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Social Conservatives Might Balk at Fred Thompson’s Many Ex-Endorsements
Fred Thompson is quite the ladies man, the Times of London reported in a piece called “Old girlfriends cast their vote for Thompson.” It’s an interesting read in which several old flames fawn over Thompson and tell the Times that they would support his presidential candidacy if he runs. Here’s a gem from the story:
In anticipation of a presidential run, a group of potentially supportive Republican congressmen recently questioned him about his private life.
“I was single for a long time and yep I chased a lot of women,” Thompson told them with a grin. “And a lot of women chased me. And those who chased me tended to catch me.”
One of these women was the country singer Lorrie Morgan. Another was Margaret Carlson, a columnist for Bloomberg News, who recently gushed, “He’s handsome, he’s charming, he sounds like a president.”
Will Thompson’s past playboy antics be a problem for social conservatives in Iowa? Perhaps.
I read the above quote to Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance, and he said conservatives will likely be more focused on how candidates are “leading their life now,” though they will “definitely care” about a candidate’s history.
Tamara Scott, director of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women of America, declined to comment on the specific quotation from Thompson but told me “history does play a part” in evaluating a candidate.
Discussions of Thompson’s love life usually include Jeri Kehn, his second wife, whom he married in 2002. Kehn is 40 years old, 24 years younger than Thompson, and has been called a “trophy wife” by some. Conservative radio personality Joe Scarborough was recently criticized, the Times reports, “for wondering on air whether Thompson’s wife ‘works the pole’, although he later claimed that he was referring jokingly to the pole fitness craze rather than to stripping.”
Douglas Burns of Iowa Independent recently mulled whether social conservatives would be turned off by the large age difference between Thompson and Kehn: “Call me old-fashioned but there is something unseemly, creepy, out of balance in the universe, with the canyon-sized age disparity in Thompson’s second marriage,” he wrote. He also noted that “Socially conservative Republicans like their families to look a certain way, their wives to be just so,” and that the Thompson-Kehn romance doesn’t fit the bill.
Scheffler said that he didn’t think the age gap would be a problem for conservatives, and Scott said she didn’t know enough about the situation to comment. Neither has been approached by Thompson as he considers entering the race for the Republican nomination.
Thompson, of course, wouldn’t be the only Republican candidate with a rocky marital history. As Steve Benen wrote in the Washington Monthly last year, the GOP front-runners “form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history … Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce).”
Perhaps Thompson would fit right in.