WASHINGTON Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson defended his opposition to a human life amendment Nov. 25, saying he supports what is achievable the reforming of the judiciary and the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," the former Tennessee senator was asked to respond to criticism from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has argued that questions of morality shouldn't be left to the states.
"When [Republicans] had control of the House, had control of the Senate, had control of the presidency, there wasn't a serious effort to put forth a constitutional amendment because people knew that it couldn't pass couldn't pass, wouldn't pass," Thompson said, according to a transcript. "What I've been talking about is directing our energy toward something that was halfway practical, something that ... could get done. That has to do with federal judges. It has to do with the Supreme Court. It has to do with Roe vs. Wade."
Constitutional amendments require the passage of two-thirds of the House and Senate and ratification by three-fourths of the states.
Thompson also said he believes life begins at conception and that abortion is the taking of life.
"You could move from the zero yard line ... to the 60- or 70-yard line instead of standing pat, which is what we're doing how, which is where we will remain if we don't abolish Roe vs. Wade," he said of his position.
Thompson's campaign also released a statement the same day saying Huckabee's position on abortion once was the same as Thompson's. Huckabee's campaign released its own statement, saying he has always supported a human life amendment. In recent days Huckabee has attempted to draw a distinction between himself and Thompson on the issue.
Huckabee appeared Nov. 25 on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," asserting that his campaign is gaining momentum because "people are paying attention to the message" and not "to what the national media might be saying about who the frontrunner is." A much-publicized ABC News/Washington Poll conducted Nov. 14-18 in Iowa had Mitt Romney at 28 percent followed by Huckabee (24 percent), Thompson (15 percent) and Rudy Giuliani (13 percent). It was released as Huckabee was airing his first TV ad, a humorous spot alongside Chuck Norris, who has endorsed Huckabee. On the Democratic side, the same media organization had Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton, 30 to 26 percent, with John Edwards at 22 percent.
Huckabee also was asked to respond to a quote by Romney, who said of the former Arkansas governor, "Republican voters are looking for a conservative, and he is a liberal." The comment apparently was in reference to fiscal issues and came in the context of Romney saying he and Huckabee shared the same positions on social issues.
"[M]y conservatism has been consistent," Huckabee said. "When he was pro-abortion, I was still pro-life and always have been. When he was for gun control, I was against it. When he was against the Bush tax cuts, I was for them."
Although Huckabee and Thompson have been tussling, two unnamed pro-life leaders told LifeNews.com they wished the men instead would focus on Giuliani, who is pro-choice, and the Democrats. LifeNews said the pro-life leaders were from "leading national pro-life groups" and didn't want to speak for attribution.