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By Wes Allison September 12, 2007

Federalist Fred

Although not every senator voted every time, meaning all votes weren't necessarily 99-1, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson was the lone dissenter on several popular bills, amendments and resolutions that asserted federal power over traditionally state functions, records show.

In 1997, he was the lone "nay" vote against a bill called the Volunteer Protection Act, which exempted Good Samaritans from being sued. In 2000, he was the only senator who voted against a resolution "encouraging local schools to insist on zero-tolerance policies towards violence and illegal drug use."

In 2001, he offered the only "nay" on an amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act that shielded teachers from civil liability.

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"I don't think the federal government ought to be federalizing something that's been under the state purview for 200 years," Thompson told a crowd in Sioux City, Iowa, Sept. 7, 2007. "Give me a good reason why, when the federal government... can't get its own act together, why it ought to be taking on these other things in order to get a press release and a headline? ... That's not the right thing to do."

But he wasn't perfect. As a senator from 1994 to 2003, Thompson did divert from his federalist philosophy in at least one big way: supporting President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which sets federal standards for local schools.

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