Americans are "flirting with the notion" that the criteria for becoming a president has changed, Sen. Fred Thompson said Monday, but top candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson will need to "put more meat on the bones" if they expect to be serious contenders by the end of the year.
"Maybe policy position on every issue imaginable is not required anymore,' the Tennessee Republican, who himself has sought the White House in the past, told CNN "New Day" host Chris Cuomo. "Maybe it's more to do with guts and leadership [or] charisma."
But even so the questions still remain if the public backing of Trump and then Carson "is a flirtation or a real marriage proposal here that we're seeing among a good segment of Republican voters," Thompson said.
He thinks the changing opinions have a lot to do with people who see that "we're not going in the right direction, that we're slipping as a nation."
But even should Trump, Carson, or another outsider be elected, they won't be able to get everything done they're promising, as the system of checks and balances will come into play, said Thompson.
"Our system is not designed to do anything dramatic by one branch of government," he said. "[President] Barack Obama has been unilaterally doing things that no president ever thought they had the right to do...there's only so much in terms of substantive legislation and things of that nature that a president can do by himself."
Also on Monday, Thompson commented on Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis,
who returned to work vowing that no same-sex marriage licenses would leave her office under her name.
"She really ought to decide whether or not she wants the job, if that's what the job entails," said Thompson. "It looks to me like if the deputies do it, they could probably solve that problem."
But he does think religious freedom will be a major issue in the 2016 election, as "people don't know kind of where we stand now as a nation."
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