Californian's Take On Fred Thompson

Arthur Bruzzone

September 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca --- There's something very real about Hillary Clinton.  She's no facsimile. Not a look-alike. Among her competitors for the Democrat Party nomination, only she strikes fear and admiration in a way that's thoroughly her's. 

Now Fred Thompson, he's another story.  I can't find his niche.  About his competitors, some word association: Rudy Giuliani, 911, John McCain, war hero, Mitt Romney,  governor of Massachusetts, and yes, Mormon, Duncan Hunter, Marine, Ron Paul, Ron Paul.

But Fred Thompson?  First let's examine his film roles:  CIA Director Marshall in "No Way Out,." President Ulysses S. Grant in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," President Charles Ross in "Last Best Chance", Prosecutor Mr. McGonigal in "Matlock: The Juror", and, of course, District Attorney Arthur Branch in "Law and Order". Who is this guy?

At his kickoff on the Jay Leno's "Tonight Show", Thompson was calm and direct.  I predicted his answers to each of Leno's questions. That's a bad sign.  Passion was missing. Business-like, he was.  That makes his candidacy all the more intriguing.

I judge a presidential candidate by how well he or she may do in the first televised debate.  We presume that Hillary Clinton will be the Dem's choice.  I predict that the first and crucial debate will resemble the "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaire.

Foreman had won 37 of his 40 bouts by knockout, most within three rounds, with Foreman's eight previous bouts failing to beyond the second round. Ali saw an opportunity to outlast Foreman, and capitalized on it.  After a furious first round, where Ali tried to knock-out Foreman, Ali retreated to the ropes inviting Foreman to hit him, while counterpunching and verbally taunting Foreman. Ali's plan was to rattle Foreman and absorb his best blows to exhaust him mentally and physically.

In that first debate, Hillary Clinton will be taunt, fiery, deliberate and strident. She'll try to capitalize on the intense contempt many of her supporters have for the GOP.   This is where Thompson's lay back style will be valuable.  Thompson will be the same 'character' that appeared on the Leno program.  He'll show the the directness of a CIA director, the presidential self-confidence of President Grant, and the unflappability of District Attorney Arthur Branch. At the end of the debate, Hillary Clinton's supporters will be proud of her.  While Fred Thompson's will draw in a host of new independent voters along with most Republicans.  So, Hillary has less to lose and to gain.  The contest will be Thompson's to win or lose.  That is if he's the nominee.

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