Tommy Thompson's Arrogant Campaign Strategy: Dodge Debates, Hide Your Tax Returns, Go to Lots of Tea Parties

Aug 26, 2012

Since the general election began, Tommy Thompson has faced repeated calls to release his tax returns and agree to debates. Avoiding these tough questions, Thompson has stopped appearing anywhere but in front of Tea Party groups, and is now heading to Tampa for a week of fundraising and campaigning with Mitt Romney. While in Tampa Thompson will endorse a Republican platform that contains the Akin Plank on women’s health that Tommy helped write in 2000.

In front of these friendly Tea Party and GOP convention delegates, Thompson won’t be facing the same calls to release his taxes and agree to debates that he has faced repeatedly here in Wisconsin, but they will be waiting for him when he returns.

“I understand Tommy Thompson doesn’t want to answer the repeated calls to release his tax returns and agree to debates, but hiding from Wisconsin voters and the media won’t make them go away,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “Secretary Thompson would rather keep his policies of taxing the middle class to make multimillionaires like him richer, his authorship of the Todd Akin Republican plank, and how he made his millions in Washington D.C. secret because the more the people learn of Thompson the more they realize he has changed and is not for them anymore.”


Thompson Did Not Hold Any Public Events the Week of Aug 19-26. The second week after winning the primary, Thompson did not hold any public events, attending only a pharmaceutical convention and a Tea Party event. [Milwaukee County GOP, calendar 8/26/2012; Pharmacy Society Convention, 8/23/2012]

Thompson Has Not Accepted Baldwin’s Debate Challenge. In August 2012, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: “Also, both campaigns agreed that Baldwin and Thompson will face off in television debates before the election. Baldwin challenged the winner of the Republican primary on Tuesday night – before Thompson was declared the winner – to three debates. But the Thompson camp said it is too early to address specifics.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/15/2012]

WBAY: Thompson Has “No Planned Upcoming Events For His Campaign In [The Green Bay] Area At This Time.” In an August 2012 newscast, WBAY Action 2 News reported, “We reached out to [Thompson’s] campaign headquarters, who say the Republican candidate has no planned upcoming events for his campaign in this area at this time.” [WBAY Action 2 News, 8/20/12]

Journal Sentinel Editorial: Thompson Should Release Tax Returns, Dispel Doubts. In an August 2012 editorial, the Journal Sentinel wrote, “His refusal to release even a single year of his tax returns stokes doubts about exactly how he made his money during the years since he left public service and who might try to influence him if he became a U.S. senator.” [Journal Sentinel, Editorial, 8/21/12]

Green Bay Press Gazette Editorial: Voters Deserve Look At Candidates’ Finances. In an August 2012 editorial, the Green Bay Press Gazette wrote, “We aren’t talking about people running for county office or the state Legislature. We’re talking about candidates for the highest offices in the land. These are people who could be writing or voting on imposing taxes or proposing tax cuts. Voters deserve to know whether these candidates are beholden to any special interests.” [Green Bay Press Gazette, Editorial, 8/23/12]

Thompson Included a Constitutional Amendment Banning Abortions Even In Cases Of Rape, Incest and When the Life Of The Mother is in Danger While Drafting The 2000 Republican Party Platform. The Capital Times reported that Thompson moved away from his more moderate pro-life stance in 2000: “Not long after he uttered those words, Bush made Thompson the idea man  tapping the four-term governor to chair the committee charged with drawing up the 2000 Republican platform…The current plank pledges Republicans will appoint only judges opposed to protecting reproductive rights, who favor blocking any taxpayer funding of abortions and who will punish doctors who perform abortions. It also supports a constitutional amendment banning abortion even in cases where rape, incest and a threat to the life of the mother are involved.” [Capital Times, 7/29/2000]

Former Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Said Thompson’s Hardline Stance on Abortion In GOP Platform Would Alienate “Millions” Of Voters. In June 2000, the Associated Press reported: “Anti-abortion language in the Republican platform for 2000 will divide the party and alienate many Republicans, an abortion-rights supporter told a GOP platform hearing Friday. An abortion opponent argued that softening the anti-abortion plank would ‘alienate millions of pro-life voters’ and erode the base of support of the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, George W. Bush… Antoinette Rosell, a longtime activist in the Montana Republican party who served in the state Legislature and ran for U.S. Senate in 1964, told the panel that if she were running today, she most likely couldn’t secure the party’s nomination because of her stance in support of abortion rights. ‘Fortunately, I wasn’t faced with any ‘litmus test’ back in those days,’ Rosell said. ‘My religious and moral beliefs were my own. It was a pleasure to serve people who respected that.’ The best thing the party could do would be to drop any mention of abortion from the platform, said Rosell, who spoke on behalf of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition.” [Associated Press, 6/23/2000]

Republicans for Choice Chair Called Anti-Abortion Language a “Fraud.” In July 2000, United Press International reported: “Republican Platform Committee members approved about half of the proposed platform document Friday after four hours of debate in which they again rejected efforts to change a strict pro-life stance … After the defeat of amendment proposals in subcommittee earlier in the day, Ann Stone, co-chair of Republicans for Choice, said they would pursue the issue with the convention delegate committee on Monday, and even to the floor of the convention if possible. She called the platform language supporting a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion ‘a fraud perpetrated on people on the other side.’” [United Press International, 7/28/2000]

Thompson Called The GOP Platform “Exciting, Dynamic, Visionary.” In July 2000, United Press International reported: “Republican Platform Committee members approved about half of the proposed platform document Friday after four hours of debate in which they again rejected efforts to change a strict pro-life stance. The committee, under its chairman, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, singled out four sections of the document for fine-tuning. Earlier in the day, subcommittees worked over the full document. Thompson called the platform ‘exciting, dynamic, visionary’ and more compassionate than any produced previously by the GOP.” [United Press International, 7/28/2000]

LA Times Headline: “Abortion Foe [Thompson] to Lead GOP Platform Committee.” “George W. Bush has put a staunch abortion foe, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, in charge of the platform committee for the Republican National Convention. The appointment, announced Monday by the Republican National Committee, suggests the party is unlikely to step away from its blanket opposition to the procedure, a stance that prompted dissension from GOP moderates before the 1996 convention in San Diego.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/2/00]