By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff
URBANDALE, Iowa -- Fred Thompson doesn't have a problem with a female heading a government. But he's not ready for it in this country, at least not yet.
Speaking today to a small group of supporters in the last campaign rush before the Iowa caucuses next week, Thompson railed against those who opposed -- and ultimately assassinated -- former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
"They're driven to distraction by the notion that a secular woman would be head of government,'' the Republican presidential hopeful said of the woman who was slain as she campaigned for her country's presidency after years in exile.
But in America, Thompson said, repeating remarks earlier in the week, no woman is up to the job just yet.
"This year, it's a man, and next year, it's going to be a man,'' said the actor and former US senator from Tennessee. "I can see no one else who's qualified to be president of the United States.''
Most other GOP candidates have been content to warn against the specter of a Hillary Clinton presidency, but careful not to specifically mention the New York senator's gender.