Thompson Takes Aim at 2nd Place, Democrats
Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
AMES, Iowa - A more fired-up Fred Thompson said yesterday he needs to finish second in Iowa's caucuses this week, and he went on the attack, accusing Democratic leaders of having let their party be hijacked by liberal interest groups.
Campaigning heavily here over the past two weeks, Mr. Thompson has refined his message and yesterday released a 15-minute Web video laying out his qualifications and telling voters they need to pick a Republican nominee who is willing to call out Democratic leaders for abandoning their principles.
"They're all NEA, MoveOn.org, ACLU, Michael Moore Democrats," Mr. Thompson charges in the video, which is on his campaign Web site. "They've allowed these radicals to take control of the party and dictate their course."
He said that gives Republicans a chance to recapture independents and "good Democrats" who agree their party has been hijacked, but he said Republicans must choose someone capable of making that case.
The former Tennessee senator is in the middle of a two-week, 50-stop tour in Iowa trying to gain momentum as the polls show the race tightening. Former front-runner Mike Huckabee has slid back into a tie with Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, for the lead in Iowa, while polls show Mr. Thompson vying with Sen. John McCain of Arizona for third.
Mr. Thompson told reporters at a stop in Ames that he needs to finish second, though he refused to speculate what would happen if he doesn't meet that goal. Later, speaking to supporters in Webster City, he said, "People say, 'You'd be satisfied with a good third-place finish' - No, no, no."
Mr. Huckabee, having seen his lead build and then evaporate over the past month, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he has suffered from attacks by Mr. Romney, who has questioned Mr. Huckabee's record as Arkansas governor on taxes, crime and immigration.
Mr. Huckabee also found himself defending past comments on homosexuality as "aberrant" behavior and his admonition to Christians to "take this nation back for Christ." He said he didn't mean to compare homosexuality to sadomasochism and pedophilia when he mentioned them together in his 1998 book, though he told NBC "all of these are deviations from what has been the traditional concept of sexual behavior."
He also said the Christ remark was to a Christian audience and "certainly that would be appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists."
For his part Mr. McCain, who is making his big stand in New Hampshire, signaled he hasn't given up on trying to make a surprise good showing in Iowa. …