He seems to me to be the best pick of the bunch - Democrat and Republican - on balancing the budget and grappling with the looming entitlement crisis. It's the main reason I find myself listening to him more and more. He sounds like the Republicans I used to like:

"The one thing that all the experts agree on … is that we're in an unsustainable position economically with regard to these programs," he recently told the anti-tax Club for Growth. "You'd think that would be the biggest thing we could talk about, other than national security. So we've got to talk about it."

Thompson intends to unveil a plan for entitlement reform in the coming weeks, according to his spokesman, but he has already been floating ideas, such as slowing the rate of Social Security benefit increases – a move that would, in effect, cut benefits. On Medicare, he suggests increasing fees for upper-income beneficiaries.

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