More Miss Joneses, Maybe

You reach a certain age when you realize that people do what they want to do and don't do what they don't want to do. Sure, we all have responsibilities, but beyond them we have free will, and when it comes to so many things — romance, career, exercise, intellectual stimulation, working for a cause or running for president — there are choices and we are free to make them.

This week began with reports that Big Fred was stepping it up, making more trips and more appearances — more work! But that step-it-up appearance on "Meet The Press" Sunday is not turning out to be what he planned. In his column today Robert Novak dissects Thompson's abortion comments from the show and finds social conservatives not only running scared but mad. Thompson said firmly he would not support a "human life" constitutional amendment banning all abortions, but he also trotted out the criminalization of abortion without being asked about it by Tim Russert. "I do not think it is a wise thing to criminalize young girls and perhaps their parents as aiders and abettors," he said.

Novak states that "no serious anti-abortion legislation has ever included criminal penalties against women who have abortions, much less their parents," and adds that Thompson's use of pro-choice talking points "could be expected from NARAL Pro-Choice America."

Novak has a "Miss Jones" abandoning her support for Thompson after the show. You have to wonder how many more there are like her. But more importantly, you have to wonder why Big Fred — a lawyer who knows which ideas to headline and what words to spare — said what he did.

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What's up with Big Fred? He announced on Sept. 6, and how is he doing now? He is still second in the national polls; where does he rank with you? Send your responses and questions to askab@thehill.com and join my weekly video Q & A. We want to talk politics and have a few laughs. Spare us the offensive, unGoogleable, unthinkable or otherwise useless. I look forward to hearing from all of you, often.