LAS VEGAS—Who was that walking around the show floor flanked by security yesterday?
It was none other than former presidential candidates Fred Thompson and John Edwards, who took a tour of the show floor, visiting the likes of Kyocera, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Motorola, after their keynote at CTIA Wireless 2008.
Each politician delivered a short address on stage before a quick Q&A with CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent.
The two didn’t draw as big a crowd as last year’s Day 3 former president keynoters Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. Nonetheless, they triggered a lot of laughs, including when asked if they would consider running as vice president in their respective parties. Edwards gave a quick “No.” Thompson said he considers the question quite presumptive, especially when you haven’t been asked by the only person who counts. (Sorry, Steve.)
Edwards asked the audience how well they understand each candidates’ stands on various issues, such as global warming and healthcare, and their differences. Not a lot of hands shot up. The problem is the national media, even though news cycles are 24-7, don’t devote time to explaining positions and focus more on the horse race and less substantial angles, he said. There’s too much focus on the superficial; “the American people deserve better than that,” he said.
Thompson, whose presentation was largely humorous, started with a story about how he had landed the previous night under “heavy sniper fire.” He also talked about how at the hotel/casino he walked past some long-faced people at a craps table, then quipped how he had never been among so many losers since his last presidential debate. (Also, after hanging out with politicians and media types, he said he longs for going back to the “high standards” of Hollywood.)
While Thompson is clearly backing Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, Edwards wasn’t saying who he’s voting for, except it won’t be the same guy as Thompson.