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The Paper


The Tommy years
From the Isthmus archives, April 17, 1987

Credit:David Michael Miller
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Charles J. Sykes assesses Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson's first 100 days in power. "Even Thompson seemed aware that he came into office trailing clouds of doubt about his abilities, his intelligence and his potential to be effective," Sykes begins his cover story. "Nor was his victory at the polls enough to allay the anxiety. In both Democratic and Republican camps the election was widely seen less as a triumph for Tommy Thompson than as a defeat for [incumbent Democrat] Tony Earl." Sykes cites Thompson's insistence on gubernatorial protocols, his handling of prison and budget issues, his travels around the state and his appointments of Jim Klauser as "second governor" and Tim Cullen as Health and Social Services secretary among the reasons for the new governor's 70% approval rating. Ron McCrea, Earl's former press secretary, tells Sykes that "Thompson is obviously winning the public relations war." Thompson was re-elected in 1990, 1994 and 1998; served as secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration; and is now running for the Republican presidential nomination.

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