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Thompson Attacks Fox News

Fred Thompson attacked Fox News on Sunday for what he called a "constant mantra" that his floundering campaign for president is troubled, and he accused the network of skewing things against him.

Thompson certainly isn't the first politician to make that accusation, but he's the first high-profile Republican to do so.

The assertion was arresting because Fox News was frequently Thompson's forum of choice when he was contemplating a campaign and as he tried to find his footing after he announced.

Where did Thompson do it? On "Fox News Sunday," in a heated exchange with host Chris Wallace, who played clips of Fox commentators saying his campaign had been a disappointment.

"It's a lot of the same kind of stuff that I heard when I first ran for office, when I was 20 points down. And fortunately, I wound up 20 points ahead on election night," Thompson said.

"This has been a constant mantra of Fox, to tell you the truth. And I saw the promo ... for this show, and it was kind of featuring the New Hampshire poll. Let's put things in context a little bit, to start with."

Thompson was referring to a CNN/WMUR poll that showed his support in the Granite State had collapsed to 4 percent, putting him in sixth place among the Republican presidential hopefuls.

Referring to Fox commentators, Thompson said: "From Day One, they said I got in too late, I couldn't do it ... wouldn't raise enough money, and that sort of thing. And that's their opinion. They're entitled to their opinion. But that doesn't seem to be shared by the cross section of American people. If you look at the national polls, you'll see that I'm running second and have been running second for a long time."

The latest Real Clear Politics average of national polls does have the former Tennessee senator in second place, far behind former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and slightly ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"They're entitled to their opinion," Thompson continued. "But for you to highlight nothing but the negative in terms of these polls, and then put on your own guys, who have been predicting for four months, really, that I couldn't do it, you know, kind of skews things a little bit."

In April, when Thompson wanted to reveal that he had battled lymphoma, now in remission, he chose Fox anchor Neil Cavuto. Last month, when his wife, Jeri, was being criticized in the press, the two of them went on Fox's "Hannity & Colmes" for a respectful joint interview.

Now, though, he's none too happy with Fox. Here's a bit more of the exchange between host and candidate:

WALLACE: Do you know anybody who thinks you've run a great campaign, sir?

THOMPSON: It's not for me to come here and try to convince you that somebody else thinks that I've run a great campaign.

WALLACE: Well, but that's why I ...

THOMPSON: I'm talking about — no, let me ask you ...

WALLACE: ... I'm just asking you the question.

THOMPSON: When you get past New Hampshire and look at some of these other states — states that I'm leading in in the South, for example — and straw polls that I've won, endorsements that I've got — I've got more endorsements in the state of Georgia than all the other candidates put together. So I understand the game of buildup and I understand the game of takedown. And we all go through it. And I'm perfectly willing for you to do that with regard to me as you do the other candidates.

WALLACE: I was going to say, senator...

THOMPSON: But you have the right to put in your one side, and put in the Fox side, and I have the right to respond to it. And thankfully, you've given me that opportunity.

WALLACE: I was going to say, senator, I'm glad I asked the question, because I got a heck of an answer.