David Brody of CBNNews.com wrote the leading story on Fred Thompson's refusal to debate Huckabee one-on-one. In his article he wrote, "To be fair to Thompson, when he said on The Tonight Show that he backed Newt Gingrich’s debate plan, that plan was for the General Election, not the primaries."
After several comments by readers (including Brett and myself) setting the record straight, Brody proved why he has been one of our favorite political commentators in the race thus far, removing that mention from the original article and posting the following update:
Yesterday I reported that Fred Thompson’s campaign rejected Mike Huckabee’s one on one debate proposal. I then went on to say the following:
"To be fair to Thompson, when he said on The Tonight Show that he backed Newt Gingrich’s debate plan, that plan was for the General Election, not the primaries."
Well, A few Brody File readers have pointed out to me that during an interview with Sean Hannity, Fred Thompson DID call for one on one debates in the context of the GOP primary.
Here’s the transcription of that:
Sean Hannity: When you look at the other current crop of candidates, Republicans, where is the distinction between your positions and what you view as theirs?
Fred Thompson: Well, uh, to tell you the truth, uh, I haven't spent a whole lot of time, uh, going into the details of their positions. I will be doing... I... I mean publicly. I obviously know where they stand and what they've done and what they've written. And there will be a time when we will need to have a good, uh, debate, if they're interested in debates, and we'll do it one-on-one and we'll do it in a big group, and I really want to do it, and we'll get into that.
Now, earlier in that interview, Thompson said the General Election would probably be the better time to do it. Read below:
HANNITY: You don't think much of the debate process now, why?
THOMPSON: It is not designed really to illuminate people's thoughts and feelings. Thirty-, 40-second sound bites, you know, to questions that hopefully will elicit some kind of a comment about one of the other participants, something like that, to make a little story, that sort of thing.
I kind of think that Newt's idea of going back to the Lincoln-Douglas debate-type format, where you have two people sit down or stand up and, you know, take an hour or so, and maybe an hour-and-a-half and discuss maybe one particular category, one particular topic, and get in-depth and go back and forth on it.
That is the way that you find out how somebody really thinks. I know it is difficult when you have that number of people running. And I don't know the answer to it in the primary. But I think certainly in the general election, something like that would be something I would gravitate to.
You can watch the video of the interview here. It’s pretty clear that Thompson was unclear in his answer to the debate question. He was saying two different things during that interview.
Thanks to Brody File readers for pointing this out.