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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Thompson changing tune on Schiavo case?



Republican Fred Thompson appeared to change his tune on the Terri Schiavo issue during a taped interview aired this morning on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

As you may recall, Thompson has bungled this issue from the start. But in private discussions with the National Right to Life Committee -- which endorsed Thompson last week -- David O'Steen, executive director, said Thompson clarified his position on end-of-life issues, such as the Schiavo case. Now he thinks state governments can get involved on a state-by-state basis.

Read below for a rough transcript, as best we could get from the Buzz DVR.


From this morning's "This Week:"

Stephanopoulos:  (O'Steen) said you clarified that issue for him and you may be doing so publicly. What did you say to them to privately that you haven't said publically? In public, you've said this should be an issue for families and the courts but not for state and federal government.

Thompson: Well, what I said (to them) was ultimately if the families can't get together the first recourse needs to be the state government. What we talked about in a little more detail is the different kinds of end-of-life issues.

(Thompson went on to say he was reluctant to discuss it because of his personal situation with his daughter.)

... I recognize that there are different kinds of situations where death is not imminent and it's potentially a starvation-type issue, and ah it's really a kind of a different category.  ... I still think in that particular case, from what I know about the facts or recall. I would side with the parents.

Stephanopoulos: In the Schiavo case?

Thompson: Yes ... I can't imagine a parent or a spouse or a doctor deciding anything if there is question that this person might live

Stephanopoulos: But there wasn't any question in the Schiavo case.

Thompson: No. Ah ah, that's my point. As I understand it she would have probably lived longer.

Stephanopoulos: But they did an autopsy, she was brain dead.

Thompson: Well (sigh) I didn't know that. At the time that was all kicking around and everybody was asking my opinion based on what was in the newspaper. I am just telling you what I think about the things in general.

My original statement on this was that I don't know enough about the facts. Well, they made a big deal out of it. People wrote about it, "Thompson doesn't know about Schiavo," for a long, long time. When, in fact, it was just trying to avoid getting into the minds and the details of this poor girl here and the legal maelstrom and the political maelstrom that was going on around her.

I think it's time we left her to rest in peace. We can talk about the legal issue.

Stephanopoulos: I want to talk about the legal issue. ... According to the National Right to Life Committee the benefit of the doubt should be to life. That would involve changing state laws across the country.

Thompson: I don't know whether that would or not...

Stephanopoulos: What is your legal position?

Thompson: I don't have a legal position other than it ought to be resolved in the state court system. People have a right to make the laws in their own state to resolve these issues. ...

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:28am]


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