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View Full Version : Lobbyist Fred Thompson had abortion-rights role


recxjake
07-06-2007, 09:15 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-thompson7jul07,0,54260.story?page=2&coll=la-home-center


Lobbyist Thompson had abortion-rights role
A spokesman for the GOP presidential hopeful denies he did the work, a claim an ex-colleague calls 'bizarre.'

By Michael Finnegan
Times Staff Writer
July 6, 2007

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred D. Thompson, who is campaigning for president as a "pro-life" Republican, accepted an assignment from a family-planning group to lobby the first Bush White House to ease a controversial abortion restriction, according to a 1991 document and several people familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for the former senator denied that Thompson did the lobbying work. But the minutes of a 1991 board meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn. say that the group hired Thompson that year.

His task was to urge the administration of President George H. W. Bush to withdraw or relax a rule that barred abortion counseling at clinics that receive federal money, according to the records and to people who worked on the matter.

The abortion "gag rule" was a major political flashpoint at the time. Lobbying against the rule would have placed Thompson at odds with the anti-abortion movement that he is now trying to rally behind his expected campaign for president.

Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group. "Fred Thompson did not lobby for this group, period," he said in an e-mail.

In a telephone interview, he added: "There's no documents to prove it, there's no billing records, and Thompson says he has no recollection of it, says it didn't happen." In a separate interview, John E. Sununu, the White House official whom the family planning group wanted to contact, said he had no memory of the lobbying and doubted it took place.

But Judith DeSarno, who was president of the family planning association in 1991, said Thompson lobbied for the group for several months.

Minutes from the board's meeting of Sept. 14, 1991 — a copy of which DeSarno gave to The Times — say: "Judy [DeSarno] reported that the association had hired Fred Thompson Esq. as counsel to aid us in discussions with the administration" on the abortion-counseling rule.

Former Rep. Michael D. Barnes of Maryland, a colleague at the lobbying and law firm where Thompson worked, said DeSarno had asked him to recommend someone for the lobbying work, and that he had suggested that she hire Thompson. He said it was "absolutely bizarre" for Thompson to deny that he lobbied against the abortion counseling rule.

"I talked to him while he was doing it, and I talked to [DeSarno] about the fact that she was very pleased with the work that he was doing for her organization," said Barnes, a Democrat. "I have strong, total recollection of that. This is not something I dreamed up or she dreamed up. This is fact."

DeSarno said that Thompson, after being hired, reported to her that he had held multiple conversations about the abortion "gag rule" with Sununu, who was then the White House chief of staff and the president's point man on the abortion rule.

Thompson kept her updated on his progress in telephone conversations and over meals at Washington restaurants, including dinner at Galileo and lunch at the Monocle, she said. At one of the meals, she recalled, Thompson told her that Sununu had just given him tickets for a VIP tour of the White House for one of Thompson's sons and his wife.

"It would be an odd thing for me to construct that thing out of whole cloth," DeSarno said. "It happened, and I think it's quite astonishing they're denying it."

Sununu said in a telephone interview: "I don't recall him ever lobbying me on that at all. I don't think that ever happened. In fact, I know that never happened." He added that he had "absolutely no idea" whether Thompson had met with anybody else at the White House, but said it would have been a waste of time, given the president's opposition to abortion rights.

In response to Sununu's denial, DeSarno said Thompson "owes [the family planning association] a bunch of money" if he never talked to Sununu, as he said he had.

At the time, Thompson was a lobbyist and lawyer "of counsel" to the Washington firm of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.

DeSarno said the family planning association paid the firm for Thompson's work. Marc L. Fleischaker, chairman of Arent Fox, declined to comment.

Corallo, the spokesman for Thompson, was asked Friday about the board minutes and the five people who said they recall Thompson accepting the lobbying assignment. He responded in an e-mail, saying that Thompson "may have been consulted by one of [his] firm's partners who represented this group in 1991."

Corallo said it was "not unusual for one lawyer on one side of an issue to be asked to give advice to colleagues for clients who engage in conduct or activities with which they personally disagree."

Any work that Thompson did to challenge the abortion rule could complicate his appeals to conservatives in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. He reportedly plans to join the race this month.

For weeks, Thompson has tried to pick up support from religious conservatives dissatisfied with the top GOP White House contenders, some of whom have backed abortion rights. In a videotaped message to the National Right to Life Convention in Kansas City last month, Thompson said the group's issues were "ever more profound to me as the years go by."

