2007-06-01 21:34:47 –
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Fred Thompson took the first formal step toward a widely expected bid for the presidency, establishing a preliminary campaign committee on Friday.
The «testing the waters» committee allows Thompson _ a former Tennessee senator and actor best known for his film and television roles, including as a prosecutor on NBC’s «Law & Order» _ to raise money, hire staff and gauge support without officially committing to a White House bid and without having to publicly disclose donations or expenditures.
The «Friends of Fred Thompson» committee was incorporated in papers filed with the state in Nashville, Tenn.
Thompson, 64, a Southern conservative with a right-leaning Senate record, would shake up an already unsettled race for the Republican nomination led by Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Many conservatives have expressed dissatisfaction with the current field of 10 candidates.
By creating the committee now, Thompson avoids having to report to the Federal Election Commission his fundraising totals, donor identities or expenditures on July 15. That’s the filing deadline for the second quarter of the year, and the top-tier Republican candidates, as well as seven underdog contenders, must abide by it.
Thompson’s timing could significantly dampen the fundraising ability of his potential Republican rivals during the homestretch of the second quarter financial reporting period. Donors who otherwise would have contributed to other Republicans, instead, may choose to give to Thompson.
Officials close to Thompson say he’s more likely than not to formally enter the race, perhaps as early as July, and open headquarters in Nashville and the Washington, D.C., area. However, they caution, he’s made no final decision about going forward.
Over the past few weeks, Thompson has begun surrounding himself with advisers who served under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Among those also expected to play a role: Mary Matalin, a former adviser in the current Bush administration, and Tim Griffin, an ex-aide at the Republican National Committee who as a U.S. attorney in Arkansas was involved in the controversy over the firings of federal prosecutors.
Although he ranks well in national popularity polls, Thompson would enter the race several months behind Giuliani, McCain and Romney in building a campaign organization, raising money and collecting key endorsements.
Given the disparities, he has indicated he favors a nontraditional campaign and already has had a strong presence on the Internet, raising the possibility that he could eschew a traditional media strategy.
Living in Terror
By Fred Thompson Wednesday, May 30, 2007, Townhall.com
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, N.Y.? What do you think our response would be if Mexican troops for two years had launched daily rocket attacks on San Diego — and bragged about it?
I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel’s restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza. We would use whatever means necessary to win the war. There would likely be numerous casualties on our enemy’s side, but we would rightfully hold those who attacked us responsible
More than 1,300 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since Palestinians were given control two years ago. Israelis, however, have gone to incredible lengths to stop the war against them without harming Palestinian non-combatants. But make no mistake, Israel is at war. The elected Hamas government regularly repeats its official promise to destroy Israel entirely and replace it with an Islamic state. Hamas openly took credit for killing one woman and wounding dozens more last week alone.
The Palestinian strategy is to purposely target and kill Israeli civilians. Then, when Israel goes after those launching the attacks, Palestinians claim to be the victims. If Palestinian civilians aren’t hurt in the Israeli attacks, they stage injuries and deaths. Too often, they garner sympathy and support from a gullible or anti-Semitic media in the international community.
Israelis, themselves, are often incapable of facing the damage they inflict in self-defense. Knowing this, Islamic extremists are using their own populations as human shields.
I’m beginning to wonder how much longer this vicious plot will work though. International sympathy for Palestinians has diminished as the same Islamofascist extremists have brought havoc to Madrid, Bali, Somalia, London and elsewhere. More importantly, Israelis themselves are suffering so badly, they may be on the verge of losing their sympathy for the people who have sworn to kill them.
Imagine what it would be like to live, knowing that a rocket could fall on you or your children at any minute. Half of those who live nearest to Gaza have fled their homes. Those remaining are traumatized by daily warning sirens and explosions.
The irony is that Israel has the military might to easily win the war that is being waged against them today. They haven’t used that might, in the past, out of compassion for Palestinian civilians and because it could trigger a wider regional conflict.
That balance of power is about to change, though. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, the very existence of this tiny nation of Israel will be threatened. The Iranian regime has left little doubt that it intends to see Israel “wiped off the map.” Hamas is using the same language, not coincidentally, and has announced it will begin launching missiles into Israel from the West Bank too.If the world doesn’t act to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it must be prepared for the consequences of Israel defending itself.
Fred Thompson is an actor and former Senator. His radio commentary airs on the ABC Radio Network and be blogs on The Fred Thompson Report.
Thompson Moves Toward White House Bid
By LIZ SIDOTI
May 31, 2007
WASHINGTON (AP) — Fred Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and ”Law & Order” actor, is taking significant steps toward an expected summer entry into the crowded but extraordinarily unsettled Republican presidential race.
His likely candidacy could give restless conservatives somewhere to turn.
A crucial bloc of the GOP, those voters have not fully embraced the leading contenders, giving Thompson what his backers argue is an opening for a ”true conservative” who can triumph in November 2008.
