[see UPDATES at end of post]
Fred Thompson, who is exploring the possibilty of a presidential candidacy, went on Fox News Sunday yesterday, strongly criticized Roe v. Wade and said the answer to it was "good judges." But on this morning's "Today," Andrea Mitchell flatly stated that Thompson doesn't want to overturn Roe. So where does Thompson stand on Roe, and how can we explain Today's depiction of his views?
For answers, let's go to the videotape. The first portion of the clip is from this morning's "Today," the second portion from Thompson's Fox News Sunday appearance yesterday.On "Today," laying out Thompson's positions on key issues, Andrea Mitchell stated Thompson is "anti-abortion but opposes overturning Roe v. Wade." Where did she get that from? A good clue comes from the fact that just previously she had just played a clip of Thompson's appearance on yesterday's Fox News Sunday. While the clip had nothing to do with abortion [Thompson merely described his rationale for a possible run], it does demonstrate that Mitchell had watched Thompson's appearance and was likely relying on it as the latest, best evidence of his views.
Conclusion: on all the evidence, I believe Thompson's statement on Fox strongly suggests he favors overturning Roe. My sense is that Mitchell and NBC didn't intentionally misrepresent his position, but might have heard what they were hoping to hear.
UPDATE AP vs. NBC! AP watched the same Thompson appearance on Fox News Sunday and came to precisely the opposite conclusion as to Thompson's position on overturning Roe. Check this excerpt from an AP article, which ironically I found on MSNBC's website. According to A, appearing on FNC, Thompson said he is "pro-life, and believes federal judges should overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision as "bad law and bad medical science."
UPDATE 3-13: Now it's MSNBC vs. NBC! My MRC colleague Rich Noyes reports that at about 9:13am EDT, interviewing Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein and Republican strategist Phil Musser about Fred Thompson's presidential prospects, MSNBC anchor Amy Robach stated that Thompson: "is in support of overturning Roe v. Wade, he opposes gay marriage, he opposes gun control. He supports the Iraq surge, he favors the Scooter Libby pardon -- this is what we know so far. I mean, Phil, do you think he could be the next Ronald Reagan?" MSNBC also displayed the graphic shown indicating that Thompson supports overturning Roe. Will NBC and Andrea now correct her claim of yesterday that Thompson opposes overturning Roe?Mark has law degrees from SUNY Buffalo and Harvard. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org