Fred Thompson's senate papers suggest he's not rightwing





Fred Thompson has a gift for knowing just what to say to anyone, in any situation. In 1998, when Thompson was a Republican senator and a single man about town, New York socialite Georgette Mosbacher invited him to accompany her on an overseas trip. Thompson couldn't go, and summoned the full measure of his Tennessee charm in letting her down. "I am sitting here with a long face and broken heart as I contemplate sunsets on the Mediterranean, which I will not see," he wrote to Mosbacher on his official Senate stationery. "We must remember the unspoken vow that all United States senators take upon entering the Senate: I shall have no money, and I shall have no fun. I, of course regarding myself as an unconquerable soul, am still determined to break the second part of that vow."...

Intimate correspondence like this usually doesn't see light until long after a politician is dead and gone, or at least done with politics for good. Thompson apparently believed he had forever traded Washington for Hollywood when he agreed to put his eight years of Senate records, including personal correspondence, in a public archive at the University of Tennessee. The papers, which have gone largely unnoticed, offer an unusual glimpse at his life as a Washington fixture, and clues about how he might lead as a president—hints that might not please conservative voters who are intrigued by him but who know little about him....

Thompson was more moderate on abortion than most Republican candidates. In his archive, there are several files on Thompson's campaign strategy on the subject that could roil his 2008 bid. The records include multiple surveys from the Christian Coalition and other groups in which he took positions that could be viewed as supporting abortion rights.


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