Honeymoon? Forget about it. The morning after his announcement, "Today" wasted no time in going after Fred Thompson. Like a Las Vegas bride with a bad hangover, Meredith Vieira seemed particularly grumpy. At 7:05 a.m. EDT, the "Today" co-anchor interviewed Tim Russert.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: The other candidates are out debating last night, and he's on Leno, he's yukking it up announcing that he's running for president as if it is a punch line. Was that a smart thing for him to do?
Vieira's vitriolic tone left no doubt that, in her mind, it wasn't. Russert suggested that Thompson needs to establish "real credibility" that he is the consistent conservative in the race, and raise money.
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Meredith riffed off Russert's "credibility" line to take her next shot.
VIEIRA: Well you know you talk about credibility. I want to read you something that New Hampshire Republican chairman Fergus Cullen said about Thompson. He said that the voters in this state are interested in this guy, but, and here's the but, "for Thompson to go on Jay Leno the same night and be trading jokes while other candidates are having a substantive discussion on issues is not going to be missed by New Hampshire voters." So it's possible the decision could backfire, isn't it?
Russert observed that the influential Manchester Union-Leader has been saying much the same thing, and that "there's no doubt about it, Thompson has some work to do."
Of course we all remember the way "Today" roughed up Hillary the morning after she chose to announce via a fluffy chat-on-the-couch. Or not.