The 64-year-old Southerner would bring a right-leaning Senate voting record with a few digressions from GOP orthodoxy and a dash of Hollywood star power given his many movie roles and TV stint as the gruff district attorney on NBC’s popular crime drama.
A Thompson bid also could make the contest to succeed President Bush even more topsy turvy; all three top-tier candidates _ Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney _ could lose some measure of support and the seven underdogs could become even more irrelevant.
Thompson will make his first formal campaign move in the coming days, establishing an official organization to weigh a White House bid while launching a major fundraising drive on Monday, according to several Republicans with knowledge of his plans.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because the timeline is not public, these officials said Thompson may visit early primary states in late June and could officially enter the race as early as the first week in July.
”Senator Thompson is still seriously considering getting into the presidential contest and he is doing everything he has to do to make that final decision,” said Mark Corallo, a Thompson spokesman. ”Stay tuned.”
On Thompson’s schedule in the coming weeks: a speech to Virginia Republicans in Richmond on Saturday and an appearance with Jay Leno on ”The Tonight Show” on June 12. One official said an overseas trip also may be in the works.
For months, Thompson has openly flirted with a candidacy as a Tennessee-based effort sought to draft him into the race. He made several high-profile moves that pointed to a bid, not the least of which was disclosing that he is in remission after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer.
His popularity in national polls spiked to double digits early in the year, but while he still fares well in surveys, his numbers have fallen following what some Republicans considered a subpar speech in early May in California. That’s prompted some rumblings in GOP circles that Thompson may have missed his opportunity to make a splash in the race.
Undaunted, Thompson has been casting himself as a straight-talking conservative in the mold of former President Reagan in speeches and on the Internet.
”He’s not Ronald Reagan, but he’s Reaganesque,” said Ted Malloch of Palm Beach, Fla., the chief executive of a consulting firm who is supporting Thompson. ”Fred is unique in the sense that all the boxes have been checked.”
During his 1994-2002 Senate tenure, he was considered a reliably conservative vote.
He worked to limit the role of the federal government and backed a ban on a late-term abortion procedure. He voted in favor of Bush’s tax cuts, oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, eliminating money for the National Endowment for the Arts and a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. And, he voted against requiring criminal background checks for purchases at gun shows.
But he sometimes took paths that didn’t necessarily sit well with conservatives, including advocating for campaign finance reform. While he voted to oust President Clinton from office, he also was one of 10 Republican senators who voted against one of the two impeachment charges.
Social issues, important to the party’s right, also typically weren’t at the top of his agenda. He was known less as a legislator and more as an investigator, leading the committee that examined former President Clinton’s fundraising in 1996.
Yet, he established a reputation as a less-than-hard worker. The Democratic National Committee issued a research document Wednesday detailing Thompson’s major legislative accomplishments. Save for the title and a DNC disclaimer, it was blank.
Thompson was one of the few senators who backed underdog McCain in 2000 over George W. Bush, the establishment candidate. This time around, Thompson would be opposing McCain _ and could hurt his friend’s own shot at the White House. The two have similar Senate records but Thompson could be seen as a fresher face to McCain, who is well-known to GOP voters.
Romney, who is trying to position himself to the right of the major candidates, also could see his support fall among conservatives concerned about his shifts on issues.
Campaigning in Iowa, Romney said he welcomed a Thompson entry. ”I think he’ll make the race more interesting. He’s got good ideas and after all, he does put bad people in jail every week on ‘Law & Order,”’ he said.
Giuliani could be hindered as well if Thompson grabs the attention of Republicans uneasy with the former New York City mayor’s support for gay and abortion rights.
Campaigning in California, Giuliani said he would welcome Thompson, but argued that he was the stronger candidate based on his record of cutting taxes and combatting terrorism as well as his ability to win a general election.
Ticking off states that went Democratic in 2004, such as California and New York, Giuliani said, ”Those are all states Republicans gave away in the past and the Democrats took for granted. … It doesn’t mean I’ll win all of them, but if I win my fair share of them, then I’ll get elected.”
Over the next few days, Thompson plans to form a ”testing the waters” committee called ”Friends of Fred Thompson,” which will allow him to begin raising money, hire staff and gauge support without officially committing to a White House bid.
He could significantly dampen the fundraising ability of his potential GOP rivals during the homestretch of the second quarter financial reporting period.
”It’s going to cause everybody to have second thoughts about writing a check,” said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist who is unaligned in the race.
Thompson spoke on a conference call Wednesday to several dozen people who officials called ”First Day Founders” and said committed to raising money for him. Participants said they were asked to raise $46,000 apiece, the $2,300 maximum from 10 couples or 20 people.
Officials cautioned that Thompson has made no final decision.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
…but on the 5th of July, once the holiday is over so the story will not be lost in holiday coverage. Polls indicate that 40% of Republicans are unhappy with their current field of potential nominees. The Politico story citing the 4th, and igniting all the brouhaha being well-reported at Hotair.
