WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. - At a small diner in West Columbia, S.C., former Sen. Fred Thompson spent some time Thursday morning talking about the slowing economy and the fierceness of the upcoming GOP primary.
Thompson has gone on the defensive here in South Carolina - airing a large number of radio and television commercials touting his stance on abortion and his record as a true conservative.
He has upped the ante in large part because of the ugly turn that the race has taken in the Palmetto State. Recent push polling has put him in a tricky predicament. The negative phone calls have launched him into action.
"I am familiar with the push poll concept," Thompson said. "It's coming in one direction. I won't mention any names, but Gov. Huckabee says he doesn't know anything about it."
Christians in South Carolina have found themselves in a pretty precarious decision. While many of them support Huckabee because he's a Christian, many are concerned about his experience.
A recent Rasmussen poll has Sen. John McCain in the lead here with 28 percent. McCain has spent more than $3 million on advertising in the state.
Huckabee is next with 19 percent. Mitt Romney and Thompson are right behind with 17 percent and 16 percent respectively.
"I was really torn between Huckabee and Thompson," Columbia, S. Carolina resident Joy Bell Jackson said. "Especially since I am a born again Christian."
Meanwhile, Barbara Sherrod is still undecided, but she's leaning toward Thompson.
"I like what he said today about giving the country back to God and the people," Barbara Sherrod of Columbia said.
And the candidates understand just how important this state is. Since 1980, no Republican has won the party's nomination without winning South Carolina.
Be sure to check back to CBNNews.com throughout the day. CBN News' David Brody and Robin Mazyck will attend McCain and Huckabee events later today.