It is hard to live up to the hype when so many people are expecting so much ... and to be fair to Fred Thompson I certainly had heard the hype and watched the excitement and seen the polls. By the time he came out on stage at the "Defending the American Dream" summit, I think I was expecting a rock star.
The stage was surrounded by cameras and it looked as if a celebrity was arriving. I am familiar with Fred Thompson as a senator from Tennessee ... but I have never seen "Law and Order," the TV show he starred in for a number of years. He and his wife Jeri walked out and waved to the standing, cheering crowd, and then Jeri exited the stage.
Thompson began by thanking everyone for the wonderful reception and joked, "Welcome to Washington. My first time in DC, as a newly elected senator, I made a big mistake. I accidentally spent some of my own money," to much laughter and applause.
He then talked about the issues that he felt were important to the country -- lower taxes to encourge peopel to work, dropping the corporate rate to 28% -- and he urged the simplification of the tax code which he said is the least efficient in the world.
He talked about his first run for the senate in Tennessee against a long-time democrat incumbent; he was down by 20% but worked hard and won by 20% -- both times that he ran -- and then left public service due to self-imposed term limits.
Besides being an actor on "Law and Order," Thompson is a lawyer who has worked in DC not only as a senator but as a staffer and a lobbyist. He is familiar with the way DC works which is good for a conservative going to the White House.
The American Thinker reported that, after a recent Thompson speech in Iowa a member of the audience called out, "Kill the terrorists, secure the border, and give me back my freedom." Thompson replied, "You just summed up my whole speech." Those are the issues that are important to most conservative voters.
Fred Thompson has been touted as the best conservative candidate in the top-runners. Perhaps talking about national security and defense brings out more of the passion in him.
I appreciated that he was willing to step to the plate last week and publicly defend Rush Limbaugh against the phony "phony soldier" attacks from the libs. It showed loyalty.
Thompson's delivery was not dynamic; guess I was expecting the actor in him to "act" like a President. But sincerity and leadership qualities go much further with me than dynamics. While he seemed a little off his game in the big session, he appeared to feel at home afterwards in the standing-room only group of Virginians. Introduced by Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Thompson received a rowdy welcome with a standing ovation from the 350 grassroots Virginia activists. He joked and fit in with the group who were appreciative to have him address their lunch session.
Winston Churchill was a poor speaker ... but he became a world leader who worked to save the world from communism. Leadership does not always come in good looks or firey speeches ... and that is what I am reminded of when it comes to Fred Thompson.
Speculation is already out there as to whether Bob McDonnell will endorse Fred Thompson especially since the other Presidential candidates have received backing from top state leaders: Bolling is backing Mitt Romney, Kilgore is backing Rudy Giuliani, John Warner is backing John McCain. Time will tell but I'm thinking the chances are good that he will.
Fred Thompson is a strong contender on my short list of candidates.
View Fred Thompson's speech here.
More to come....