Not only is Fred Thompson announcing his presidental run the day after tomorrow’s debate in New Hampshire–and therefore skipping the debate, not only is Thompson instead doing a TV appearance on Leno the same night of the debate…but Thompson is going to run an ad during the debate, instead of coming to the debate himself.
It doesn’t matter what side of the aile you stand on, campaign tactics are campaign tactics and this is one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in years.
For those of us who have been to New Hampshire and witnessed first hand how both political parties and their activist feel about being the “first in the nation” primary, will understand how bone-headed this is. It’s one big fungo to NH.
My only guess is that the Thompson camp has already written off NH (and maybe equally organizationally driven Iowa) and are planning, as Knightbrigade suggests, a southern stragety.
Now some may agrue that Thompson’s move is a good one…more people will watch Leno than the debate, he’ll control his message in the debate ad, their intergrating the campaign announcement into a multimedia platform, balh, blah, blah. All great ideas, but NOT at the cost of snubbing the Republican establishment of New Hampshire.
As I’ve posted elsewhere, and as anyone with a political memory that goes back a few presidental primary cycles, the free press coverage that the top two or three candidates coming out of in Iowa and NH is huge–worth millions in paid media. Reality says you need to pay attention to these states and not diss them. Fred just dissed one.