Talked to one of the Thompson Associates.
On the Family Research Council Summit Straw Poll, in which Fred finished fourth with under 10 percent: “We didn’t play, we never mobilized online, we didn’t do anything… We didn’t transport people in, we didn’t try to stuff the ballot. This is part of an overall strategy put forth by [campaign manager]Bill [Lacy]. If you participate in one, they expect you to participate in all of the straw polls. If we’re not going to partipate in one, we can’t participate in another one. We’ve got a fairly good online presence, and we could have ginned something up if we had wanted to. By all accounts, Huckabee electrified the room, and we kind of expected that. Fred did what he needed to do, which was get a little more personal, and talk about where he was coming from.”
On support in the religious conservative community: “While everybody’s talking about these semi-obscure religious leaders who are endorsing Romney, I’d ask, where are the big three right now? I’d say the big three are Gary Bauer [president of American Values], Tony Perkins [president of the Family Research Council], and Richard Land [president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the policy wing of the Southern Baptist Convention] … Perkins hosted a fundraiser for us in Louisiana, and Bauer and Land have been helpful to Fred. Jeri speaks with all of them to some degree, and they all speak to Fred.”
On last night’s debate: “He’s getting more comfortable. He hasn’t been wasting his time – everybody thinks he’s doing nothing during his downtime. He’s not, he’s studying and prepping and he’s doing what he needs to do. When he’s joked about being slow, he’s being self-depricating. People talk about the ‘um’s when he speaks – well, that’s who he is and how he does stuff.”
“The fact that neither Romney nor Giuliani can really address their records going back to 1994 is rather telling. Fred and McCain are in the best position to push back on these guys… Right now, I’m just not sure that manager-in-chief or executive-in-chief is what the public wants. Clearly, they want somebody who can take it to Hillary.”
On Huckabee: “Huckabee can make life difficult for our people in the South – if he builds up his network. We aren’t discounting him, but at this point, we’re not discounting anyone. You can’t do that at this point. But we’re goinna be okay in Florida and South Carolina.”
I’ve been told to keep my eye open for a possible endorsement of Fred from a Florida figure that should help him in that state. I don’t think it’s Jeb Bush.