A senator from December 1994 to January 2003, Thompson voted along anti-abortion lines, but his statements have occasionally raised questions about his commitment to the cause.

On Fox News last month, he was asked why he checked a box on a questionnaire in his 1994 Senate campaign beside a statement saying that abortion "should be legal in all circumstances for the first three months."

"I don't remember that box," Thompson replied. "You know, it was a long time ago, and I don't know if I filled it out or my staff, based on what they thought my position was, filled it out."

The Tennessean newspaper reported that Thompson, when filling out a 1996 Christian Coalition survey, marked himself as "opposed" to a constitutional amendment protecting "the sanctity of human life." The newspaper said he included a handwritten notation saying: "I do not believe abortion should be criminalized. This battle will be won in the hearts and souls of the American people."

But in recent weeks, Thompson has described himself as fundamentally "pro-life," saying the issue has "meant a little more to me" since seeing the sonogram of his daughter, who is now 3.

Best known for playing a district attorney on NBC-TV's "Law and Order," Thompson worked as a part-time lobbyist over nearly three decades, both before and after his Senate term. His clients included a General Electric aircraft-engine maker, Westinghouse Electric Corp. and the Equitas insurance company.

DeSarno and others said the family planning group hired Thompson shortly after the Supreme Court upheld the "gag rule" in 1991. That ruling led to a protracted tussle between Bush and Congress. The rule was eliminated in 1993 by President Clinton on his third day in office.

In addition to Barnes and DeSarno, three other people said they recalled Thompson lobbying against the rule on behalf of the family planning association.

"We were looking, of course, for a Republican who might have some inroads to the White House at that time, and so that's how she came upon contacting him," said Susan Cohen, a member of the association's board of directors in 1991, referring to DeSarno and Thompson.

"I definitely recall her reaching out to [Thompson] and engaging him in some way, and trying to squeeze the White House through him," said Bill Hamilton, then-director of the Washington office of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The group was DeSarno's main ally in lobbying on the abortion-counseling rule.

Sarah L. Szanton, who worked for DeSarno as director of government relations for the family planning association, said that she too recalled that Thompson "consulted on our behalf against the gag rule."

"I remember that he did it," Szanton said. "I just knew he was part of the good fight."

The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn. is a Washington nonprofit organization that represents family planning clinics and other groups. It advocates broad access to birth control and "reproductive freedom."

recxjake
07-06-2007, 09:16 PM
First Romney, now Fred.... I can't stand flip flopping on issues depending on what elected office you are running for.

HolmeZz
07-06-2007, 09:22 PM
Almost like Rudy saying he respects a woman's right to choose, but that he'd appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

recxjake
07-06-2007, 09:25 PM
Almost like Rudy saying he respects a woman's right to choose, but that he'd appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

He has never said he would appoint a judge that would overturn Roe V Wade.

recxjake
07-06-2007, 09:29 PM
Almost like Rudy saying he respects a woman's right to choose, but that he'd appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

How are the Democrats going to win this election if Rudy is putting states like New Jersey and California in play?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/nj/new_jersey_giuliani_vs_clinton-247.html

BucEyedPea
07-06-2007, 09:30 PM
Almost like Rudy saying he respects a woman's right to choose, but that he'd appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
He said strict constructionists.
What are you afraid of with a strict reading of the Constitution?
Sounds like code to a liberal that the Constitution protects life as the first duty of govt...and that means Roe vs Wade could be overturned?

recxjake
07-06-2007, 09:33 PM
He said strict constructionists.
What are you afraid of with a strict reading of the Constitution?
Sounds like code to a liberal that the Constitution protects life as the first duty of govt...and that means Roe vs Wade could be overturned?

Exactly, Rudy wants judges that don't legislate from the bench. He has said that he will have no litmus test for any judge he appoints.

HolmeZz
07-06-2007, 09:36 PM
He said strict constructionists.
What are you afraid of with a strict reading of the Constitution?
Sounds like code to a liberal that the Constitution protects life as the first duty of govt...and that means Roe vs Wade could be overturned?

No, the follow up to the abortion question was 'who's the ideal type of judge that you'd nominate?' and he specifically named Thomas and Scalia. It was completely calculated.

