THOMPSON: I want to see how my colleagues who are on the campaign trail do now, what they say, what they emphasize, what they’re addressing, and how successful they are in doing that, and whether or not they can carry the ball in next November, and mainly whether or not they can reach the American people, inspire the American people to do the tough things that we’re going to need to do.
CHRIS WALLACE: And if you search your soul and if you listen to what they’re all saying and it doesn’t seem to you that they’re catching on, making sense — whatever — then what?
THOMPSON: Well, I’m going to give it serious consideration.
Where does he stand on the issues?
WALLACE: Let’s do a lightning round — quick questions, quick answers, a variety of issues — to see where Fred Thompson stands.
THOMPSON: Um hmm.
WALLACE: Would you like to overturn Roe. …
THOMPSON: You said lightning round, now. If you want …
WALLACE: Well, let’s go.
THOMPSON: … more, give me another question. I’ll work through it.
WALLACE: Do you want to overturn Roe vs. Wade?
THOMPSON: I think Roe vs. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges. I don’t think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country. It’s contrary to what it’s been the past 200 years.
We have a process in this country to do that. Judges shouldn’t be doing that. That’s what happened in that case. I think it was wrong.
WALLACE: Gay rights.
THOMPSON: Gay rights? I think that we ought to be a tolerant nation. I think we ought to be tolerant people. But we shouldn’t set up special categories for anybody.
And I’m for the rights of everybody, including gays, but not any special rights.
WALLACE: So, gay marriage? You’re against.
THOMPSON: Yes. You know, marriage is between a man and a woman, and I don’t believe judges ought to come along and change that.
WALLACE: What about civil unions?
THOMPSON: I think that that ought to be left up to the states. I personally do not think that that is a good idea, but I believe in many of these cases where there’s real dispute in the country, these things are not going to be ever resolved.
People are going to have different ideas. That’s why we have states. We ought to give great leeway to states and not have the federal government and not have the Supreme Court of the United States making social policy that’s contrary to the traditions of this country and changing that overnight. And that’s what’s happened in a lot of these areas.
WALLACE: Gun control.
THOMPSON: Well, I’m against gun control generally. You know, you check my record. You’ll find I’m pretty consistent on that issue.
WALLACE: So this federal court — appeals court ruling this last week, I guess Friday, in the case of D.C. — you’d be perfectly happy to have people have handguns in their homes?
THOMPSON: Yes. Absolutely. The court basically said the Constitution means what it says, and I agree with that.
WALLACE: On the other hand, you have taken some stands that conservatives may not like. For instance, you voted for John McCain’s campaign finance reform.
THOMPSON: I came from the outside to Congress. And it always seemed strange to me. We’ve got a situation where people could give politicians huge sums of money, which is the soft money situation at that time, and then come before those same politicians and ask them to pass legislation for them.
I mean, you get thrown in jail for stuff like that in the real world. And so I always thought that there was some reasonable limitation that ought to be put on that, and you know, looking back on history, Barry Goldwater in his heyday felt the same thing.
So that’s not a non-conservative position, although I agree that a lot of people have interpreted it that way.
WALLACE: You also favor comprehensive immigration reform. I want to…
THOMPSON: No, no, no, no.
WALLACE: Well, let me put up on the screen something that you said last year about illegals, and let’s take a look at it. “You’re going to have to, in some way, work out a deal where they can have some aspirations of citizenship but not make it so easy that it’s unfair to the people waiting in line and abiding by the law.”
Now, you said, “Look, it’s just not realistic that we’re going to round up 12 million people and ship them all out of the country.”
THOMPSON: Well, that’s true, as a general statement. We woke up one day after years of neglect and apparently discovered that we have somewhere between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens in this country. So it became an impossible situation to deal with.
I mean, there’s really no good solution. So what do you do? You have to start over. Well, I’m concerned about the next 12 million or 20 million. So that’s why enforcement, and enforcement at the border, has to be primary.
I think most people feel disillusioned after 1986 when we had this deal offered to them before, and now we’re insisting that, you know, we solve the security problem first, and then we’ll talk about what to do with regard to other things — certainly no amnesty or nothing blanket like that.
But figure out some way to make some differentiation between the kind of people that we have here.
You know, if you have the right kind of policies, and you’re not encouraging people to come here and encouraging them to stay once they’re here, they’ll go back, many of them, of their own volition, instead of having to, you know, load up moving vans and rounding people up. That’s not going to happen.
There’s more on where he stands on the issues at that Fox News link.
Patterico wonders how, if Thompson runs, that the left will attempt to trash him.