For all practical purposes, Fred Thompson’s tenuous courtship of religious conservatives is over. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, the former Tennessee senator made it clear once and for all that he does NOT support a constitutional amendment banning abortion — a signature issue for the Religious Right — and will not run on a platform calling for one. From the Meet the Press transcript:

MODERATOR TIM RUSSERT: …Could you run as a candidate on [the 2004 Republican Party Platform] promising a human life amendment banning all abortions?
MR. RUSSERT: You would not?
MR. THOMPSON: No. I have always—and that’s been my position the entire time I’ve been in politics. I thought Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. I think this platform originally came out as a response to particularly Roe v. Wade because of that. Before Roe v. Wade, states made those decisions. I think people ought to be free at state and local levels to make decisions that even Fred Thompson disagrees with. That’s what freedom is all about. And I think the diversity we have among the states, the system of federalism we have where power is divided between the state and the federal government is, is, is—serves us very, very well. I think that’s true of abortion. I think Roe v. Wade hopefully one day will be overturned, and we can go back to the pre-Roe v. Wade days. But…
MR. RUSSERT: Each state would make their own abortion laws.
MR. THOMPSON: Yeah. But, but, but to, to, to have an amendment compelling—going back even further than pre-Roe v. Wade, to have a constitutional amendment to do that, I do not think would be the way to go.

Can religious conservatives help but feel spurned? While they may admire Thompson’s federalist bent, for many, a Human Life amendment trumps all. God-o-Meter finds the reaction by’s The Brody File illustrative of the Religious Right’s disappointment:

“Fred Thompson came into this presidential race as the one candidate social conservatives may be able to embrace. It hasn’t quite worked out that way…All he needs now is to buy the gun that shoots him in the foot. Actually, he’s doing a pretty good job of that himself.”


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