Fred Thompson

The Skeptic

Nov 22, 2007
Outside Magazine

You know him as the ball-busting DA from NBC's Law & Order. But Thompson's political résumé includes roles as a senator from Tennessee (1994 to 2003) and as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, which has led the fight to discredit the scientific consensus on global warming.

Battle Cry: "Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever," he said on ABC Radio's Paul Harvey show in March. "Now scientists are also telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming ... This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if [it is] inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle."

Green Chops: Under increasing public scrutiny, Thompson seems to be shifting his stance on climate change. His campaign Web site reads, "It makes sense to take reasonable steps to reduce CO2 emissions without harming our economy."

Power Points: "We've got to do a lot of different things well—renewables, alternatives, using energy sources we've got here already," Thompson said in September. But by rapidly implementing a climate plan, "not only are we going to hurt our economy; it's not going to do any good."

Hmmm: During some 20 years as a part-time Washington lobbyist, he went to bat for the nuclear industry (pushing a failed nuclear plant that squandered roughly $1.7 billion taxpayer dollars). He reportedly earned more than $750,000 lobbying to help a British reinsurance company limit its liability in asbestos-poisoning lawsuits.

Note: This candidate did not respond to our queries, but we did our homework anyway.

Filed To: Culture

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