Former Sen. Fred Thompson says Mitt Romney was "on top of his game" at his first debate with President Barack Obama, but cautioned Republicans not to get carried away with a new poll showing the GOP nominee now leading among likely voters by four points.
"Still got a lot a campaign to go," the Tennessee Republican and former presidential candidate told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Monday evening.
But Thompson said he likes Romney's odds and compared his position to that of Ronald Reagan in 1980 when he ran against President Jimmy Carter.
At the time, he noted, inflation was out of control, the economy was in bad shape, and Carter was consumed with trying to free the American hostages in Iran.
"I've always thought that Romney was somewhat in a position that Ronald Reagan was back in 1980. . . . The people were looking for a change," Thompson said, adding: "I think, to a certain extent, that dynamic is playing out here."
Thompson suggested it would be foolish, however, for Republicans to ignore the ability of the Obama team and the Democrats to turn out supporters, beginning with early voting and other grassroots organizational efforts backed up by plenty of money to target advertising on key battleground states.
But in the end, he said Obama still doesn't have a strong record to run on, especially given the recent anti-American violence in the Middle East that has drawn renewed attention to his handling of foreign policy.
"All they've got is the power of the incumbency and the money. And they're doubling down on all of it," Thompson said.
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