Some fascinating stuff from my latest talk with a Thompson Associate.
The talk in other publications of “August” and “September” announcement dates are “blather… It comes from people on the outside who don’t know what’s going on, so they’re filling in the blanks. The dates we’ve discussed internally are on track… We’re already in mid-July, so obviously we’re looking at August.” When I mentioned that it’s the traditional vacation month, and unclear that Americans would be paying attention to the news, this associate concurred, then added, “We’re trying to figure out what is the best approach. It’s less about the externals than going when we’re ready to go.”
[The end result is I have no idea when Thompson will announce his candidacy, after previously thinking, based on previous conversations with Team Thompson, mid to late July. My guess is that the answer is, ‘when they’re ready.’]
This associate noted the high expectations, saying, “The bar for Fred Thompson’s announcement is higher than it would be for an ordinary candidate.”
On the meeting with the firefighters’ union head on Friday, the timing was, for the Thompson campaign, an unfortunate coincidence and the associate said no jab at Giuliani should be interpreted.
Former New York Senator Alphonse D’Amato was helping set up meetings for Thompson with various movers and shakers in New York, and Cassidy was on the list. (Another meeting was with Mike Long, head of New York’s Conservative Party.)
I wondered aloud if the International Association of Fire Fighters, knowing that Thompson was meeting with Cassidy that day, tried to stir up trouble by timing the release of the video on the day before Thompson’s meeting. The associate discouraged my suspicious mind, and said that he wouldn’t infer any bad intentions on Cassidy’s part.
I asked if there was any reaction to McCain’s troubles, such as whether his shedding of staff might provide a recruitment opportunity or two. “It’s not something we’re really thinking about,” the associate replied.