Add to My Yahoo!

Gloves off! Romney, sort of, welcomes Thompson to race
Jason Rhyne
Published: Tuesday September 4, 2007

Print This  Email This

As Fred Thompson gears up for his official entry into the 2008 presidential race, rival-to-be Mitt Romney is taking some early shots at the former Tennessee senator’s comparatively late arrival to this election cycle’s early campaigning.

"We all get the chance to go on the talk shows,” Romney said in an interview with the Associated Press, referring to Thompson’s planned formal announcement of his candidacy on Wednesday evening’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno. ”But it's not the sort of questions you get in the debates or the town meetings that I've had,” he added.

Romney will be among other Republican candidates at a Wednesday night debate held in Durham, New Hampshire, as Thompson heads to Los Angeles to tape Leno’s program. “I think it will boost the ratings for Jay Leno’s show, but I’d rather be doing well in New Hampshire,” Romney told reporters on Monday, according to the AP.

Zeroing in on Thompson’s delayed official announcement, Romney jabbed “Well, I guess the only comment I'd make to Fred Thompson would be: Why the hurry?” and later added “We’re going to presumably have some debates with him. We’ll have had five without him."

Fred Thompson’s campaign, which has hired three communications directors in the run-up to the candidate’s announcement, is acknowledging some mistakes, according to a report today by The Examiner.

“I would certainly acknowledge that expectations are high, but I don’t agree with the idea that we have to go out and be perfect,” Thompson spokesman Todd Harris, told the paper. “You know we’re going to make mistakes--I’ll say it right now.”

Harris went on to say that “the most important thing for us is making sure that every day we’re taking steps forward. That doesn’t mean that everything will be calm, but we have to be moving in the right direction every day.”

Responding to criticism of Thompson missing debates participated in by other candidates, Harris told The Examiner that “[t]here have been a million debates already and there are going to be a million more. And people are going to see Fred Thompson out there, mixing it up with the other candidates...They are going to see months and months and months of that.”

As to tomorrow’s Leno appearance, Harris said “it makes a lot of sense,” adding it would reach “everyday normal Americans who don’t live in [Washington D.C.'s] 202 area code.”