- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2007

Headed for Iowa

RepublicanFred Thompson, the all-but-certain 2008 presidential candidate, will make his initial foray into Iowa next week, meeting with lawmakers and checking out an Iowa State Fair tradition — a cow carved from butter.

Mr. Thompson, an actor and former Republican senator from Tennessee, will spend Aug. 17 in the state, aide Andrew Dorr said yesterday. His visit will come less than a week after Saturday’s Republican presidential straw poll in Ames, an event that could prompt some candidates to drop out of the race.

Mr. Dorr said Mr. Thompson will meet privately with a handful of Republican state legislators, talk with reporters and see the sights at the Iowa State Fair.

Mr. Thompson is expected to join the field of Republican candidates, but the date of his announcement has been repeatedly pushed back and is now expected in September, the Associated Press reports. He has spent little time organizing in Iowa and has only a skeleton staff, though polls have shown him running relatively strong compared to candidates who have devoted enormous time and energy to the caucus campaign.

“Is it too late? No. Is it very late? Yeah, it’s going to be very difficult to crawl out of the organizational deficit he is in,” said Chuck Laudner, executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa.

Going nuclear

Democratic Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton, who chastised rivalSen. Barack Obamafor ruling out the use of nuclear weapons in the war on terror, did just that when asked about Iran a year ago, the Associated Press reports.

“I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table,” she said in April 2006.

Her views expressed while she was gearing up for a presidential run stand in conflict with her comments this month regarding Mr. Obama, who faced heavy criticism from leaders of both parties, including Mrs. Clinton, after saying it would be “a profound mistake” to deploy nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“There’s been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That’s not on the table,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton, who has tried to cast her rival as too inexperienced for the job of commander in chief, said of Mr. Obama’s stance on Pakistan: “I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons.”

But that’s exactly what she did in an interview with Bloomberg Television in April 2006, the wire service said. The New York senator, a member of the Armed Services Committee, was asked about reports that the Bush administration was considering military intervention — possibly even a nuclear strike — to prevent Iran from escalating its nuclear program.

“I have said publicly no option should be off the table, but I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table,” Mrs. Clinton said. “This administration has been very willing to talk about using nuclear weapons in a way we haven’t seen since the dawn of a nuclear age. I think that’s a terrible mistake.”

Not a monolith

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