Thompson: ‘Not particularly interested in running’
WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Fred Thompson acknowledged Saturday he’s not especially fond of running for president, but he thinks he’d be a good choice for the White House.
Asked at a town hall meeting in Burlington whether he had the desire to be president, Thompson said it wasn’t his idea to seek the office, and he wasn’t enamored with campaigning.
“I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it,” he said. “I’m not particularly interested in running for president.”
But he said others convinced him to run.
“I approached it from a standpoint … of kind of a marriage. You know if one side of the marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, you know it probably ain’t going to be a good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing — in this case you think it’s a good thing for the country — then you have an opportunity to do some wonderful things together,” he said.
“I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that I have the background and capability and the concern to do this.”
People who question his commitment should note that he’s dropped lucrative television and radio contracts and no longer accepts paid speaking tours.
“I and my family have made sacrifices for me to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I’m doing this,” he said. “I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family, which is not a joyful thing at all, if he didn’t want to do it.”
Thompson said candidates have become too absorbed by the process and have lost sight of the ultimate need to serve the country.
“Nowadays, it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure in the world we live in today it’s a terribly good thing that a president has too much fire in his belly,” he said.
Thompson said that unlike his opponents, he’s honest about why he’s running.
“I like to say that I’m only consumed by very, very few things and politics is not one of them. The welfare of my country and my kids and grandkids are one of them,” he said. “But if people really want in their president a super type-A personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night thinking about for years how they could achieve presidency of the United States, someone who could look you straight in the eye and say they enjoy every minute of campaigning — I ain’t that guy.”
Thompson said voters know what to expect from him.
“I go out of my way to be myself cause I don’t want anybody to think they’re getting something they’re not getting. I’m not consumed by this process. I’m not consumed with the notion of being president. I’m simply saying I’m willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it if I’m in synch with the people and if the people want me or somebody like me,” he said.
The man who asked the question, Burlington attorney Todd Chelf, said he appreciated Thompson’s reply.
“It’s almost refreshing to see that kind of response as opposed to what we get normally,” he said. “I think there’s a passion there. I think that it’s an old-fashioned passion.”
Later at a stop in the community of Washington, Thompson joked about Democrat John Edwards, who had an event at the same time just a few blocks away.
“I understand my friend John Edwards is in town. He’s over at the library. I hope he learns something while he’s over there,” Thompson said. “I like our bus better. Go out and check them out.”
On Saturday, Thompson was accompanied by Iowa Rep. Steve King.