Comeback Fred?What Republican insiders and party hacks have long suspected was happening on the ground-namely that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is losing an edge most of us never believed he possessed to begin with-appears to have been confirmed in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Giuliani now stands tied with Mike Huckabee in the national polls with John McCain and Fred Thompson coming in behind the top two.
As I have pointed out before, neither Republican nor Democratic Primary strategists should use national polls as their guidepost for determining strategy this early in the game. The early Primary and Caucus States are notorious for bucking the national polls and picking the candidate that is most popular with their people. One of the biggest ways that any candidate can help bring about a positive turnout for their campaign is to go and meet the people where they are.
In weeks' past, I have been critical of the Fred Thompson campaign (which everyone knows that I support) for not keeping Fred visible in Iowa at a time when he really needs a boost. A good finish in Iowa-third or preferably higher-can keep Fred in the race. As late as this past Sunday on the air with Fabian Story I discussed just how disappointed I have been so far with the Thompson campaign. I haven't been the only one to say that Fred's "handlers" have needed to turn the real Fred loose so that people in Iowa and New Hampshire can get a glimpse of the fired-up version of Fred. In the last few days, we've seen the "real Fred" come out, and it may yield results that few were expecting.
In the wake of a stellar performance at last week's Republican debate in Des Moines, Thompson is rolling across Iowa on the "Clear Conservative Choice-Hands Down" bus tour. He is meeting with folks in out-of-the-way places in little country precincts and small towns all over the Hawkeye State. In earlier appearances on television talk shows, Thompson appeared tired and unenthused-now he looks upbeat, happy, excited, and full of energy. This isn't a new Fred Thompson, but these are shades of the Fred Thompson we know and love-and I would rather see him arrive late than not come to the ball.
Labels: Presidential Election