BucEyedPea
07-06-2007, 09:53 PM
No, the follow up to the abortion question was 'who's the ideal type of judge that you'd nominate?' and he specifically named Thomas and Scalia. It was completely calculated.
So what are you saying here:

1) That he picked those two to make the base happy

or

2) He really supports RvW being overturned because of those types of judge?


There's always a third possibility...he would appoint such judges but feels RW can't be overturned and the abortion issue is a dead letter so it doesn't matter.

HolmeZz
07-06-2007, 10:01 PM
So what are you saying here:

1) That he picked those two to make the base happy

or

2) He really supports RvW being overturned because of those types of judge?


There's always a third possibility...he would appoint such judges but feels RW can't be overturned and the abortion issue is a dead letter so it doesn't matter.

He's pro-choice. He's just made a concerted effort to try and have it both ways. It's really no different than what Romney's done, except Rudy's been better with the rhetoric. But Jake is only going to get on anyone who's not Rudy for that.

BucEyedPea
07-06-2007, 10:04 PM
He's pro-choice. He's just made a concerted effort to try and have it both ways, to appeal to the right. It's really no different than what Romney's done, except Rudy's been better with the rhetoric. But Jake is only going to get on anyone who's not Rudy for that.
Possibly, but I really don't buy Rudy being as phoney as Mitt.
He has gone on the record as being pro-choice now...and I believe him to be honest on that. If other conservatives haven't delivered on strict constructionist judges, then I just don't bank on Rudy's promise even if sincere and you and I have no way of really knowing that for certain.

jAZ
07-06-2007, 10:08 PM
He said strict constructionists.
What are you afraid of with a strict reading of the Constitution?
Sounds like code to a liberal that the Constitution protects life as the first duty of govt...and that means Roe vs Wade could be overturned?
In a constitutional sense, there is no such thing as a strict constructionist. It's a marketing term. Not a legal one.

recxjake
07-06-2007, 10:08 PM
From Rudy's site:

Rudy Giuliani supports reasonable restrictions on abortion such as parental notification with a judicial bypass and a ban on partial birth abortion – except when the life of the mother is at stake. He’s proud that adoptions increased 66% while abortions decreased over 16% in New York City when he was Mayor. But Rudy understands that this is a deeply personal moral dilemma, and people of good conscience can disagree respectfully.



Rudy Giuliani served as the third highest ranking official in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department, worked as a US Attorney, and argued cases before the Supreme Court. He understands the responsibility the President has to appoint and nominate federal judges. The kind of judges he has said he would appoint are strict constructionists like Justices Scalia, Roberts and Alito – principled individuals who can be trusted to respect the Constitution as it is written, rather than attempting to legislate from the bench.

Great video of Rudy explaining the type of judges he will appoint:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid626962068?bclid=662538597&bctid=1078629588

penchief
07-06-2007, 10:11 PM
First Romney, now Fred.... I can't stand flip flopping on issues depending on what elected office you are running for.

My head is spinning. Rudy seems like he's flip-flopped more than John Kerry on steroids.

BucEyedPea
07-06-2007, 10:12 PM
In a constitutional sense, there is no such thing as a strict constructionist. It's a marketing term. Not a legal one.
It depends on who hears it.
It has meaning to people like me but it means more an originalist pov.

recxjake
07-06-2007, 10:13 PM
My head is spinning. Rudy seems like he's flip-flopped more than John Kerry on steroids.

ahhh... can you name one?

penchief
07-06-2007, 10:15 PM
ahhh... can you name one?

His stance on a woman's right to decide for herself what to do with her own body and life. Go ahead and give me your talking points but anyone that pays attention knows that his tune is completely different than it was before he he decided to go after the fundamentalist base.

On another topic, I'll ask you because I don't know for sure. What used to be his stance on gay marraige and what is it now?

recxjake
07-06-2007, 10:21 PM
His stance on a woman's right to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies and lives. Go ahead and give me your talking points but anyone that pays attention knows that his tune is completely different than it was before he he decided to go after the fundamentalist base.

On another topic, I'll ask you because I don't know for sure. What used to be his stance on gay marraige and what is it now?


Rudy Giuliani believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He does not - and has never - supported gay marriage. But he believes in equal rights under law for all Americans. That's why he supports domestic partnerships that provide stability for committed partners in important legal and personal matters, while preserving the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.



On your first point.....

