state of Delaware, it requires only 500 signatures of registered Republicans to get on the Republican primary ballot. His campaign staff, which made plenty of calls asking for money, declined the volunteer help of a GOP worker, a man who has done the grunt work of canvassing neighborhoods for candidates, and then fell short, very short, of the 500 signatures needed.

That campaign worker didn’t sign the petition, because the only place he could have signed it was at Thompson headquarters in Wilmington; he’d have had to have driven to HQ to sign it.

Out of 178,000 registered Republicans in Delaware, the Thompson campaign got less than 300 valid signatures.

Another Thompson campaign story: In Iowa (a rather important state at the moment), a conservative blogger who was important enough to land a one-on-one interview with Mike Huckabee, but had still come out in support of Mr Thompson, was notified by the campaign (via e-mail) of a Thompson appearance in his home town of Ottumwa just six hours before the appearance.

Unlike the governors running, Mr Thompson has very little experience in actually running anything that we can see; about his only managerial experience is in his own campaign. And, quite frankly, in that one job, he has done very poorly.

If the man can’t even run his own campaign well (or find good managers to whom to delegate responsibility), why should we have any confidence that he’ll be able to run the government of the United States?

Comment by Dana — 1/2/2008 @ 5:17 am

Good question.

Delaware Grapewine shared details from disappointed Fredheads last month:

Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign, which has a reputation for being lackadaisical, gave that image a mighty boost this week in Delaware.

It was heavy lifting by inertia. Just perfect.

Thompson, a Republican probably better known for his television and movie roles than his tenure as a Tennessee senator, was trying to get on the ballot for the presidential primary here. He needed 500 signatures from Republican voters by Monday afternoon to make it.

His operation ended up only 209 signatures short. It came cantering into the Elections Department in Dover about 10 minutes before the deadline with petitions that appeared to be in order, but they were honeycombed with signatures that did not count because they were not from Republicans. “A lot of independent voters, unaffiliated,” said Paul Baldwin of the Elections Department. There are more than 178,000 Republican voters in Delaware, and Thompson’s campaign could not find 500 of them. He was ruled out of the primary.

The actor could not get his act together.

The setback frustrated some local Republicans who favored Thompson — or more precisely, added to their frustration. Chief among them were Everett Moore, who was the Republican state chair from 2001 to 2003, and John Feroce, who ran for the state Senate in 2006. Independent of one another, they had contacted the campaign during its lurch of a launch last summer. Thompson probably could not have asked for better backing here. Moore, a Georgetown lawyer, is an experienced political hand who still commands respect in the party and especially in Sussex County, where Thompson could have been a fit for its conservative politics. Feroce, who was a Rhode Island legislator before moving to Middletown, is a former Army Reserves major with operational know-how. Each got nowhere.

“I had talked to the campaign very early on, and after two or three conversations, it died. It was just a total drop,” Moore said.

“It just never happened. It speaks really to the top of the organization, not anything in Delaware,” Feroce said.

Jason Bonham has more.

Lesson: If and when the Fred campaign finally calls it quits, there will be no one to blame but the candidate and his top advisers who blew it with spurned diehards ready and willing–but unable–to help.

***

Question: Is Fred helping Huckabee by staying in the race?

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