Friday, October 19, 2012

Tommy Bombs Debate & His Own Strategy

You could see it coming a mile away.  Tommy Thompson, his campaign and his special interest allies were planning to attack hard on the issue of Iran policy yesterday.  Just think about the premeditation that went into it for a moment. Someone poured over contributions to his opponent and found a group that they could misuse in an effort to feed their false narrative.  Then someone likely gave the information to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which ran it as front page news.  On the same day the Thompson campaign had John "Bomb Bomb Iran" McCain come into town to endorse him. In a surprise to absolutely no one John McCain brought up Iran policy.

Now I could be wrong here but something tells me that a campaign does not put in all of this effort and coordinate all of these elements unless they are planning to use it in what they think will be a major attack.  But what they probably didn't count on was the keen ability of their own blustering and arrogant candidate to drop his own bomb on the entire effort in the middle of a statewide televised debate.

As was first revealed in the Huffington Post and then in the middle of the debate, in spite of Tommy's bluster and tough talk on Iran, he actually had significant investments in companies that did business with Iran. Not only did these companies do business with Iran but at least one of them specifically worked with Iran in the mining of uranium. Here are the specifics from the original report:
According to Thompson's personal financial disclosure, he owns up $50,000 worth of stock in such firms. Some of the smaller investments include up to $1,000 in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation, which were all cited in a recent Government Accountability Office study as having done business with Iran. Thompson owns up to $17,000 worth of stock in Royal Dutch Shell, which the GAO also named, and between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in oil services firm Schlumberger, which has been probed by the Justice Department over its Iran work. Perhaps most significantly, Thompson owns between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in the mining operation Rio Tinto, which is partners with Iran in mining uranium. Iran owns 15 percent of a uranium mining operation in Namibia with Rio Tinto.
When this issue came up in the debate, Tommy tried plead ignorance.  Rather than taking personal responsibility for his own personal investments he decided to blame his stockbroker.  As Jeff Simpson has already pointed out, this excuse simply does not pass the smell test.  Tommy is the person that signs his own financial disclosure forms and he is the person that is responsible for knowing what is in them and that the information is accurate.  These disclosures were the source for the Huffington Post story and those documents had been filed some time ago.

During the portion of the debate where this issue was addressed, Tommy managed to get audible reactions from an otherwise polite live audience.  But he didn't get reactions in a good way. First they moaned and booed him for using bully tactics and then they laughed AT HIM when he admitted that he just sold those investments in Iran "today".  The debate garnered strong ratings last night and I can't imagine that the audience at home had much of a different reaction than those actually at the event.

Yes, the Thompson campaign strategy on Iran policy was misleading but you have to admit that they certainly planned it out from beginning to end.  What they apparently didn't plan on was that their own bombastic candidate would bomb so badly in the debate and then proceed to carpet bomb that carefully crafted campaign strategy.

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