Thompson's Last Stand?
Republican candidate stakes his presidential hopes on South Carolina
Republican presidential hopeful former Senator Fred Thompson speaks to a gathering of supporters in South Carolina on January 8, 2008. (Photo courtesy John Dixon)
While voters in New Hampshire were going to the polls, presidential candidate Fred Thompson moved on to one of the next states to vote: South Carolina.
On Tuesday January 8, Thompson arrived in South Carolina well ahead of the other candidates who were still campaigning in New Hampshire. Republicans in South Carolina vote in a primary on January 19. Thompson needs a strong showing, if not an outright win, in South Carolina to improve his chances in the February 5 primaries. Twenty-two states are voting on February 5, which is being called Super Tuesday.
"I need to do very well here," he said of the South Carolina primary. "There's no question about it."
The crowd at Hudson's Smoke House Grill in Lexington cheered as Thompson prepared to speak.
"All of the other candidates are up in New Hampshire braving snow drifts and cold, while I am here in sunny South Carolina," he said. "Who is smart enough to be President?"
This kicked off a speech in which the former Tennessee Senator shared his conservative views and sprinkled in jokes. Despite the humor, Thompson's message was serious.
On the subject of Iraq, Thompson declared that the media is ignoring the good news coming from the war-torn country. He also cautioned the American people that the battle is not confined to Iraq. He named Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran as other fronts in the war on terror.
He talked about his work in the Senate and the role he played as the Republican floor manager for Homeland Security legislation.
"I like to think that's had something to do with keeping the country safe the past few years," he said.
Thompson pledged to stay in the Palmetto State through the January 19 primary. The stop in Lexington was part of his 10-day bus tour through the state.
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John Dixon is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.