Rumor: Rumors Of Thompson Quitting Traced to Romney Camp?

Jonathan Adler mentions the rumors fueled by the anti-Fred Politico on the eve of the Iowa primary that he would quit and endorse McCain if he showed poorly there. Fred supporters doubted and fought the rumors and Fred officials denied it.

Robert Novak reports the rumors have been traced to the Romney camp.

Published reports that Fred Thompson soon will withdraw from the Republican presidential contest and endorse Sen. John McCain have been traced in part to Mitt Romney’s campaign, trying to stir up strife between McCain and Thompson.

While Robert Novak is a well known, and trustworthy source, he provides no evidence. I’m reluctant to jump the gun and condemn anyone yet. Another question, with as big of a lead as Romney has….why? It seems the Romney camp is divided on how to take on McCain and this could have fueled things. It makes sense that Romney would want division between the two fighting for the spot at second.

The Sundries Shack:

Makes sense for Romney to want McCain and Thompson to mix it up in Iowa. It makes less sense to understand why the Politico got duped. Surely a rumor floated on the day before the Caucuses has to be considered a campaign trick and would merit some patience and good judgment.

I’m not a professional journalist and even I know that it’s highly unusual for a candidate to make noises about dropping out the day before an election. It’s a pretty amateur trick that shouldn’t have fooled anyone. The report from the Politico gave the story the air of legitimacy that it never should have had.

I’d be very interested in knowing how hard the Politico worked to verify the rumors and why they couldn’t get the very strong denial that National Review Online got the same day.

Still…while I see motivating factors…I see no evidence yet. The real scandal is from Politico spreading the rumors without any verification.

Crossposted from rumor spreading Stop the ACLU

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