MCCAIN: McCain raised money and did a brief interview in Mississippi yesterday. Asked about Thompson, McCain said, per the AP: "'We're old friends. I'm sure Fred will add a lot to the campaign.'" McCain also met with Mississippi's best-known trial lawyer, Dickie Scruggs (Trent Lott's brother-in-law). Scruggs, who usually backs Democrats, is supporting McCain. Scruggs: "'I wish Hillary Clinton would come to Mississippi - she's a Southerner - and I wish others would, too. John McCain shows a lot of respect for the state,' Scruggs said. 'I support John McCain. I have for a long, long time.'"
ROMNEY: The Boston Globe says Romney has made McCain's work on immigration "one of his favorite targets. When McCain and other senators unveiled the latest reform bill two weeks ago, Romney called it the 'wrong approach' and immediately launched a television ad slamming 'amnesty' for illegal immigrants. But while Romney has been aggressive with his barbs, he has offered no specific solutions of his own to the immigration crisis. With McCain and his surrogates pushing the issue hard, Romney is facing increasing questions about what he would do about the problem."
By the way, has anyone else noticed that the entire GOP field -- sans McCain -- has unveiled fewer detailed policy proposals than the Dem field? Part of that has to do with the two distinct primary constituencies each is courting. Republican base voters are usually more interested in broad themes and goals, while Dem voters are sticklers for their candidates to have white paper after white paper. But with Thompson's entry into the GOP race, will we see more articles like this one above where there are demands for more detailed plans?
One day after Giuliani used Hillary Clinton as a rhetorical punching bag on taxes, Romney did a similar thing while stumping in Iowa yesterday. Romney: "'Her view is the old, classic, European caricature that we describe of big government, big taxation, welfare state,' said the former Massachusetts governor. 'She gave a speech a couple of days ago and laid out her vision for America. And as I listened to her I figured her platform wouldn't even get her elected in France,' Romney, who was a missionary in France, said to chuckles and applause."
F. THOMPSON: The New York Times' David Brooks appears to long for a bionic candidate that includes "Thompson's back-to-basics theme. This is a traumatized party, not in the mood for anything risky and new. But over the long run, back to basics is no solution because it doesn't produce a positive agenda for today's problems." Brooks wants his candidate to have Gingrich's brain.
Is this another reason why Thompson is opening a "testing the waters" committee and not a full-fledged one? Apparently, he's the new radio pitchman for a company that helps folks deal with identity theft. The company is called LifeLock. "Beginning this week, Thompson's voice will grace 60-second ads for the company on radio networks nationwide. (The ads, which run through June, can be heard locally on WBZ radio.) The first half of the ads salutes various military heroes; the second half is a pitch for the company."
Slate's Dickerson writes about the "laziness rap" on Thompson. "Fair or not, the laziness rap against Thompson is like the rap that former presidential hopeful Sen. George Allen isn't a genius. Or that John McCain is a hothead. It's an unresolved issue waiting for its moment to become a crisis for the campaign. Thompson's spokesman, Mark Corallo, brushes off critics with a line Ronald Reagan used when belittling what he considered his opponent's hysterical distortions: 'There they go again.' The laziness charge can be deadly because however much voters like the notion of no-sweat solutions, they also want to be sure that their president is up at night worrying about terrorist attacks so they don't have to. They also like to know they're getting their money's worth from their public officials. After the early-to-bed Bush administration, this may be truer than ever."
The New York Post writes about Thompson's "babe wife." She's 24 years his junior and worked for the RNC. "If Thompson wins the White House, [his wife] would also join Jacqueline Kennedy as one of the youngest first ladies in U.S. history."