Fred to MSM: 'I Owe You Nothing'

Fred Thompson today blasted the media for propagating a false rumor about his impending withdrawal, while reinforcing the role he has created for himself as the candidate in this race who does not suffer unwelcome questions gladly.

Back in Iowa, Thompson famously refused to respond to the debate moderator/school marm's demand for a hand-show on global warming. On this morning's Today, he declined to engage in horse-race speculation about his own prospects, then took the media to task for its propagation of that false rumor about his impending withdrawal. Weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed the former Tennessee senator.

View video here.

LESTER HOLT: We saw on the Democratic side Iowa became kind of a viability test. We saw some of the lower-tier candidates drop out after seeing the results in Iowa. What is your gut check right now in terms of your own viability? will it be South Carolina, will it be Super Tuesday?

FRED THOMPSON: I'm not going to engage in that -- further beating the process issue to death. We're talking about the future of our country here and the fact that our worst enemies are trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons and we're bankrupting the next generation. That's what I'm talking about. The rest is all speculation and I don't engage in it.
HOLT: It's a fair point you make; you don't engage in it. But you were the victim of some rumors on this subject of your viability and questions if you would drop out. How much did that hurt you?

THOMPSON: Well let's think about that. It did hurt me, and the media lapped it up. It was put out by another campaign; made no sense at all.

HOLT: Which campaign?

THOMPSON: A few days before the election and made no sense at all, and I was coming strong, and the media took it up, and spread the rumo, and probably cost me two or three points in Iowa. So the lesson there is not, you know, politicians being politicians. The lesson there is that the news media really ought to check these stories out and come to me, and ask me, and take my word for it.

HOLT: Senator, fair shot against the news media, but what candidate were you mentioning that put that out there?

THOMPSON: I'm not gonna. I owe you nothing, frankly, in that regard and I'm not going to say anything more about it right now.

BONUS COVERAGE -- ABC's Weir: Republican 'Bickering' Gives Barack 'Nice Swagger'

Discussing last night's debate with George Stephanopoulos on today's Good Morning America, Bill Weir broke out his Barack pom-poms.

BILL WEIR: The Republicans spent a good amount of time bickering about how they would run against Barack Obama, which gave him sort of a nice swagger as he walked on the stage.

The Today show actually played a clip of Mike Huckabee discussing Obama. People might disagree with the former Arkansas governor on a variety of issues, but view the video and see if this sounded at all like "bickering," or simply an analysis of Obama's appeal.

View video here.

Allah at Hot Air:

[Fred's] the only candidate on our side who’s not, essentially, a bulls**t artist. Some would say Huck falls into that category too, but he doesn’t really. He’s simply a bulls**t artist who’s exceptionally good at shoveling his bulls**t. Hence the many comparisons between him and the other man from Hope.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.