Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.
Thompson, the "Law and Order" star and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, has been publicly coy, even as people close to him have been furiously preparing for a late entry into the wide-open contest. But the advisers said Thompson dropped all pretenses on Tuesday afternoon during a conference call with more than 100 potential donors, each of whom was urged to raise about $50,000.
Thompson's formal announcement is planned for Nashville. Organizers say the red pickup truck that was a hallmark of Thompson's first Senate race will begin showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire as an emblem of what they consider his folksy, populist appeal.
A testing-the-waters committee is to be formed June 4 so Thompson can start raising money, and staffers will go on the payroll in early June, the organizers said. A policy team has been formed, but remains under wraps.
Allah over at Hot Air says:
I can live with the hokiness of the pick-up truck, I guess, but if he starts riding horses I’m out of here.
Too cute. Allah has really grown on me!!!
Seriously, even though I haven't made up my mind as to whom I am endorsing yet, I do like Thompson for a variety of reasons.
The Conservative Republicans need someone who is tired of watching us be so busy trying to be "politically correct" we are willing to risk our childrens futures, he talks straight and if you do not like what he has to say, he doesn't change his mind, he points you toward another candidate.
He doesn't base his opinions on what the latest polls show, he isn't willing to compromise principle to add a few votes to his total and he stays consistent on the issues.
Lets not forget that in 1995 he voted YES on Amendment to prohibit flag burning.
If he does decide to officially toss his hat in the ring on July Fourth, then this presidential race will have just gotten much more interesting.
Thompson has been steadily assembling a close circle of advisers, including former FEC chairman Michael Toner, who will serve as general counsel; former Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo; and Tom Collamore, a former executive at Altria, the corporate parent of Philip Morris USA. Collamore will lead the campaign effort, several sources have said.
The entity Thompson will form this week is one step shy of a formal exploratory committee, but its creation will be his first official step toward entering the already crowded field of GOP contenders. National polls have consistently shown that he would be a significant force if he runs, with some surveys placing him in second or third place in the race.
Later in the article...... it shows that he hasn't spent a dime, and yet National Polls and surveys are showing him to be in second or third place?
He has that "something" that may just make other candidates from both sides of the aisle cringe.
Thompson's entry could jumble the race further. As a lawmaker, he exuded a folksy charm that supporters say could help him capture the attention of many Republican primary voters. And his decades of movie and television appearances give him an immediate national presence that rivals the others in the campaign. He currently stars as District Attorney Arthur Branch on "Law and Order."
His advisers say they do not expect to match the amount of money the others are raising, but profess to be unconcerned.
"He doesn't need as much money as the others have raised," said one supporter, noting that his Hollywood fame has already given him a boost in the polls. "He hasn't raised nor has he spent a single dime so far. People should not expect that he will outraise anyone."
Back to Hot Air's comment about horses, well, Fred Thompson just might need that horse for this particular "horse race".
You can keep up with Fred Thompson's opinions and stances on a variety of issues over at the Fred Thompson Report.
Back to Wapo:
A senator from 1994 to 2003 and a guest host on Paul Harvey's show on ABC Radio, Thompson has already begun to reach out to the conservatives in his party. He has blasted the immigration deal reached in Congress and he cleverly used a spat with liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to draw attention on conservative blogs, issuing a Web-video featuring a cigar-chomping Thompson chiding Moore for going to Cuba to make a movie.
I hunted down the video for my readers at YouTube, just click and watch, it is a 38 second response to Michael Moore's idiocy.
Heh. Yup, he has definitely got that "something", doesn't he? Makes me chuckle every time I see it.
The Weekly Standard gives us some details about Fred Thompson's conference call yesterday:
The conference call began around 2:00 pm. Ken Rietz, a top executive with Burson Marsteller and a close adviser to Thompson, welcomed the participants. Phillip Martin, who organized the phone call, spoke briefly before introducing the former Tennessee senator. Thompson thanked the supporters for their confidence in him and talked about his reasons for taking this next step toward an official run. He later answered several questions about his positions on big issues and campaign strategy. Tom Collamore, a former Reagan and George H.W. Bush administration official described by the Washington Post's Chris Cilizza as Thompson's "campaign manager in waiting," discussed the First Day Founders and their role in this pre-campaign effort. And Michael Toner, a former chairman of the FEC who served as the top lawyer on George W. Bush's 2000 campaign before performing the same job at the Republican National Committee, reviewed the laws and regulations governing the testing-the-waters committee.
The new committee allows Thompson to continue to fulfill long-standing speaking obligations, while ramping up his inevitable presidential effort. His advisers describe it as a "natural progression" on the road to an announcement, which could come as early as late June or early July. One rumor making the rounds last night anticipated an official announcement in his hometown in Tennessee in a month--on July 4th. Independence Day could be Announcement Day.
Michael P.F. van der Galiën, another blogger I have great respect for gives this insight:
At the moment Thompson enters the race, everything changes. Suddenly, social conservatives will feel like they do not have to support Giuliani: as far as I can tell, Thompson is most certainly electable.
Read the rest, cute sense of humor there. Add this guy to your favorites, he doesn't walk in lockstep with any one party, he stays consistent, I agree with his opinions as often as I disagree with them, but he always manages to be right up front and fair in his writing.
The New York Sun sums it up nicely:
Ever since Mr. Thompson left the door open to a possible candidacy in a Fox News interview on March 11, his shadow has been looming larger and larger over the campaign. Almost immediately, Mr. Thompson overtook Mr. Romney in national and some state polls. More recently, Mr. Thompson has been nipping at Mr. McCain's heels. And much of his support seems to be coming from Mr. Giuliani's hide, as the former mayor's lead narrows over the rest of the pack.
And all of this without Mr. Thompson's having made a single serious move toward entering the race.
Captain's Quarters compares Fred Thompson's approach to that of Woodrow Wilson:
Unlike Sager, though, I believe that Thompson has made several serious moves towards his candidacy -- just nothing official. He has managed to make himself very relevant by delivering much-anticipated speeches to various Republican groups. Thompson has also written a series of essays, erudite and sensational, on various hot issues as well as explaining and expanding on his federalist beliefs. It's almost a philosopher's campaign for the White House, an approach that may not have a parallel since Woodrow Wilson.
So, ladies and gentlemen, the race is on, place your bets, have a seat and enjoy the show... I certainly will be.