Since officially announcing his bid for the presidency, Fred Thompson has acquired a reputation for not being the most vigorous campaigner around. While other candidates regularly log 16- to 18-hour days with as many events as their planners can cram in, Thompson has been generally content to limit himself to a much more leisurely schedule.
In addition, he has at times demonstrated a less-than-encyclopedic grasp of issues, recently referring to “the Soviet Union” when he apparently meant “Russia,” expressing ignorance of major death penalty rulings, and generally coming across as folksy, yet uninformed.
Now the Thompson brain trust has decided to turn the lemon of their candidate’s shaky work ethic into the lemonade of an indelible campaign gimmick. “Fred’s first Senate race was the race of the red truck; this is going to be race of the couch,” says a source in the Thompson camp.
Staffers have been quietly shopping at various furniture stores around Nashville for a couch that can be moved from event to event, and from which Thompson will campaign. “We’re looking for one that has some red, white and blue in it, and it also has to be made of a durable and easy-to-clean material,” says a campaign source. “A big guy like Fred really gives a couch a workout, so this thing needs to stand up to heavy-duty use.”
“Think of it,” another staffer says. “We’ll carry out the couch, and the crowd will go wild. Then Fred can amble out and have a seat on it—or maybe even lie down. The crowd will go even more nuts.
“He can portray this whole ‘lazy’ rap as a figment of the mainstream media by making fun of it this way. You remember from Law & Order how good Fred looks sitting down and barking orders? He is very commanding from a sitting position.”