Went to See Fred. Also Rich.

Well, I'm back from the grand Fred Thompson event held at the Orchard Street Chop Shop in the upstairs bar. I don't go to very many of these things, but it was fun.

There was a wait involved; the event was scheduled to start at 4:45pm, but that came and went with no Fred. Fortunately, we were in a restaurant, and the hosts graciously offered a plates full of raw veggies, bacon-wrapped scallops, crab cakes, and stuffed mushrooms. This kept people happy until the candidate showed up.

And he did, introduced by some young NH GOP whippersnapper. Fred spoke for about 10 minutes, giving (I'm pretty sure) his standard campaign speech, hitting on the main themes. As you can read at his website, those are:

And just to mix us up, he did PROSPERITY first (entitlements, pork barrelling, free markets, etc.), followed by SECURITY (terrorism and immigration/secure borders), and finally UNITY (partisan bickering).

I thought he did a good job, speaking without notes. He had nice things to say about New Hampshire, and indicated that he would be back more as the primary draws closer.

His one fluff was calling the guy he talked to yesterday on Meet the Press "Chris Matthews". A few seconds later someone mentioned to him that it was Tim Russert. The crowd was in a forgiving mood for this gaffe. ("We can't tell them apart either!")

As the speech ended, it was clear he had to get back on the road; no time for shooting the breeze. Looking around, I saw the familiar face of Rich Galen, proprietor of Mullings, and a "paid consultant to the campaign of Fred Thompson." So I rushed over and introduced myself as a longtime fan. We chatted briefly as he waited for the candidate to make his way out of the room. I can report that Mr. Galen is every bit as nice a guy as he appears to be on his blog.