Saturday, April 05, 2008

Big Jim Thompson on McCain, Obama, Clinton and conservatives

Can McCain win in November?

Jeff Berkowitz: What do you say, what are John McCain’s chances of beating Barack Obama?

Former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson(R): Well, I think John McCain can beat either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, the latest polls out today [March 14, 2008] show him ahead of both. So, it is really going to depend on turnout and how the vote goes in the important Electoral College states. The popular vote is one thing, as we know. The electoral college is another, so we’ll see in November who the opponent is, what the issues are in November- they may be different than today, I suspect they will be-- and I think McCain has got a really good chance to take the Presidency.

It’s the War, stupid?

Jeff Berkowitz: Can he make the War an issue, as he would argue—it is going much better [now] with the Surge. By November, do you think the War will be going well enough so that McCain can aggressively make that the issue and claim that he supported it and Obama or Clinton didn’t?

Governor Jim Thompson(R): I suspect that the War in Iraq is not a proactive, electoral issue. He certainly can defend his position on the War and it looks today [March 14, 2008] like a small majority, 52%, or so, of the American people think that the War is going better than it had. I suspect that will continue and I don’t think that the War will be as big an issue in November as it was last year.

It’s the Economy, stupid?

Jeff Berkowitz: What will be the big issue in November for the Presidential Election?

Governor Jim Thompson: The issue in November will be the economy of the United States, people’s economic opportunities and their children’s opportunities, taxes and our standing in the world.

Which Party gets blamed for the imminent recession?

Jeff Berkowitz: If it’s the economy…it seems to be we are going toward a recession; if that happens, doesn’t that almost always hurt the party in Power.

Governor Jim Thompson: Well, you might think so, except that if the Democrats’ plan to get us out of recession includes raising taxes and spending more money, I don’t think that’s a prescription for success.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you’re saying McCain can win on that … even if the economy is the No. 1 issue.

Governor Jim Thompson: Well, I think most voters understand that John McCain is not responsible for the economy and couldn’t be responsible for it until he becomes the President of the United States. The same argument could be made about the Democratic congress. They are the incumbents. What have they done to keep the United States on an even economic keel? If that logic prevails, then both the House and Senate Democrats should be thrown out.

Read my lips, No New Taxes!

Jeff Berkowitz: So, if you are advising Senator McCain, what would you advise him to be proactive about to make the issue as he runs for President?

Governor Jim Thompson: I think the No. 1 issue is going to be a solemn pledge not to raise taxes and to cut government spending, to act intelligently in Iraq to bring that to some kind of conclusion that the American people can live with and to get the Congress to get down to business on the greater issues of the day.

McCain: still courting the Conservatives?

Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think McCain has to have a rapprochement with his own party—with the conservatives in the Republican Party—to energize them so he can win?

Governor Jim Thompson(R): Well, you know what—if some of the members of the Republican Party don’t know the difference between John McCain or Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, then there is nothing I can do or say or he can do and say to lead them otherwise.
Jim Thompson (R), Illinois Governor, 1977-1991, interviewed on March 14, 2008, before attending a fundraiser for John McCain at the Chicago Hilton, 720 So. Michigan, Chicago, IL
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search,
can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama and McCain, former Presidential candidate Richardson-- and many other pols, including this week's and last week's show with Rep. Lang, and and last week's show in the City of Chicago and Aurora with WGN Political Pundit and Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green at
Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include next week's show in the North and Northwest Chicago Metro suburbs [Watch Senator Christine Radogno], this week's show in the Chicago North and Northwest Chicago metro suburbs [Watch Lang, Part 2] and last week's show with Rep. Lang [Lang, Part 1] , last week's show in Chicago and Aurora with WGN Radio political pundit Paul Green, last week's show with Senator and likely 2010 Illinois Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady,our show with former Sen. Rauschenberger, assessing Barack Obama, our prior show with Republican U.S. Senate Republican nominee Dr. Steve Sauerberg, discussing his Democratic opponent--Senator Durbin-- and domestic, cultural and foreign policy issues, our prior show featuring State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston,IL), discussing Barack Obama, as well as various Illinois Budget issues (spending, mass transit, capital budget, education, gaming and taxes) and possible 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidates and 2010 U. S. Senate candidates (assuming Obama moves up to President in 2008) , a discussion with State's Attorney for Cook County Republican nominee Tony Peraica; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to current State's Attorney for Cook County Dick Devine and now the Democratic nominee for State's Attorney of Cook County.