by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2008
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson says he’s staying in the race for the GOP nomination after a third place showing in Iowa. Thompson, who had banked on more support from pro-life voters, likely won’t fare well in New Hampshire but hopes his finish in the Midwestern state will keep him going until South Carolina.
Thompson ultimately finished with 15,521 votes and a third place finish just ahead of John McCain. Mike Huckabee won Iowa with 34 percent of the vote and Mitt Romney came in second with 25 percent.
After the results were announced, Thompson told a crowd at a campaign rally that he thanked Huckabee and Romney for a hard fought race in Iowa.
However, he said he looked forward to the New Hampshire contest on Tuesday.
"It looks like somebody is going to need to carry a strong, consistent, conservative message — and it looks like it ought to be me,” Thompson said. "It’s pretty clear that we’re going to have a ticket to the next dance.”
The former Tennessee senator insisted that he still thought Republicans would warm up to his candidacy and make him the nominee.
"I’d be less than honest with you if I didn’t think I believe I am that man," he said. "And with your help I will be that man."
"Let’s go out and shock the world," he told a crowd in Iowa this morning as he made his way to New Hampshire. "Let’s do something great for our country!"
Before the caucus began on Thursday, Thompson rebuked reports that he may be leaving the presidential race if he finishes lower than third in Iowa tonight.
He said he didn’t know why a staff member of his campaign would spread the rumor that he would vacate the race after a poor showing and endorse John McCain.
“Any speculation as to what I may or may not do is just totally that,” he told CNN’s John Roberts.
“It’s obvious that someone in the campaign thought it was to their advantage to put that out. I have never said that. I have never implied that in public or in private. You should take that for what it’s worth," he added.
“Nobody’s talking about any kind of a scenario past tonight," he told CNN. "I mean you look and see and the whole world changes…you have to analyze the results and go from there.”
Instead, Thompson predicted that the experts would be wrong and that a strong Iowa finish would propel him to his next battle in South Carolina.
"I’m not planning any pessimistic scenario. I think that we’ve got a great opportunity, it’s going to be better than a lot of the so-called experts think," he said.
Thompson has campaigned on a strong pro-life platform — opposing both abortion and embryonic stem cell research — and earned the endorsement of National Right to Life and several pro-life groups.