On the June 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron again did not mention evidence that former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) has taken conflicting positions on abortion since 1993. During an "exclusive national interview" with Thompson, who has strongly indicated that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination, Cameron asserted that "some say he is not pro-life enough" but did not note his inconsistent reported statements. As Media Matters for America noted, Cameron claimed on May 31 that Thompson is "consistently pro-life."
Indeed, rather than note the inconsistent statements Thompson has reportedly made on abortion, Cameron allowed him to claim that the National Right to Life Committee was the "only one who came down and sat down and interviewed" Thompson about abortion at the time. But as Media Matters noted in response to Cameron's May 31 claim, Thompson had given other interviews that covered his views on the subject of abortion. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported on July 29, 1993, that Thompson said during an interview that he "supports the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion." In contrast with that report, Thompson spokesman Mike Corallo told the Nashville Tennessean in a written statement for a June 10 article that Thompson "believes Roe v. Wade ... should be overturned."
Additionally, on June 10, The Tennessean reported that it had found documents in Thompson's Senate archive at the University of Tennessee indicating "he has previously taken positions that could be viewed as tolerating abortion." The Tennessean reported that Thompson included "a handwritten clarification" on a 1996 Christian Coalition survey that said, "I do not believe abortion should be criminalized. This battle will be won in the hearts and souls of the American people." The Tennessean also reported:
In 1996, asked by the Memphis group FLARE (Family, Life, America, Responsible Education Under God Inc.) if human life begins at conception, Thompson circled "N/A."
As Media Matters noted, The New York Sun's Latest Politics Blog reported on May 7 that Thompson indicated in a 1994 Project Vote Smart questionnaire that he believed "[a]bortions should be legal in all circumstances as long as the procedure is completed within the first trimester of the pregnancy" (while also indicating his support for numerous restrictions).
The Tennessean reported that "Thompson and his small campaign staff say he has never supported abortion rights" and that Thompson said on June 5 that "I've always thought that Roe v. Wade was a wrong decision." Both statements contrast with the 1993 Commerical Appeal report that Thompson "supports ... Roe vs. Wade." As The Tennessean noted, Thompson was quoted in an April Weekly Standard article asserting: "Although I don't remember it, I must have said something to someone as I was getting my campaign started that led to a story. Apparently, another story was based upon that story, and then another was based upon that, concluding I was pro-choice."
From the June 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
CAMERON: After lunch, the obligatory interview with the only statewide newspaper in New Hampshire, the conservative Union Leader, which has made and broken Republican presidential candidates for 50 years. Then he joined Fox News for an exclusive national interview in which he insisted he was not running as an outsider.
CAMERON: As he climbs in the polls, criticism mounts. Some say he's not pro-life enough.
THOMPSON: I got the National Right to Life endorsement in 1994 when I first ran. They were the only ones who came down and sat down and interviewed me at the time. And I had a full discussion with them. And then I proceeded to cast 100 percent votes in the anti-abortion fashion.
CAMERON: And after talking to the folks at Riley's Guns, he made clear that on gun rights, the contrast to [Republican presidential candidates Rudy] Giuliani and [Mitt] Romney matters.