My money’s on Carl. He gave an on-air report in which he cited direct conversation with at least one source on Thompson’s team. Cameron’s been ahead of this story for awhile.
Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson hasn’t formally announced he’ll run for the Republican presidential nomination — but today he did begin raising money for a prospective bid, USA TODAY Washington bureau chief Susan Page writes. She continues:
In a conference call with about 100 people — many of whom have urged him to jump in the race — Thompson asked for their help in raising funds for a testing-the-waters committee, which is likely to be formed next week. That money could be used for a campaign when and if he’s ready to run.
“I’m not saying anything against any of the candidates, but I think he can fill the vacuum that has not been filled yet on the Republican side,” Mack Mattingly, a former U.S. senator from Georgia who was on the call, says of Thompson. He predicts the actor and former senator “will be just like a magnet” who can attract conservative Democrats and Republicans.
Carl Ricker, a Republican fundraiser and real estate developer from Asheville, N.C., who was also in on the call, says he has delayed giving to other presidential candidates. “I guess there are people out there I could live with,” he says, “but there’s not anyone who made me smile and feel warm inside like Fred does.”
Even before launching a campaign, Thompson finished third in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, at 13% support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. In the survey, taken May 4-6, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani led with 34%; Arizona Sen. John McCain was second at 20%. No other GOP candidate got above 10%.
(Photo of Thompson by Todd Plitt for USA TODAY.)
By Brian Lockhart
May 25, 2007
STAMFORD — Character actor and former Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson’s next role is as president — he’s playing Ulysses S. Grant in the HBO film “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”
But Thompson last night did not end speculation about his possible run for the White House.
“All right, let’s get the announcement out of the way,” Thompson told the crowd of 600 GOP faithful at the Stamford Sheraton on Summer Street. ” ‘Law and Order’ will return for an 18th season.”
Since retiring from Congress in 2002, Thompson, 64, has played a New York City district attorney on the NBC police drama. He was the keynote speaker last night at the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner, where Riverside venture capitalist L. Scott Frantz received the top honor.
Thompson, a conservative from Tennessee inspired by the Barry Goldwater book “Conscience of a Conservative,” sought to rally party members for next year’s national elections.
“There’s a rumbling out in the country, my friends. I think they’re calling to us,” Thompson said.
State Party Chairman Christopher Healy believes Thompson will enter the race.
“He’s doing all the right things for a guy who is running,” Healy said.
Thompson has been making several speaking appearances and is also blogging on issues, including his opposition to the immigration bill.
And Wednesday, Bob Schieffer, the CBS News chief Washington correspondent, was quoted as saying: “I think he is very close to announcing he is going to run É I am told by people around him that he has made the decision. It’s just a question of when he’s going to announce.”
Healy said he invited Thompson to be guest speaker because he is “a rising star.
“It doesn’t hurt to come to a northeast state and try out your message,” said, adding: “I’ve got to sell tickets.”
Dinner guests such as Sen. William Nickerson, R-Greenwich, said Thompson clearly accepted the invitation to make inroads amongst northeastern Republicans. He will have to compete with the more moderate former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who have already announce their candidacies.
“He’s not here for the food,” Nickerson said. “He’s here to test the waters, make contacts, listen to people.”
Although he served in the Senate from 1994 to 2002, Thompson is probably best recognized now as the towering, grim-faced actor who has played a variety of authority figures in movies such as “The Hunt for Red October,” the “Cape Fear” remake, “In the Line of Fire,” “Die Hard II,” and, most recently, on “Law and Order.”
He told the crowd last night that, when asked why he left the Senate, he responds: “After eight years in Washington, I long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood. That’s no joke, my friends.”
Thompson railed in his southern drawl against “the pork-barrel spending and corruption” in Washington.
He mostly targeted the Democratic majority, but said some Republicans are also to blame. He said the party has been making compromises on issues like immigration and the Iraq war over fear of losing more seats in Congress.
“I think (the American people) want our leadership,” Thompson said. “What should we do? Get our own house in order É We can’t make decisions (that are) not in the best interests of our country.”
He said America is beset by a variety of challenges, from government inefficiencies, to “entitlement programs (that are) bankrupting the next generation,” to protecting citizens from terrorists.
“We’re living in a nation beset by suicidal maniacs,” Thompson said, launching into criticism of the immigration bill.
A strong supporter of the Iraq war, Thompson criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for publicly stating the war has been lost — “fine, fine message to those people giving their lives for us” — and the Democrats for debating a timetable for “surrender.
“Al-Qaida have a 100-year plan,” Thompson said. “We have a plan until the next election.”
Thompson also reiterated his support for President Bush’s tax cuts, which have particularly benefited many of the lower Fairfield County residents who sat in the audience last night.
Thompson was introduced by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who probably best summarized the challenges the conservative faces in wooing northeastern Republicans.
Rell said on “Law and Order,” Thompson has performed one of the greatest acting jobs in history — “Convincing television viewers a southern boy can be elected district attorney in New York City.”