Fred Thompson presidential campaign, 2008

Fred Thompson presidential campaign, 2008

Infobox U.S. federal election campaign, 2008
committee = Fred Thompson for President 2008

campaign = U.S. presidential election, 2008
candidate = Fred Thompson
U.S. Senator 1994–2003
status = Withdrawn
affiliation = Republican Party
headquarters = Nashville, Tennessee
key_people = Bill Lacy (chairman)
receipts =
slogan = Security · Unity · Prosperity

Fred Thompson was a Republican Party primary candidate to represent his party in the 2008 United States presidential election. Thompson has worked as a lawyer, lobbyist, and character actor, and he represented Tennessee as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1994 through 2003.

Campaign development


On March 11 2007, Thompson appeared on "Fox News Sunday" to discuss the possibility of a 2008 candidacy for president. The announcement spurred several grassroots draft movements, including a well-organized draft campaign started by Dean Rice, a former Thompson political aide, in Knoxville, Tennessee. While Thompson had not yet formally announced his intentions, he said he would "leave the door open." [cite web |url=,2933,258222,00.html |title=Transcript: Former Sen. Fred Thompson on 'FOX News Sunday' |publisher=Fox news |date=March 11, 2007] He stated that he would not be interested in accepting a hypothetical nomination for vice president, explaining "I don't think I would ever want to do that and be in the second position." [Seidman, Joel. [ "Thompson rules out VP spot on GOP ticket"] , "MSNBC" (2007-05-11).]

Thompson's March 11 announcement spurred a flurry of conjecture, discussion, and activity on the Internet. A "Draft Fred Thompson" forum site became a particularly popular online forum for supporters. [See [] .] One group of supporters organized under the banner "FredHeadsUSA" with a plan to build a grassroots political movement to expand on Thompson's support on the Internet. [See the [ FredHeadsUSA web site] and the [ FredHeads web site] .]

On May 15, Thompson published a video in which he declined to debate Michael Moore about Cuba. [cite web
url= |title=Thompson Responds to Michael Moore Challenge | |format=video clip |date=May 15, 2007 |accessdate=2007-05-17
] On May 18, he continued his Internet campaign by posting a letter to Pajamas Media acknowledging his online supporters. [cite news |url= |title=To PJM and Friends |first=Fred |last=Thompson |publisher="Pajamas Media" | date=21 May, 2007]

Thompson formed an exploratory committee on June 1, 2007.cite news | title =Fred Thompson to Speak in Richmond | publisher =WHSV TV | date =2007-06-01 | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-03 ] Unlike most candidate exploratory groups, his organized as a 527 group. [cite news | last=Horrigan | first=Marie |title =Fred Thompson’s Long ‘Exploration’ Raises Money — and Confusion | publisher =Congressional Quarterly | date =2007-07-31 | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-08 ] Thompson made his first public appearance after this exploratory committee formed on June 2 at the Virginia Republicans annual fund-raising gala in Richmond, Virginia.cite news | last =Lessig | first =Hugh | coauthors = | title =Media horde to follow Thompson to Richmond | work = | pages = | language = | publisher =Daily Press | date =2007-06-01 | url =,0,3989752.story?coll=dp-news-local-final | accessdate = 2007-06-03 ] Shortly thereafter, on June 5, 2007, Thompson launched his official website. [ [] ] The same day, there was a Republican Presidential candidates debate with the then current 10 candidates, from New Hampshire, broadcast on CNN. Thompson was mentioned repeatedly as one of the poll front runners, even though he did not participate. [Struglinski, Suzanne and Roche, Lisa. [,1249,660226839,00.html "Actor heightens GOP debate drama"] , "Deseret Morning News" (2007-06-05).]

On June 12, 2007, Thompson appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". He would not announce his candidacy, but referred to his presidential exploratory committee, which he stated had yielded positive prospects. Leno mentioned that Thompson was #2 in the polls, and asked him if he would at least state if he would like the job of President. Thompson responded that, while he did not crave the job itself, there were things he would like to do that he could only do by holding that office. [cite news | title =Thompson Tells Leno He Would Like to Be President | publisher =Fox News | date =2007-06-07 | url =,2933,281596,00.html | accessdate = 2007-06-28 ]


On July 31, 2007, the Thompson committee reported to the IRS that it had raised almost $3.5 million and spent $625,000 in its first month. [cite web | title =Thompson Committee Raises Millions in One Month | url= | date=August 4, 2007 | accessdate =2007-08-13 ]

Thompson visited Iowa on August 17, 2007, but did not then officially launch his presidential campaign. Thompson was asked by NBC if he was officially in the race for president. Thompson replied with a simple "No." It was also noted that Thompson was already prepping for the Republican debates, so that he would be able to join the other Republican candidates on stage at the events after becoming an announced candidate.

