If you’re one of the two Republicans running for Governor or one of the two Republicans running for U.S. Senate, you can’t be too pleased with the former Governor right now, given his statements that he hasn’t ruled out running for the U.S. Senate or for Governor, but if you’re a fan of politicians who say stupid things with amazing regularity, then Tommy Thompson is like a gift that keeps on giving.
So considering this is the season of giving, with Christmas looming ever closer, we here at Blogging Blue have put together a list of our favorite gaffes, blunders, and goofs from Tommy Thompson, so instead of the Twelve Days of Christmas, we bring you the “Twelve Gaffes of Tommy.”
- Tommy Thompson’s been away from Wisconsin for most of the last 10 years.
- Earning Money = “Jewish Tradition”
“I’m in the private sector and for the first time in my life I’m earning money. You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition…” – Tommy addressing a group of Reform Jews at a conference in Washington. He later tried to apologize but that didn’t work out too well either.
- Tommy to Gay People: ‘You’re Fired!’
When asked during a presidential debate: “If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?” Tommy responded with: “I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.” Tommy later apologized for that too, explaining that he misinterpreted the question because he had a dead hearing aid and an urgent need to use the bathroom. The following day he also said he was suffering from the flu and bronchitis. He elaborated in another interview saying that he also lost hearing in his non-hearing aid ear.
- ‘Brownie, um Tommy, you’re doing a heck of a job’
When the anthrax attacks took place in 2001, Tommy was there to calm a worried nation – if only he knew what he was talking about. Anthrax laced letters were also sent to NY and DC but when the first case in Florida appeared, Tommy said, “I want to point out, once again, that this is an isolated case and it’s not contagious.” He went on to theorize that the man who contracted anthrax and eventually died drank out of a stream in North Carolina recently and that may have been the cause.
- Tommy to Terrorists: ‘Attack Our Food Supply!’
“For the life of me, I cannot understand why terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do.” – Tommy Thompson in his departing speech as Health and Human Services Secretary.
- Washington Changed Tommy
When asked during a presidential debate what President Bush’s biggest mistake was over the past several years Tommy explained: “[W]e went to Washington to change Washington, Washington changed us. We didn’t come up with new ideas.”
- George W. Bush: Honest, Man of Integrity
When asked during a presidential debate how he would use George W. Bush should he be elected president, Tommy responded by saying, “I believe George W. Bush has tremendous characteristics. He’s very honest. He’s very straightforward. I would put him out on a lecture series, talking to the youth of America about honesty, integrity, perseverance, passion and serving the public.”
- Tommy “Stick it to ‘em!” Thompson
In 1995, when debate was high around the state about taxpayer funds in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties be used to foot the bill to pay for a new home for the Milwaukee Brewers, Tommy was in central Wisconsin when he said, “All taxes come from Waukesha and Milwaukee. Stick it to ‘em!”
- Tommy: U.S. Senate just a “Debating Society”
When asked about running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Herb Kohl in 1999, Tommy said, “Why would I want to go to Washington and be part of a debating society…?”
- Tommy LOVES to tailgate before Packers games
Clearly, Tommy Thompson spent a little too much time tailgating before he gave this doozy of a speech:
- Tommy may have some skeletons in his closet
For years there have been rumors about Tommy Thompson’s “liaisons” with women other than his wife during his time in Madison:
“Tommy had an apartment in Madison before he was elected governor,” read the June 22, 1994, letter. “He kept the apartment after he was elected [to the state legislature]. Supposedly there were several women who joined him there.”
In fact, there allegedly were as many as four long-term affairs before Tommy Thompson finally left for Washington, D.C., to become secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Tommy clearly doesn’t know how to count
In the GOP presidential debate on May 3, 2007, Tommy was asked by an audience member how many soldiers had been killed or injured in Iraq. Tommy’s response was, “There’s been over 3,000 that have been lost and several thousand that have been injured,” an estimate that fell far short of the Pentagon’s count of wounded troops at that time, which was 24,548.
After sticking Wisconsin with Scott McCallum as Governor when he took a golden parachute into the administration of George W. Bush as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson hasn’t really spent a lot of time in Wisconsin.