Iowa Independent fellow and (Carroll) Daily Times Herald reporter and columnist Douglas Burns spent about 15 minutes speaking one-on-one with Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson on his campaign bus outside the Carroll Country Club.
Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee and accomplished actor, discussed the war in Iraq, his own campaign style, criticism of his admitted lack of "type A" personality, his chances against Hillary Clinton in a potential general election match-up and the recently held Des Moines Register GOP debate.
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a Thompson supporter, was present for the full interview, and the presidential hopeful's wife, Jeri, stood in for some of the session aboard a bus bearing the slogan: "Clear conservative choice: Hands down! Bus Tour."
The following is a transcript of the exchange with Thompson.
Iowa Independent: We aren't hearing too much on the war in Iraq from the Democratic side of the presidential race right now. Perhaps they feel it is going well. Do you think at the end of the day the Iraq war becomes a good issue for the Republicans?
Thompson: Yeah, I think it is going well from all those whose opinions I value who have come back from over there. We have very close friends of ours who have kids over there who have re-upped and we get reports back from them from time to time and things are going on the provinces, just something that hasn't been going on before.
We saw some of these atrocities I think in the last day or two day, al Qaeda torch hospitals or whatever they call them. That's indicative of what's been happening out there and people are sick and tired of it. And they're coming to our side. Some of the Sunni leadership is coming to our side.
They're reaching some arrangements at the local level that has not yet made its way to the politicians in Baghdad.
And that needs to happen but it doesn't mean a lot of good things aren't happening. Violence is down. Car bombings are down. Ramadan was much more peaceful than it has been in a long, long time.
So all indications are good. I was amazed the other night at the Iowa debate when they took Iraq and immigration off the table to start with.
I said to myself, if there had been some bad news out of Iraq it wouldn't have been off the table.
Iowa Independent: Was that last Des Moines Register debate at Iowa Public Television the worst-run debate you've ever been involved with, senator?
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