There was a point a few months ago in which the anticipation in Republican circles about Fred Thompson’s candidacy was palpable. The GOP’s three most-competitive candidates — Romney, Giuliani, and McCain — each caused consternation, for one reason or another, among conservatives, and Thompson was going to be the guy on the white horse who would save the day.
Fairly quickly, 21 congressional Republicans endorsed the former senator, which is nearly as many endorsements as McCain and Giuliani. But that was the late-summer. Now, even some of Thompson’s backers are wondering whether they’ve bet on the wrong horse.
Several House Republicans who endorsed Fred Thompson for president now say that they are frustrated with what they view as an apathetic campaign, and at least one regrets having committed to the former Tennessee senator.
“I think he’s kind of done a belly flop,” said an estranged Thompson backer who indicated he will not pull his public support before the “Super Tuesday” primaries. “We’ll just wait till after Feb. 5 because I think he’s going to get beat.”
Another GOP lawmaker said, “I’ve kind of pulled back. I’m not not supporting him, but I’m not doing anything.” With six weeks to go before the first contest, that’s not quite the enthusiasm a presidential hopeful wants to hear.