HIRED HAND….Fred Thompson, the conservative Great White Hope, is opposed to abortion. Completely opposed. Unrelentingly opposed. Unless someone pays him to lobby in favor of it, that is:

Minutes of a 1991 board meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn. show that the group hired Thompson that year. His task was to urge the administration of President George H.W. Bush to withdraw or relax a rule that barred abortion counseling at clinics that receive federal money, according to the records and the five people who worked on the matter.

The abortion “gag rule” was a major political flashpoint at the time. Thompson’s lobbying would clash directly with the anti-abortion movement that he is now trying to rally behind his campaign for president.

Thompson has apparently decided to simply deny that this ever happened, a strategy that former Rep. Michael Barnes, who recommended him for the job in the first place, calls “absolutely bizarre.” But who knows? Maybe he’ll get away with it. Social conservatives are so desperate for a savior this election cycle that they might be willing to believe just about anything at this point.

But this is probably just the beginning of ol’ Fred’s troubles. Anyone can look good before the national media starts rooting around and asking touchy questions, but those days are fading fast for Thompson. They always do. Michael Bloomberg might want to think about that too.