Campaign Notebook

Thompson considers ending run

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January 21, 2008

Fred Thompson was weighing the future of his White House bid yesterday after a third-place finish in South Carolina.

Thompson was widely expected to bow out after failing to win the states where he had hoped to perform strongly, Iowa and South Carolina.

The former Tennessee senator returned to his suburban Washington home late Saturday after delivering a speech in South Carolina that sounded as though he was calling it quits. He stopped short of doing so, but some supporters suspected it would only be a matter of time before Thompson withdraws.

Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, said yesterday he expects the Republican tide to shift in his favor. After a disappointing second-place showing in the South Carolina Republican primary, he sounded upbeat at a fund-raiser at actor Chuck Norris's ranch in Navasota, Texas.

"Starting today, we reset the clock," Huckabee said. "I woke up this morning and I thought, 'The momentum is back.' "


Seizing the momentum
Republican John McCain yesterday called the GOP contest "still very competitive" but said his South Carolina win gives him momentum heading into the next big battle in Florida.

The senator from Arizona clearly was buoyed by the victory, his second this season after winning the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 8. In 2000, McCain was defeated in South Carolina by George W. Bush, a loss that effectively ended McCain's campaign.

Attention in the race for the Republican presidential nomination now shifts to Florida, which votes Jan. 29, followed by voting in 22 states on Feb. 5.

McCain savored his rise. "I certainly enjoy being the underdog," he said. "I much more enjoy being ahead."


Straight Talk meanderings
They call it the Straight Talk Express, but the conversation on Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign bus often meanders like a lazy river.

When he's not answering voters' and reporters' questions, he's spinning tales for the journalists on the back of his bus.

With his more than two decades in the Senate, McCain has a well-honed ability to expound on any subject under the sun, from carbon emission-curbing schemes to professional hockey in Arizona.

Touting his endorsement by a paper in Pensacola, Fla., McCain alluded to his days with the Navy there. "I stabilized that economy for years," he said. "I created a lot of new jobs in various eating and drinking establishments."


Top job description
If Barack Obama wins the Democratic presidential race, his message will bear no resemblance to that of Michael S. Dukakis, the party's nominee 20 years ago.

Dukakis pitched himself as the consummate manager, the orchestrator of an economic recovery tagged the "Massachusetts Miracle," and a politician who was about competence, not vision. George H. W. Bush easily beat him in the general election.

In an interview with The Reno Gazette-Journal, Obama laid no claim to bureaucratic skills. Meeting with the editorial board, he said, "Some in this debate around experience seem to think the job of the president is to go in and run some bureaucracy. Well, that's not my job. My job is to set a vision of 'Here's where the bureaucracy needs to go.' "


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