On CNN's "American Morning" Wednesday, reporter Kiran Chetry asked Fred Thompson if he has changed his mind since declaring, at a debate in October, that the U.S. economic outlook was "rosy."
"I hate to start off with a correction," Thompson replied, "but I've never used the term outlook rosy as far as the economy is concerned."
Chetry told Thompson that he had, in fact, declared both the "short term" and "10-year projections" for the nation's economic prosperity "rosy" during a candidates' debate in Dearborn, Mich., on Oct. 9. But the candidate stuck to his guns. "A 10-year projection is rosy? No, I've been saying that if you look down the road a little bit, it's disastrous. The -- the short term looks OK, in terms of our overall economic well-being. We were not talking about a recession in that discussion that we were having there in Michigan. We were talking about the economy in general."
From the actual debate transcript:
Question: The economy is America's greatest strength. In a recent poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, two-thirds of the American people said that we are either in a recession or headed toward one. Do you agree with that? And, as president, what will you do to ensure [economic] vibrancy in this country?
Thompson: We're enjoying low inflation. We're enjoying low unemployment. The stock market seems to be doing pretty well. I see no reason to believe we're headed for an economic downturn.
As far as the economic prosperity of the future is concerned, I think it's a different story. I think if you look at the short term, it's rosy. I think if you look at a 10-year projection, it's rosy.
But we are spending money we do not have. We are on a mandatory spending lockdown that is pushing us in a direction that is unsustainable. We're spending the money of future generations, and those yet to be born. That has to do with our mandatory spending problem.
Everyone knows that we have to address that. And it's the fundamental and foremost challenge, I think, facing our country economically.
Question: Senator, you painted a very nice picture. The Dow and the S&P 500 today at new highs -- tonight -- record numbers. And, yet, two-thirds of the people surveyed said we are either in a recession or headed for one. Why the angst?
Thompson: Well, I think there are pockets in the economy that, certainly, they're having difficulty. I think they're certainly -- those in Michigan that are having difficulty. I think you always find that in a vibrant, dynamic economy. I think that not enough has been done to tell what some call the "greatest story never told," and that is that we are enjoying a period of growth right now and we should acknowledge what got us there and continue those same policies on into the future.