MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA -- In stark contrast to his opponents' schedules, Fred Thompson made only one campaign stop today, at a home for veterans in Marshalltown, Iowa. "We decided that we would come out here and wish these veterans a happy new year and thank them for the service to their country," Thompson said. "We decided that we would give the people a break."
His opponents decided the people of Iowa did not need a break from campaigning on New Year's Day. Mitt Romney had seven events today (and wife Ann another four), and Mike Huckabee also had four. And while the governor didn't invite the press to go jogging with him this morning, Thompson couldn't resist mocking his opponent for taking a run yesterday. "It was a close call to go jogging in almost zero degree weather, or stay in and take a nap," Thompson said. "After considerable consideration, I decided to take a nap." After seeing whether the press corps got the joke, the senator decided to play it safe and make sure everyone knew he was kidding. "I didn't really take a nap, but I stayed in."
Staying in could prove to be a risky strategy in these final days before the Iowa caucus. The recently released Des Moines Register poll shows Thompson in fourth place, trailing John McCain. The Arizona senator has barely campaigned in Iowa, while Thompson has visited over 40 towns in the state over the past 15 days. "What's happened in the last two weeks is that we've got momentum," he said, adding that he's seen polls showing him in third.
Thompson cut off a question asking about whether a bad finish in Iowa would mean the end of campaign by saying "I'm not going to play into any kind of a negative scenario," he said "I have an optimistic scenario, always have."
There were no earlier events today because Thompson wanted to watch the Outback Bowl, which pitted his home state Tennessee Volunteers against Wisconsin. And in that, there was finally some good news for Thompson – the Vols won, 21-17.