A review of the two-week period from Nov. 4-17 by Gannett News Service shows Thompson held 28 campaign events, making him No. 2 among the four major GOP candidates. Sen. John McCain of Arizona topped the list at 35. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney held 22 and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 20.
Giuliani, however, had the broadest reach, visiting 10 states and Washington, D.C., during the period. He was followed by McCain with 10 states, Thompson with seven states and D.C., and Romney with six states.
The lazy perception has "been rather damaging, because it's an easy accusation to make and easy for people to understand and ... it's hard to disprove a negative," said M. Lee Smith, the retired founder of the Tennessee Journal political newsletter.
Smith was a classmate and friendly with Thompson at Vanderbilt University's law school and plays an odd role in the genesis of the Thompson-as-lazy narrative.
A search of the LexisNexis media library finds only one news story before Jan. 1, 2007, with the words "lazy" and "Fred Thompson." It was a 1997 story about how Thompson ran a Senate investigation of campaign fundraising in the 1996 presidential campaign, and it quoted Smith.
"I don't think he's lazy, but he is just more of a live-and-let-live individual in a lot of respects, including whether he would run for president," Smith said in the 1997 article in the Los Angeles Times.
It's the same view he holds now, says Smith, who points out that while in law school, Thompson was a married father supporting a family.
Fred is campaigning just as hard as the rest of them. So, you could make an argument that all the GOP candidates are lazy.
Recently, some news reports have described an increased level of campaign activity and more passion from Thompson. Spokeswoman Karen Hanretty said Thompson is the same as he's always been.
"We've just always said he is very methodical, someone who is not prone to overreacting," Hanretty said. "Maybe in a town like Washington, D.C., where politicians regularly run out in front of a camera and run their mouths off, Fred stands in stark contrast to the style."
That is what I have been saying. How many of us long for leaders that are just like the rest of the people in Washington today? I know I certainly do not. How are we going to get the best leadership if we are unwilling to except the fact that truly good men and women are not going to act like the rest of them?
We all want a change in the " business as usual" politics in Washington. It may be time to step up and realize the only way this is going to happen is to expect and demand a different approach.
Ask yourselves a few questions:
What do you want to happen with the tax issue?
What do you want to happen with immigration?
What do you want to happen with social security?
What do you want to happen with gun control?
What do you want to happen with national security?
How does your candidate stand on these issues? Chances are you know an overview of the issues, but very little about how they plan to go about getting there. That is one advantage we Fred supporters have. We know how our guy would implement his plans. He has left himself little, if any "wiggle" room.