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Ahead of tonight's Republican debate in New Hampshire, Ex-Sen. Fred Thompson is trying to pre-empt attacks on his Senate voting record.

After the Washington Times this a.m. published an article calling Thompson "soft" on immigration, the campaign released a memo calling Thompson "a consistent supporter of conservative immigration proposals." The memo does not mention the Washington Times piece, which called attention to "a series of votes in the 1990s against cracking down on illegal aliens. Those include a 1995 vote against limiting services other than emergency care and public education to illegal aliens — he was one of just six senators to oppose that proposal — and a 1996 vote against creating an employer verification system to help businesses filter out illegal aliens who apply for jobs."

The memo says that Thompson:

OPPOSED the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill.
OPPOSES amnesty for illegal immigrants.
SUPPORTS tougher border control along the U.S./Mexican border.
SUPPORTS increased penalties against alien smuggling and document fraud.



The memo brags that Thompson has an "A+" from an advocacy group called "Americans for Better Immigration" on the subject of border security.

That's true.

But there's more to the story.... ABI gave Thompson a "C" for his overall Senate record.

ABI also gives Thompson an "D" on votes to reduce the incentives for illegal immigrants and an "F" on votes to reduce the number of foreign workers coming to the U.S.

ABI is not part of the anti-immigration fringe; its executive director, Roy Beck, is a high-profile advocate for reducing immigration -- overall.

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