On Monday night’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel, former Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson, a 2008 candidate for president, threw his hat in the ring for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Thompson first explained what his criteria were in making his decision.
“The way I view the strength of these candidates had to do with the way I view the status and direction of our government,” Thompson said. “We’re in deep trouble. I probably think, I think that probably we are in greater trouble than most people do. Even these numbers that are coming out of Washington that look so bleak are understated.”
“I think we’re at a tipping point in this country,” he said. As far as that tipping point, Thompson described some of the things that might trouble the country in the future.
“There are going to be more people in the wagons soon than are pulling the wagon,” he predicted. “I think we’re there. Almost half the people are the recipient of some federal program. Almost half the people pay no federal income tax. I think this president is taking us down the road of a genuine welfare state full-fledged, even when we have the example of Europe to teach us and guide us. And I think the American people see what is going on there, see what’s going on in their own country.”
Thus, Thompson said, he was supporting Gingrich because he considered him the best at communicating what was important to Thompson.
“Newt Gingrich is the guy who can articulate what America is all about, American exceptionalism, can make the case and not just read the talking points or do it off the teleprompter, can make the case for free markets and our basic case that lower taxes can be good for everybody, and bring about growth, it’s good for everybody,” Thompson said.
“He is not afraid and he is tough,” said Thompson. “And he is experienced. I don’t think any more it’s an advantage to be able to say ‘I know nothing about the operation of the federal government.’ I know something about it. Newt knows something about it.”
The former Tennessee senator explained that Gingrich had a proven track record in his mind, especially for his accomplishments in the 1990s.
“I came to Washington in 1995 in part because of what was going on in the country that had generated in large part by the leadership of Newt Gingrich,” he said. “He conceived and carried out really a revolution in American politics at that time. And, we were able to balance the budget for about four years in a row, and pass welfare reform and begin to rebuild a depleted military. These things can be done but we can’t be apologetic about it.”