It Wasn’t Fred's Truck

Legend of Thompson as scrappy, itinerant candidate may be just that
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2007 12:40 PM CDT
Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., talks on the phone in the Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole's Capitol office, Dec. 15, 1994, before delivering the official Republican response from Dole's office to President...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Banish the legend of Fred Thompson as the down-home, Chevvy-driving election slayer, says a journalist who covered Thompson's 1994 Tennessee Senate race.  Much is made of his come-from-behind victory over Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, who led  by 21 points nine months before Voting Day. But it's bogus, says Politico’s Aaron Gould Sheinin.

The victory was due as much to a perfect political storm blowing in Fred's direction as it was to his campaign chops. Cooper saw little party backing with which to withstand the GOP's Contract With America sweep, says Sheinin. Indeed Bill Frist won the other Tennessee Senate race by a similar margin. Still, the truck played its part. Said an adviser: it made Fred “a much more relaxed, confident candidate.”