04/14/2011 07:00 pm ET | Updated Jun 14, 2011

Late Returns: Waiting For Fred Thompson

People wonder more and more if some yet-to-be named candidate will jump in and save the 2012 GOP presidential candidate field from itself.

No one wants to give Mitt Romney a chance, I guess? He believes in America, y'all! (And the individual mandate. Never forget.)

But even if some unknown dark-horse savior contender emerges in this hour of need, will it be of any help? Ed Kilgore says it's not very likely, and recalls what happened when the savior came in the form of Fred Thompson:

Thompson's perceived electability was such that his putative candidacy was a much-awaited event, expected to change the dynamics of the race overnight. And once he finally announced in September of 2007--on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," no less--he won a slew of early endorsements, including the coveted nods from the National Right to Life Committee and Iowa's conservative potentate Steve King.

But it was already becoming clear that he lacked commitment. Even before his appearance on "Leno," there were abundant signs that he wasn't running for president so much as walking--or even riding a golf cart--with abundant stops for rest and ice cream. His first Iowa appearance, in August, was at the Iowa State Fair, a must-do for any candidate and particularly one like Thompson, who had already skipped the official Straw Poll that serves as the major fundraiser for the state GOP. With the eyes of the first-in-the-nation-caucus state on him, Big Fred showed up at the sweaty, extremely informal event sporting Gucci loafers and proceeded to spend the day tooling around the fairgrounds in the aforementioned cart--a very big no-no for anyone who wasn't either disabled or a major Fair donor.

This turned out to be an apt harbinger of Thompson's campaign style.


So for a brief, mad moment today, CNN reported that Donald Trump planned to announce whether he was running or not on the season finale of his reality show, The Apprentice.

Trump himself denied the claim soon after, telling Talk1300, "I can't announce during the show, I really can't...I'm not allowed to...I don't know where it came from."

He doesn't know where it came from? Let me be of assistance, Donald! It came from Michael Cohen. Your senior adviser? The guy who calls up reporters, representing you in this campaign effort? Yeah! That guy. That's who "confirmed" it to CNN. You guys should maybe get on the same page. [New York Observer; CNN]


Apparently, Tim Pawlenty pollster Jon Lerner "privately acknowledged in an email yesterday that Pawlenty has "bad marks" on his record from a conservative point of view." Lerner sent the email to the Club For Growth, for whom he also works, and someone there leaked it to the press, which is always a good sign! (The email was "notably short on giddy enthusiasm." Okay!) [Ben Smith]


Barack Obama is back out on the fundraising trail. Word is it's for some sort of presidential re-election. [First Read]


Marco Rubio has made peace with the fact that reporters are going to ask him, all of the damned time, if he's going to run for president or not. Previously, Rubio had been remarkably sharp in shooting those inquiries down. But eventually they grind you down and drive the fight right out of you. [Roll Call]


Birtherism, Romney edition. Because it hasn't gotten completely exhausting. [Political Wire]

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