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Oh-eight (R): Tepid reviews for Fred

We got an interesting reminder in our email inbox this weekend from the West Virginia GOP, which reminded the GOP presidential campaigns that they have to register for their unique internet Feb. 5 primary by Sept. 1. There are quite a few states whose deadlines are coming up in a hurry. In particular, Fred Thompson will have to gear up immediately to get ready for many of these deadlines. Is his team ready?

GIULIANI: Watching the former New York mayor handle questions about his personal life, one can't help but notice his response is very similar to the one George W. Bush pushed when he was constantly asked about his past indiscretions. Bush would acknowledge it without adding fuel to the fire with his "when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Giuliani does a similar deflection with his past but acknowledging he made mistakes but also indicating he won't talk about it. "I'll talk about it appropriately and in a way to preserve as much as I can the privacy of my family and my children, which I think any decent person would," he told reporters at a stop at a diner here on Friday.

The New York Times' Nagourney looks at how a city slicker like Giuliani plays in Iowa. "He seems a lot more attuned to the rhythms and culture of Iowa than he did a few months ago."

This phenomenon that is Sean Hannity is getting a bit ridiculous. Now this "news man" is appearing at Giuliani fundraisers? The line was erased a long time ago, but is Hannity flying a bit too close to the sun? Limbaugh seemed to know where the line was between commentator and political activist. Hannity doesn't.

HUCKABEE: Huckabee's really made it now: he's getting the positive David Broder treatment.

ROMNEY: The Boston Globe notes the Wally Beaver-esque nature of Mitt Romney. "Romney often sounds as if he has stepped out of a time machine from 1950s suburban America, golly-ing and gosh-ing his way across the nation, letting out the occasional 'Holy cow!' after something really shocks him."

THOMPSON: Lost this week amid other news was the lackluster trip to Iowa made by the candidate-in-waiting. Notes GOP analyst Jennifer Rubin on the American Spectator's campaign blog: "It was a cringe inducing day for Thompson in the MSM and blogosphere coverage. There was Carl Cameron picking up on the Gucci loafers and the golf cart ride through the Iowa fair. Politico picked up on the lukewarm reception and the crowd's disappointment that more substance wasn't offered. MSM coverage echoed the same. He then gave a remarkably muddled interview with John King, leading to guffaws at Campaign Spot and confusion about what he meant with this response to a question on abortion and gay marriage."

Said Thompson: "I think with regard to gay marriage you have a [inaudible] issue. I don't think one state ought to be able to pass a law requiring gay marriage or allowing gay marriage and have another state be required to follow along under full faith and credit. There's some exceptions, exemptions for that. Hasn't happened yet, but I think a federal court very well likely will go in that direction. And the constitutional amendment would cure that. I think Roe versus Wade was a bad decision. There were things that are bad law and bad medicine. You don't just get up one day and overturn the entire history of the country with regard major social policies without any action by Congress, without any action by the American people or a constitutional amendment. And that's what happened. Shouldn't have happened. It ought to be reversed."

"If you don't have the foggiest what that's all about neither did CNN. This caused him to offer this clarification picked up at NRO:

"In an interview with CNN today, former Senator Fred Thompson's position on constitutional amendments concerning gay marriage was unclear. Thompson believes that states should be able to adopt their own laws on marriage consistent with the views of their citizens. He does not believe that one state should be able to impose its marriage laws on other states, or that activist judges should construe the constitution to require that. If necessary, he would support a constitutional amendment prohibiting states from imposing their laws on marriage on other states. Fred Thompson does not support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage."

The AP's Fournier interviewed Thompson, who defended his time as a lobbyist, saying, "Don't confuse the lawyer with the client." Also: "'I have no apologies to make about it,' he said of a 20-year lobbying career that earned him at least a $1 million." And: "It has nothing to do with one's political views. Lawyering is a profession and it's also a business." Then this about working for an abortion-rights group: "I clearly did some work. I proceeded after that to go to the United States Senate and oppose them on every matter that came up."