Fred Thompson's Abortion Lobbying Won't Fly with Theocons
By Rogers Cadenhead
Monday, July 09, 2007 at 09:35 AM
If you need more proof that Fred Thompson worked as an abortion rights lobbyist in 1991, look no further than the answer he gave this weekend to a reporter's question. "I'd just say the flies get bigger in the summertime," Thompson said. "I guess the flies are buzzing."This bit of nonsense from Thompson demonstrates what should be obvious, given the multiple-sourced story in Saturday's Los Angeles Times: His 20-year lobbyist career includes one job for the pro-choice National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, where he was paid to persuade the first Bush administration to ease a gag rule that prevented health clinics that receive federal funds from suggesting abortion as an option to their clients.
Thompson, a likely presidential candidate, knew the question was coming. He could have strongly denied the story, which has the potential to torpedo his candidacy with social conservatives, a group desparate for an anti-abortion candidate they can trust.
Instead, he gave a weird non-denial that shows he's afraid more evidence might surface that makes a liar out of him.
There are already five people and one document that support the abortion lobbying claim.
Judith DeSarno, the reproductive association's president in 1991, said that she hired Thompson and he lobbied the White House for several months, telling her he met with Chief of Staff John H. Sununu.
She provided the Times with the minutes of a Sept. 14, 1991 meeting where she told the group's board about his hiring. The document states, "Judy reported that the association had hired Fred Thompson Esq. as counsel to aid us in discussions with the administration."
Former Democratic Congressman Michael D. Barnes, who worked with Thompson at the same lobbying and law firm in 1991, remembers him doing the work. "I talked to him while he was doing it, and I talked to [DeSarno] about the fact that she was very pleased with the work that he was doing for her organization," he told the Times. "I have strong, total recollection of that. This is not something I dreamed up or she dreamed up. This is fact."
The Times found three other people who recall Thompson's work for the family group: Board member Susan Cohen, Planned Parenthood Federation of America director Bill Hamilton, and the family group's director of government relations Sarah L. Szanton.
All Thompson has to show otherwise are an official denial from his spokesperson and Sununu, who says he does not recall meeting with him about the gag rule.
Although there are some attempts to spin this story as a vast left-wing conspiracy, it appears that Thompson's another Republican who committed the cardinal sin of being a moderate in the past on the issue of abortion. Either that, or he just took the job for the money.
Neither possibility will help him with Republican voters who believe that GOP stands for "God's Own Party."
In 1996, his comments speak volumes. He praised Powell's pro choice speech as "close to perfection". He went on to state that abortion isn't important to the platform.
``I don't think a platform means much. Never has,'' said Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn. ``We've got some differences in this party, but we're putting those differences aside for the one big thing we agree on: that Dole ought to beat Clinton.''
I'll believe it when an actual billing document, paid invoice, canceled check, money transfer, IRS statement or something else to reflect they actually paid him a sum of money from their coffers.
Otherwise, their "recollections" are about as vaild as ...."I did not have sexual relations"
Of course the good side of that is, if they can come up with those documents, then they can get Fred for tax evasion as well.
Has everyone forgot that on June 2, 2007 Thompson told a Republican Gala in Virginia that he did not think abortion should be criminalized? That creates a hole in his conservative base big enough to drive a red pickup through!