Two days after poking social conservatives in the eye over abortion, Fred Thompson is signaling that he is not about to yield the Christian right to his GOP opponents.
The former Tennessee senator has recruited Shannon Royce, a high visibility evangelical and seasoned Washington operative, as his Grass Roots and Special Projects director. Royce is a former Capitol Hill staffer and former government relations director for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. More recently, she was executive director of the influential Arlington Group, a coalition of evangelical organizations pressing a “family values” agenda in Washington.
Randy Enright, Thompson’s national political director, had this to say in announcing her appointment:

We are blessed that Shannon has joined our team. She…is well known and highly respected in Evangelical Christian circles and has been on the front lines of all key battles important to social conservatives. She is an important addition to our operation and will make a tangible impact.

Her first assignment: damage control after Thompson’s remark on Meet the Press that he could not run on the 2004 GOP platform, which called for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Royce tells the Brody File:

I can tell you that he is not going to change the platform. That fear that might be out there we just need to put to rest. The entire history of this man is pro-life.

Will she succeed in assuaging Christian right concerns about Thompson? It will be a huge job. God-o-Meter will be watching closely.


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