Fred Thompson's Scandals
-- Watergate Spy for Richard Nixon
-- Flat Out Lied About Abortion
-- Trophy Wife
Fred Thompson's Skeleton Closet
Positive Ideas For Reform
Who's Doing This?
George W. Bush, Jr.
J. Danforth Quayle
TV actor Fred Thompson is pitching himself as a solid conservative, family focused, political outsider. That's fine, except that
he's a long-time lobbyist, former spy for Richard Nixon and a divorced playboy with 24-year-younger wife. Oh yeah, he doesn't go to church unless he's
visiting his mom, and he married his first wife only after getting her pregnant.
And his famous red Chevy pickup that he drove in his Senate campaign - well, that wasn't his. His campaign leased it at $500 a month for that campaign, and he was seen to drive it around the corner after an event, jump out and hop into an SUV. But except for that, he's the real thing. Or he plays one on TV.
"Oh, shit! That kid? He's dumb as hell." -- Richard Nixon, on Watergate tapes, after being told Fred Thompson was hired as Republican counsel
"He's not very smart. But he's friendly." -- Richard Nixon, on Watergate tapes
"I don't attend [church] regularly..." -- Fred Thompson
"[Then-Time-Magazine-Correspondent Margaret Carlson] won't get the hint he has a girlfriend. She calls his apartment all the time. I mean, what is the deal with these women? Don't they have any pride? It's a joke all over Washington that Margaret has a huge crush on him. And Fred clearly is not interested." -- Thompson's wife (then girlfriend) Jeri Kehn in 2000
"He's handsome, he's charming, he sounds like a president. He's smart, he's articulate, he knows his line, he can hit his mark." -- Margaret Carlson, now a Bloomberg reporter, 2007
"I think he has a great chance of capturing the women's vote. He's majestic. He's a soft, safe place to be and that could be Fred's ticket. Women love a soft place to lay and a strong pair of hands to hold us." -- Ex-girlfriend and country star Lorrie Morgan
"I think women have an innate ‘ick’ reaction when they see a wife so much younger and vital than her husband.” -- Professor Karen O'Connor, political scientist at American University
"I know the pundits, they get big bucks for . . . pundating." -- Fred Thompson
Spied For Nixon During Watergate
Thompson likes to brag about being the congressional committee lawyer whose question revealed the existence of Nixon's secret tape recordings in the Watergate scandal -- which eventually led to his resignation. That may be true, but the more shocking fact is that Thompson was acting as a spy for Nixon, reporting back to him on what the congressional investigators had discovered -- including the fact that they knew about the taping system. He reported that to Nixon's lawyer, Fred Buzhardt, the weekend before he asked that question.
In fact, Buzhardt is on the Watergate tapes, telling Nixon that Thompson is a loyal operative on the committee. He says that Thompson was "willing to go, you know, pretty much the distance now. And he said he realized his responsibility was going to have be as a Republican increasingly."
Thompson himself admitted his illicit spying role in his little-known 1975 book about Watergate: "Even though I had no authority to act for the committee, I decided to call Fred Buzhardt at home [to inform him about the tapes]. I wanted to be sure that the White House was fully aware of what was to be disclosed so that it could take appropriate action."
A lot of Republican candidates become more pro-life as they enter the highly anti-abortion Republican primaries. But Fred Thompson is the only one so far who blatanly lied about his past record. In 1991, he was hired by the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association to lobby the first Bush administration to relax a rule that banned abortion counseling at clinics receiving federal money. [The center has produced the minutes of their September 14, 1991 board meeting showing that Thompson was hired, and five different people who worked for the center or for Thompson's lobbying firm have come forward publicly to confirm it.]
Despite this very strong evidence, Thompson simply lied and claimed he never did the work. His spokesman said "There's no documents to prove it, there's no billing records, and Thompson says he has no recollection of it, says it didn't happen."
Judith DeSarno, who was president of the pro-abortion group at the time, said Thompson updated her on his progress by phone and over meals at two Washington restaurants, Galileo and Monocle. Former Congressman Michael Barnes, who worked with Thompson at the Washington law and lobbying firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, says he recommended Thompson for the job, and heard later from DeSarno that she was very pleased with Thompson's work. Barnes said that Thompson's denials were "absolutely bizarre." DeSarno added that if Thompson didn't lobby the Bush administration, "he owes us a bunch of money." (Thompson earned over a million dollars from his lobbying career.)
When reporters pressed Thompson on this issue, the denials started to get squishier. First, his spokesman Mark Corallo said Thompson "may have been consulted by one of [his] firm's partners who represented this group in 1991. It was not unusual for one lawyer on one side of an issue to be asked to give advice to colleagues for clients who engage in conduct or activities with which they personally disagree."
The next day, when reporters asked him directly, Thompson just got weird. "I'd just say the flies get bigger in the summertime. I guess the flies are buzzing." When reporters asked again whether he recalled doing the work, he refused comment.
This is not the first time Thompson has weaseled about his abortion record. In 1994, he checked a box on a form stating that abortion "should be legal in all circumstances for the first three months."
When Fox News asked him about that this year, Thompson said "I don't remember that box. You know, it was a long time ago, and I don't know if I filled it out or my staff, based on what they thought my position was, filled it out." Thompson also filled out a 1996 Christian Coalition survey and marked himself as "opposed" to a constitutional amendment protecting "the sanctity of human life." He included a handwritten notation saying: "I do not believe abortion should be criminalized. This battle will be won in the hearts and souls of the American people."
This year though, he claims to be "fundamentally pro-life" and has pitched himself as more of a true conservative than Mitt Romney, John McCain or Rudy Giuliani.
Yes, that is Fred Thompson's wife in the photo up there. Yes, she is much younger than him -- younger than his daughter! -- bleached blond and dressed quite sluttily. (He is 64; she just turned 40.) For a guy claiming to be the conservative, family values candidate, TV actor Thompson has quite a colorful history with the ladies. He married his first wife after he got her pregnant. Now he is divorced, and during his swinging single years as a senator, gossip columnists called him "Hollywood Fred" and "The Tennessee Stud." During that time, he dated country star Lorrie Morgan, Republican party girl Georgette Mosbacher, GOP pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick (now Conway), and Jeri Kehn, who he married in 2002 and is young enough to be his fourth daughter. (They met in 1996, when he was 53 and she was 29.)
"Fred Thompson Aided Nixon on Watergate", By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press, July 7, 2007
"Thompson lobbied for abortion-rights group, it says", By Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2007
"Thompson energizes young Republicans", By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press , July 8, 2007
"President Thompson, I'm Ready for My Close-Up", by Holly Bailey, Newsweek, April 2, 2007
"Republican Thompson Endorsed By Ex - Girlfriends ", by Reuter's News Service, New York Times, June 25, 2007
"Will Her Face Determine His Fortune?",By SUSAN SAULNY, New York Times, July 8, 2007
"Not all would put a heroic sheen on Thompson's Watergate role,", by Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, July 4, 2007
"At That Point in Time", book by Fred Thompson, 1975
"Fred Thompson has history as political insider,", by the Associated Press, on CNN Website, June 26, 2007
"Thompson Says He Won't Tout His Religion On Trail", by Kim Chipman, Bloomberg News Service, September 11, 2007
"Thompson Piles on Southern Charm", by Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2007
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