Prior to Thompson's entry into the presidential race on September 5, 2007, the September 10, 2007 issue of "Newsweek" hit newsstands with a detailed cover story about him.Bailey, Holly. [ "Grin and Bear It"] , "Newsweek" (2007-09-10).]

Official announcement

Thompson declared his intent to seek the nomination on September 5, 2007 on the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno",cite news |url=|date=2007-09-05 |publisher=Forbes |title=Thompson Finally Steps Onstage |author=Steve McGookin Brief excerpts from the Tonight Show appearance are [ available from NBC] .] accompanied by a 15-minute web video. [Bond, Paul. [ "Fred Thompson Says Rivals Got in Presidential Race Too Early"] (2007-09-06). The 15-minute video is available at [] .] He then began a five-day tour of early voting states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The campaign begins

In late September and early October, Fred Thompson made several blunders including not being aware of the Supreme Court decision regarding lethal injection, [ [ Thompson unaware of death penalty cases - Tommy Thompson News - ] ] confusing the party in power during the John Roberts nomination, [ Thompson's slip-ups on the stump - MSNBC Video ] ] being unaware of the controversy over drilling for oil in the Everglades, [ On Stump, Low-Key Thompson Stirs Few Sparks - New York Times ] ] and confusing Russia and the Soviet Union [ Video Player ] ] .

On September 27, 2007, PBS television hosted a Republican debate in Baltimore, Maryland, at Morgan State University that aired live on PBS and on Thompson, who missed his first debate opportunity since declaring his candidacy, was criticized by event organizers and other GOP candidates for his absence. [ [ Washington Post] ] The October 9, 2007,
CNBC, "The Wall Street Journal", and the University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. [ [] ] [ [] ] featured Thompson in attendance.

December 2007

In early December, Fred Thompson rejected the NIE report stating that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program. [ [ Taking Iran ‘Off the Table’ - Council on Foreign Relations ] ] He later stated that the report should be looked at with skepticism. [] [ [ Thompson Says NIE Report Could Be "Too Good To Be True" - Horserace ] ]

Primaries and caucuses

Thompson competed in the Republican primary or caucus in five states. He won 13% of the vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses, trailing Mike Huckabee (34%) and Mitt Romney (25%). John McCain also got 13%, but Thompson got more actual votes. [cite news |url= |title=Primary Results for Iowa |date=2008-01-05 |publisher=CNN ] Thompson won 3 of the 12 delegates in the Wyoming Republican County Conventions on January 5, 2008. [cite news |url= |title=Primary Results for Wyoming |date=2008-01-05 |publisher=CNN ]

On January 15, 2008, Thompson placed 5th in the Michigan Republican primary with 4% of the vote, winning no delegates. [cite news |url= |title=Primary Results for Michigan |date=2008-01-17 |publisher=CNN ] He received 8% of the vote in the Nevada Caucuses, placing 5th, on January 19, 2008. He did not win any delegates. [cite news |url= |title=Primary Results for Nevada |date=2008-01-17 |publisher=CNN ]

On January 19, 2008, Thompson placed 3rd in the South Carolina primary with 16% of the vote, earning no delegates. [cite news |url= |title=Primary Results for South Carolina |date=2008-01-22 |publisher=CNN ] Thompson was counting on a win in the southern conservative state to save his struggling campaign, and his poor showing was seen as a fatal blow to his candidacy. [ [ Christian Right Still in Search of Ideal Candidate], Jan. 21, 2008] [ [,0,7087454.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout S.C. primary could cut Thompson out of script] Chicago Tribune, Jan. 19, 2008] [ [ Early failures force Thompson out of race], Jan. 22, 2008] [ [ Is this the end of Fred’s run?] Nashville City Paper, Jan. 21, 2008]