He has not flipped at all.... he has always been pro-choice... unlike Mitt Romney who was pro-choice in 2005... his views don't change depending on what office he is running for.

penchief
07-06-2007, 10:29 PM
Rudy Giuliani believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He does not - and has never - supported gay marriage. But he believes in equal rights under law for all Americans. That's why he supports domestic partnerships that provide stability for committed partners in important legal and personal matters, while preserving the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

And has he hardened or softened his stance one way or the other since deciding to woo the fundamenatlist base of the republican party? He's exactly the same as Romney when it comes to that issue. To try to parse words or play a game of semantics is not productive to the process. Just admit it. Guiliani has taken a completely different tact when it comes to a woman's right to choose for herself than he did before he knew he had to cater to the holier than thou crowd.

And if you and I were betting people (which I'm not). I'd bet that you'd get a much different response from the cross-dressing Guiliani about gay marriage as the mayor of NYC then you're getting from Guiliani, the hopeful successor of the intolerant, divisive, and greedy right wing of this country.

HolmeZz
07-06-2007, 10:47 PM
Giuliani talking about the sanctity of marriage is hypocritical in itself, is it not?

BucEyedPea
07-06-2007, 10:50 PM
Giuliani talking about the sanctity of marriage is hypocritical in itself, is it not?
Have to agree here. He's a serial monogamist.

trndobrd
07-06-2007, 10:53 PM
ahhh... can you name one?

What's Rudy's position on the 2nd Ammendment today?

recxjake
07-06-2007, 10:55 PM
What's Rudy's position on the 2nd Ammendment today?

Second Amendment
Rudy Giuliani is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. When he was Mayor of a city suffering an average of almost 2000 murders a year, he protected people by getting illegal handguns out of the hands of criminals. As a result, shootings fell by 72% and the murder rate was cut by two-thirds. But Rudy understands that what works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Mississippi or Montana.

ClevelandBronco
07-06-2007, 11:06 PM
I really don't know why the left gets all worked up over the sanctity of Roe v. Wade. If it does get overturned that just means that we'll have 50 different sets of laws on how to handle abortion. Some will be more strict, some will be less so, and the 50 sets of laws will better reflect the will of the people than Roe's imaginary foundation on a Constitutional right of privacy.

I'd venture a guess that you or your girlfriend will still be able to get your drive-thru abortion in most states.

BucEyedPea
07-06-2007, 11:08 PM
I really don't know why the left gets all worked up over the sanctity of Roe v. Wade. If it does get overturned that just means that we'll have 50 different sets of laws on how to handle abortion. Some will be more strict, some will be less so, and the 50 sets of laws will better reflect the will of the people than Roe's imaginary foundation on a Constitutional right of privacy.

I'd venture a guess that you or your girlfriend will still be able to get your drive-thru abortion in most states.

Well put ! :thumb:

trndobrd
07-07-2007, 01:20 AM
Second Amendment
Rudy Giuliani is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. When he was Mayor of a city suffering an average of almost 2000 murders a year, he protected people by getting illegal handguns out of the hands of criminals. As a result, shootings fell by 72% and the murder rate was cut by two-thirds. But Rudy understands that what works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Mississippi or Montana.


Thanks. You cut and pasted the same talking point last time I asked the question*. Let me be more specific....

As mayor of New York, the Giuliani administration initiated lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. The suit was based on the idea that the manufacturer of a legal product (a firearm) is financially liable to a governmental entity for an illegal use of the product by a third party.

These suits have been described as a tool to hinder the manufacture of an otherwise legal product, or a simple shakedown by local governments.

What was Giuliani's goal with these suits, and as President will he support the repeal of measures prohibiting such lawsuits?


*For a major campaign, those are some amateurish talking points.

Logical
07-07-2007, 02:55 AM
Second Amendment
Rudy Giuliani is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. When he was Mayor of a city suffering an average of almost 2000 murders a year, he protected people by getting illegal handguns out of the hands of criminals. As a result, shootings fell by 72% and the murder rate was cut by two-thirds. But Rudy understands that what works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Mississippi or Montana.ROFLROFLROFL

Oh please you are killing me, the more you support him the less I want to vote for him.

HolmeZz
07-07-2007, 03:36 AM
Jakes knows Rudy's positions so well that he needs to copy and paste them from his website.

jAZ
07-07-2007, 09:57 AM
It depends on who hears it.
It has meaning to people like me but it means more an originalist pov.
Exactly, because it means what you want it to, Rudy can say he's a strict constructionist. It has no fixed meaning in the law.