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 5:07 PM  Thompson wraps up Iowa City visit, heads to Cedar Rapids

Thompson is now en route to a Cedar Rapids presidential picnic after a stop at the Wig & Pen in Iowa City.

While there, Thompson gave his standard campaign pitch as about 40 potential supporters listened and ate complimentary pizza in the back room of the upscale sports bar. Thompson spoke for just under 25 minutes then fielded several questions from the largely middle-aged audience.

Thompson drew his loudest applause when discussing his views on illegal immigration, saying he was against amnesty and that he would have a southern border fence built within 150 days of taking office.

Thompson was joined at the event by his daughters and grandchildren. In part of his speech, Thompson mentioned how his daughter Tommi's daughter was born through in-vitro fertilization after having an egg frozen for more than two years -- her sister Kelli was the surrogate mother and carried the baby to term. Doctors gave it a 5 percent chance of success, he said. Thompson called his new grandchild a "miracle" and said that further cemented his position opposing abortion. Thompson showed the child to the crowd after finishing his speech.

Thompson also took a shot at Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney's position on abortion without mentioning him by name.

"I didn't change my position just last year to run for president," Thompson said, saying he has opposed abortion throughout his career.

Questions from the audience focused largely on foreign policy. Pat Minor, 55, of West Branch, asked if Thompson would speak with Hamas about Israel-Palestine relations. Thompson said he preferred to deal with Abbas, as Hamas refuses to recognize Israel.

Minor said afterwards that she disagreed with his position on Israel, but was interested in a lot of things that he had to say. Iowa City has been a frequent stop for candidates, with Minor having seen Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton as well as Republicans Tom Tancredo and Sam Brownback. At this point she is undecided, but said she would like to go to the Ames Straw Poll.

More enthusiastic were John and Allie Dane, age 81 and 80, respectively. John Dane said they had both seen Thompson twice and liked him even more the second time around. John Dane had a $100 check filled out he said he planned to give to the campaign.

-- By David Wise


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