Fred Thompson wastes no time in saying something stunningly stupid.

I wasn’t expecting much from newly announced GOP Presidential contender Fred Thompson given his very conservative statements before he ever entered the race, but I assumed he’d at least get a week in before saying something stupid. I was wrong.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Freshly minted GOP White House hopeful Fred Thompson puzzled Iowans yesterday by insisting an Al Qaeda smoking ban was one reason freedom-loving Iraqis bolted to the U.S. side.

“They said, ‘You gotta quit smoking,’” Thompson explained to a questioner asking about progress in Iraq during a town hall-style meeting.

Thompson said the smoking ban and terror tactics Al Qaeda used to oppress women and intimidate local leaders pushed tribes in western Anbar Province to support U.S. troops.

But Thompson’s tale of a smokers’ revolt baffled some in the audience of about 150 who came to decide whether the former Tennessee senator is ready for prime time.

“I don’t know what that was about,” said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.

The Iraqis in Anbar Province switched sides because of a smoking ban? Um, OK, Fred. If you say so. Personally, I think it probably had more to do with those terror tactics you mentioned, but if you wanna say it was a smoking ban then, well, you’re entitled to look like a total idiot if you really want to.