Fred Thompson’s Speech at the RNC


J. Emilio Flores Getty Images

J. Emilio Flores Getty Images

Fred Thompson spoke at the RNC last night.  He really did a masterful job….especially the moving testimony of McCain’s time as a POW.  My favorite excerpts below:

On McCain’s POW experience and the examples of his character:

On October 26, 1967, on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, a surface-to-air missile slammed into John’s A-4 Skyhawk jet, blowing it out of the sky.

When John ejected, part of the plane hit him — breaking his right knee, his left arm, his right arm in three places.

An angry mob got to him.

A rifle butt broke his shoulder.

A bayonet pierced his ankle and his groin.

They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return.

John McCain said “No”.

After days of neglect, covered in grime, lying in his own waste in a filthy room, a doctor attempted to set John’s right arm without success … and without anesthesia.

His other broken bones and injuries were not treated. John developed a high fever, dysentery. He weighed barely a hundred pounds.

Expecting him to die, his captors placed him in a cell with two other POWs who also expected him to die.

But with their help, John McCain fought on.

He persevered.

So then they put him in solitary confinement…for over two years.

Isolation … incredible heat beating on a tin roof. A light bulb in his cell burning 24 hours a day.

Boarded-up cell windows blocking any breath of fresh air.

The oppressive heat causing boils the size of baseballs under his arms.

The outside world limited to what he could see through a crack in a door.

We hear a lot of talk about hope.

John McCain knows about hope. That’s all he had to survive on. For propaganda purposes, his captors offered to let him go home.

John McCain refused.

He refused to leave ahead of men who’d been there longer.

He refused to abandon his conscience and his honor, even for his freedom.

He refused, even though his captors warned him, “It will be very bad for you.”

They were right.

It was.

The guards cracked ribs, broke teeth off at the gums. They cinched a rope around his arms and painfully drew his shoulders back.

Over four days, every two to three hours, the beatings resumed. During one especially fierce beating, he fell, again breaking his arm.

John was beaten for communicating with other prisoners.

He was beaten for NOT communicating with so-called “peace delegations.”

He was beaten for not giving information during interrogations.

When his captors wanted the names of other pilots in his squadron, John gave them the names of the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers.

Whenever John was returned to his cell — walking if he could, dragged if he couldn’t — as he passed his fellow POWs, he would call out to them.

He’d smile … and give them a thumbs-up.

For five-and-a-half years this went on.

John McCain’s bones may have been broken but his spirit never was.

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be President.

But it does reveal character.

This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders.

Strength.

Courage.

Humility.

Wisdom.

Duty.

Honor.

It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, “Who is this man?” and “Can we trust this man with the Presidency?”

McCain’s proven character, honor, and service to his country really trumps anything that Obama has shown or says about his own.

On Barack’s candidacy:

To deal with these challenges the Democrats present a history making nominee for president.

History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for President. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat controlled Congress. History making because it’s the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation’s history.

Together, they would take on these urgent challenges with protectionism, higher taxes and an even bigger bureaucracy.

And a Supreme Court that could be lost to liberalism for a generation.

This is not reform.

And it’s certainly not change.

It is basically the same old stuff they’ve been peddling for years. America needs a President who understands the nature of the world we live in.

On the Democrats taxation of America:

We need a President who understands that you don’t make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don’t lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases.

They tell you they are not going to tax your family.

No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business”, like groceries or clothes or gasoline … or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business”, don’t worry … it’s not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the “other” side of the bucket! That’s their idea of tax reform.

That was one of the best points of the night!

On Sarah Palin:

Speaking of the vice presidential nominee, what a breath of fresh air Governor Sarah Palin is.

She is from a small town, with small town values, but that’s not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family.

Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit. Well, give me a tough Alaskan Governor who has taken on the political establishment in the largest state in the Union — and won — over the beltway business-as-usual crowd any day of the week.

Let’s be clear … the selection of Governor Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment.

Sound like anyone else we know?

She has run a municipality and she has run a state.

And I can say without fear of contradiction that she is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose … with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt.

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6 Responses

  1. I started to watch Fred right at the line “Now being a POW…..” so i didn’t hear what came before about the
    ordeal McCain went though in North VM. After reading it here it brought up so many thoughts and emotions.
    I’d like to state one to all the liberals out there who whine and complain about the US and torture. People water boarding and sleep deprivation may be cruel
    but what happen to John was TORTURE to the nth degree for 51/2 years. Sub human with out mercy and with the full blessing of the NVM goverment. This is what happens to Americian service people went they are capture not read their rights and given access to lawyers. This is what we are fighting against we are the good guys evil is out there and we stop it every chance we get. Wake up stop following party lines try to image if what happened to John happened to you.I bet you’d be crying for the Army, Marines, Girl Scouts anyone to make it stop.

  2. Graydon,
    Fred Thompson did a particulary good job portrayiing John McCain’s military experience….It was vivid and, most likely, not anything that most people had heard in that detail before.

    I was almost in tears…it is unimaginable what he went through as a POW.

    I agree with your post….thanks for reading!

  3. I am not a big fan of Fred Thompson, but I thought he did an exceptional job last night. If he had done that good during the Republican primaries, then he may have received a lot more votes.

  4. You know what, I respect what Mr. McCain went through for this country. But the hypocrisy of the Republican party is mindblowing. They are building their campaign around raising up a Vietnam vet. While in the last election they built their campaign around destroying a Vietnam vet.

  5. funwithpolitics,
    The campaign was not built around “destroying a Vietnam Vet in 2004.

    The truth of the matter is that John Kerry lied about his service AND publicly spoke out against his comrades while the war was still being fought.

    That is not Presidential material and thank God he was not elected.

  6. John Kerry is more like the person who leaked the photos from Guantanamo Bay. If Kerry had pics of the misconduct he reported, it’d be a whole different ballgame. However, he didn’t have pics. What do you think those soldiers at GITMO who made prisoners pose in explicit sexual positions or tortured the prisoners would have done if one of their own blew the whistle? Well, if that particular whistle blower had no evidence, they’d say it’s all of their word against his or her’s. Now what if this particular person ran for president? Well, that’d be the perfect opportunity to get some revenge and make him or her look like a chump. And that’d be easy what with all the 527 money coming in from the Republicans to produce nice commercials and documentaries to show the nation. Where were the Swift boat vets before the 2004 election? If someone was trying to “lie” about me, I would have fought them tooth and nail on day one, not 30 years later when they were running for president.

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