The media seems surprised that Fred Thompson used to be pro-choice. The LA Times broke the story on Saturday:
Fred D. Thompson, who is campaigning for president as an antiabortion Republican, accepted an assignment from a family-planning group to lobby the first Bush White House to ease a controversial abortion restriction, according to a 1991 document and several people familiar with the matter.
A spokesman for the former Tennessee senator denied that Thompson did the lobbying work. But the minutes of a 1991 board meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn. say that the group hired Thompson that year.
His task was to urge the administration of President George H. W. Bush to withdraw or relax a rule that barred abortion counseling at clinics that received federal money, according to the records and to people who worked on the matter.
But Fred Thompson is just another Republican whose views on abortion apparently change with the political winds. I’ve found a number of articles published in the 1990s that suggest Thompson used to be pro-choice.
The New Republic article, published on 10 Apr 1995 (pg. 15) and subtitled “Meet Fred Thompson (R-Hollywood),” pointed out (emphasis added):
On the current Republican hot-button topics, [Fred Thompson] evinces just the right degree of political honesty. He’s pro-choice and is one of the few Republicans willing to broach the subject of cuts in Social Security. But he swaddles his words in soothing balm about not wanting to hurt the “old folks.” Not bad for a beginner. Good enough, even, to make him a distant but conceivable vice presidential pick in 1996.
By 1997, Newsweek (3 Feb, U.S. edition, pg. 30) points out that (emphasis added):
Thompson is hard to pin down politically. He refuses to announce a clear position on abortion (though he consistently votes pro-life).
A few months later, The Economist (July 12, 1997, U.S. edition, pg. 32) writes (emphasis added):
Though he has been in the Senate less than three years, and though the extent of his ambition is uncertain, Mr Thompson is a natural presidential hope. He is six foot six; he has a folksy charm; he is frequently compared to Ronald Reagan. […]
Mr Thompson’s fight against corrupt politics is attractive, to be sure; his open support for abortion choice in a party of abortion foes is politically courageous.
Should he run for POTUS, Fred will have to make up some Romneyesque bullshit story like an epiphany caused by the “obvious” immorality of stem cell research that changed his stance on abortion.
For now, Fred Thompson is just spewing bullshit without the epiphany. Responding to the LA Times piece at the Young Republicans National Convention on Saturday, Thompson said:
“I’d just say the flies get bigger in the summertime. I guess the flies are buzzing,” said Thompson, who is considering running for president as a social conservative. He refused comment on whether he recalled doing the work.
Basically, Fred, like Mitt, has changed his position on abortion. The difference is that Mitt at least made the effort to concoct a bullshit excuse, whereas Fred is just spewing utter bullshit.