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Thompson Puts More Distance on Immigration With the White House

Stamford, Connecticut — In what may be a growing trend among Republicans trying to succeed George W. Bush in ’08, Fred Thompson last night put more distance between himself and the White House over the controversial immigration reform package now being debated in the Senate.

“They [the Administration] have their view, I have mine,” the former Tennessee senator told me before the Connecticut Republican Party’s annual Prescott Bush dinner here last night.  “And they’re just trying to ram this thing through”– a reference to the limited, two-week debate in the Senate on the measure that the White House has placed a high priority on enacting.

When I recalled to Thompson (who has yet to announce his candidacy) how White House Press Secretary Tony Snow last week referred to denunciations of the immigration package by Mitt Romney, Thompson and other Republicans as “mischaracterizations,” he simply replied: “I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t read the exact quote.”

In his remarks to the audience of 600-plus Republicans at the Stamford Sheraton, Thompson hit hard at the problem of illegal immigration as a classic case of what he considers the “biggest problem” Republicans have — the “disconnect” between Washington and the people. It has been twelve years ago, he noted, that a fence along the Mexican border was first proposed as a means of curbing illegal immigration and it is still far from complete.  Why trust the government  now, he asked his audience.  Thompson’s 25-minute address was punctuated by several prolonged invasions and shouts of “Run, Fred, Run!”

Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol has predicted that the 64-year-old former senator and televison actor will make an official declaration of candidacy on July 11, one day before he is scheduled to appear on Jay Leno’s late-night television program.  When I asked Thompson about his plans, he chuckled and told me:  “I’m not announcing anything tonight!”

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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