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Fred Thompson: A Promising Non-Candidate in Iowa

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The latest public poll for the Iowa Republican Caucus by American Research Group includes a new name in the mix: former Senator (and longtime actor) Fred Thompson. Thompson—not to be confused with former Wisconsin Governor and ex-Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson—has not announced his candidacy, but is being encouraged to run by several elites within the GOP.

Thompson is considered to be a viable candidate because he is not considered to be too liberal for the GOP base (i.e. Giuliani's potential problem), he is not a party outsider (e.g. John McCain), nor does he have high unfavorable numbers like some potential conservative candidates (e.g. Newt Gingrich).

In the ARG Iowa poll Giuliani and McCain continue to lead the pack at 29 percent each. Thompson comes in third at 12 percent, besting Mitt Romney by 2 points. With the addition of Thompson, support for several traditional conservatives in the field fell sharply, apparently losing support to Thompson. In last month's ARG poll Gingrich, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee garnered a collective 19 percent of those surveyed. In the March survey with Thompson listed as a potential candidate, support for these conservatives fell to just 7 percent (with Thompson picking up the missing 12 percent).

Thompson did not run for a third term as U.S. Senator from Tennessee in 2002, but does not face the problem of name recognition that plagues other candidates, due to his high-profile appearances on television (Law and Order) and film (In the Line of Fire, Cape Fear, Die Hard 2, Days of Thunder, The Hunt for the Red October) in a 20-year acting career.

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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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