All the candidates in this opening around are jumping on Thompson’s main perceived weakness, laziness. One example: Giuliani saying that you have to earn the nomination, it’s not a coronation. It preempts Thompson’s presidential announcement later tonight, and I think fairly effectively. By emphasizing his absence, the candidates are building that idea of a reluctance to engage in the primary process.
While I’m typing this, a police officer just brought up the word “amnesty” in a question. I’m still amazed at how much that one word transforms the political debate. From a New York Times article after the immigration bill collapsed, “It’s a lot easier to yell one word, ‘amnesty,’ and it takes a little more to explain”.