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Trying to catch up with presidential hopeful Fred
Thompson is a lot like the politician-turned-actor’s hunt for the Red October
submarine in his 1990 film. But
instead of traversing the ocean depths, I found myself driving through miles of
open fields and cow pastures to a town named Tama. It was here Fred Thompson appealed to potential voters in
the King Tower Café. Decades of
town relics and murals depicting the local native American tribe were plastered
with “Fred ’08” signs and American flags in preparation for the
former senator. Confused locals
who had no idea about the event, scattered like fish escaping a depth charge
when they figured out what was going on.
But there’s no escaping the fact that Thompson is one of the hardest
candidates to track and catch up with this political season.

Thanks
to the efforts of my producer, I was fortunate enough to stake out a spot at
this remote diner before Thompson arrived. Just like clockwork, 1:30 pm rolled around and the towering
6 foot 6 man entered a dining hall filled with senior citizens and young men
wearing Ronald Reagan themed shirts.
Fred was here, I was ready, and for all intents and purposes my mission
was almost over.

Thompson
gave his usual stump speech about bringing consistent conservatism to
America. Thankfully Fred’s
organizers let the
media stand wherever we could get a good shot. Because the setting was a small diner, we ended up pushed
against tables and the edges of dirty lunch plates; obstructing the views of
many people who thought they would have a clear vision path because they came
early and grabbed a table. Tripods
were out of the question, so I stood front and center holding the camera as
steady as possible-watching the time code roll as Thompson made fun of a camera
guy who ducked low while he ran dead across the candidate’s
stage.

Then,
almost as soon as Thompson’s campaign bus rolled in and radically changed a
small diner for one afternoon, he was gone. Who knows where Fred went next. My producer had no clue because Fred’s campaign only
released a partial schedule for the day.
So it was off again into the depths of Iowa for the Thompson ’08 bus,
and my hunt for Fred Thompson was over-at least for now.

PMCamThompson