Thompson Talks Religion

From CBS News' John Bentley:

LADY'S ISLAND, S.C. -- Mixing theology and social issues on the campaign trail is rare for Fred Thompson, but he discussed it today answering a question from a member of the audience.

A woman asked him if he would "as a Christian, as a conservative" continue President Bush's programs to combat global AIDS.

"Christ didn't tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it," Thompson said.

"The government has its role, but we need to keep firmly in mind the role of the government, and the role of us as individuals and as Christians on the other."

He received a round of applause for his answer, and went on to expand on the role of government in fighting AIDS and other diseases.

"I'm not going to go around the state and the country with regards to a serious problem and say that I'm going to prioritize that," he said.

"With people dying of cancer, and heart disease, and children dying of leukemia still, I got to tell you – we've got a lot of problems here, and we all may have our one that's affected us the most, but it's a broad array. And a president who will tell you the truth is that we have to look across the board and do what we can and what we should based upon the severity of the problem and the chances that our research money will do some good in these areas."