The Campaign Spot

Fred on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Talking Bad Roles, the Debates, and Iran

Fred Thompson, sharing laughs with Jay Leno last night:

JAY LENO: Yeah, that pretty much sealed your acting. Let me ask you some — because before you really get into this, Ronald Reagan had “Bedtime for Bonzo.” That was his worst film, and they use that everywhere. Is there any film we should know about? Because I will find it. (Laughter)
JAY LENO: I know you’ve played a lot of roles. Is there anything out there that you want to say, “I shouldn’t have done this one acting scene.”
FRED THOMPSON: Well, you’re asking me is there anything out there that you should know about. The answer to that is no, you should not know about it.

I was a little surprised that Thompson said the current debates are “denigrating the office of the job”, although after watching some of these moderator’s questions, I think I get his point:

JAY LENO: No, no. Are you surprised by these (inaudible) — let me ask you this. Do you think people are maybe more disenchanted with what’s running and that’s why you’re rising? Do you think it’s you? Because we don’t really know where you — people know you, but are not familiar with your position.

FRED THOMPSON: Yeah. A lot of time and a lot of different ways and a lot of different outlets to get your views out and get yourself out. I plan to build myself with them if I go ahead and take the next step. I get some benefit for not having, you know, been one of the ten people, you know, standing — sitting there, standing there at the debates, raising your hand, all the other things that kind of denigrate the office of the job, so I recognize that. But on the other hand, I’ve been around for a while. I think people have a pretty good feel for who I am. They might not always agree with me, but I think they know that I’m a fellow at the stage in my life now where I think about my country. I think about the kind of country my kids are going to grow up in. (Applause)

Jay hit Fred with a pretty serious question, one that’s kind of difficult to answer in less than a minute before the Tonight Show audience:

JAY LENO: All right. I want to ask you something. This is a subject that just came out this week, and it’s even hard to write a joke about it. Leiberman wants to consider military actions against Iran. For a lot of Americans this is, like, wow. I mean, what do you make of this?
FRED THOMPSON: I heard that he had made some statement along those lines. I didn’t see what he said. Leiberman is a true statesman. He was my Democratic counterpart when I was chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. We did a lot of work together, and he’s a very good man. And one thing I know is that he’s always doing what he thinks is best for his country. Iran is a difficult problem, and you have to have all the facts before you make a final decision about them. We’ve got a lot friends among the Iranian people. The Iranian economy is in bad shape. If we handle it right and use our intelligence services and our propaganda possibilities correctly, part of that problem might take care of itself. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves on

that. (Applause)

And a bit more on Iran, a moment later:

JAY LENO: So if we handle this differently, you say we would be in a different position with them?

FRED THOMPSON: Well, I’m not doubt — we could have some things better. There’s no question about that. But, you know, they have the Iranian guard there. They have a way to suppress people there. And there’s a lot of conflicts where people are killing Iranian guards around the country. But it’s a tough situation. It could cause a revolution is what we’re talking about.
JAY LENO: Right.
FRED THOMPSON: Because it happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t.
JAY LENO: Okay. Well, listen, come back when you know what’s going on.
FRED THOMPSON: Well, I’ve finagled a second invitation here.

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