Withdrawal from race

On January 22, 2008, after finishing third in South Carolina — a primary which he'd publicly said he needed to win — Thompson announced his withdrawal from the race. In a statement released by his campaign, Thompson said, "Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort." He did not immediately endorse any of the remaining candidates, [cite news|url=|publisher=Associated Press|date=2008-01-22|title=Fred Thompson Quits Presidential Race] but in February 2008 endorsed John McCain. [ [ Fred Thompson Endorses John McCain] ]

Delegate counts

Campaign staff and policy team

Political insiders in Tennessee expected the inner circle of a Thompson campaign to include, in addition to his politically experienced wife, a number of functionaries with whom Thompson has been associated in the past. [Cillizza, Chris. [ "Fred Thompson's Inner Circle"] , "'s Politics Blog" (2007-06-12)] Also said to be likely senior advisers were former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie, former vice president of the food and tobacco company Altria Tom Collamore, PR man Mark Corallo, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission Michael E. Toner, former Senate aide Tom Daffron, longtime Tennessee politician Tom Ingram and Congressman Zach Wamp. [cite news | first = Ken | last = Whitehouse | title = The 'Inner Fred' | url =
publisher = | date = June 1, 2007 | accessdate = 2007-06-01
] On July 24, 2007, Thompson announced he was replacing his acting campaign manager, Tom Collamore, with former Michigan Senator and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Florida GOP strategist Randy Enright. [ Associated Press, "Thompson Shakes Up Staff", by LIBBY QUAID, July 24, 2007] ] Collamore would remain as an advisor, Enright would be political director, and Abraham did not have a title. [cite web | title = Former Michigan senator Abraham to co-chair Thompson bid | first = Lib | last = Quaid | publisher = Associated Press | url= | date = July 25, 2007 | accessdate = 2007-08-13] On August 8, 2007, Bill Lacy was named manager of Thompson's "testing the waters committee". Lacy had worked in the campaigns of Presidents Reagan and Bush, as well as Senator Bob Dole, and had worked on Thompson's 1994 campaign. [cite web | title =Bill Lacy Named Committee Manager | url= | date=August 8, 2007 | accessdate =2007-08-13 ]

Political positions

Thompson describes Federalism as his "lodestar", providing "a basis for a proper analysis of most issues: 'Is this something government should be doing? If so, at what level of government?'"Thompson, Fred. [,filter.all/pub_detail.asp "Federalism 'n' Me"] , AEI (2007-04-23). Retrieved 2007-05-13.]

Thompson supports free trade and low taxes.Thompson, Fred. [ "Prepared Remarks for Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner"] , ABC Radio, May 4, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.] [Thompson, Fred. [ "Case Closed: Tax Cuts Mean Growth"] , ABC Radio, April 14, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.] He is a self-described authentic conservative since he was part of the Conservative Revolution of the 90s. He says that "Roe v. Wade" was a wrong decision that ought to be overturned, and that he is pro-life, [cite news
title = Transcript: Former Sen. Fred Thompson on 'FOX News Sunday'
date = 2007-03-11
accessdate = 2007-06-17
] but he also has said that states should decide not to criminalize young women for early term abortions. [,2933,278554,00.html "Exclusive! Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson on Possible White House Bid"] , "Fox News Interview" (2007-06-05).] [Bailey, Holly. " [ Away From the Cameras] ," "Newsweek" (2007-06-25).] Thompson is skeptical that humanity is to blame for global warming. [Thompson, Fred. [,pubID.25833/pub_detail.asp "Plutonic Warming"] , AEI, March 22, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.] He says citizens are entitled to keep and bear arms if they do not have criminal records.Thompson, Fred. [ "Armed with the Truth"] , ABC Radio, May 10, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.] Thompson's support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation brought criticism from groups such as Gun Owners of America (GOA), who said that the legislation limited their ability to inform the public about the gun rights voting records of incumbent politicians.Fields, Craig. [ "Presidential Candidates And The Second Amendment: Fred Thompson"] , Gun Owners of America (GOA). Accessed June 10, 2007.] Thompson now says that the limitation on political speech within thirty or sixty days of an election was wrong and should be repealed. [ [,2933,278554,00.html Sean Hannity interview of Fred Thompson] , Fox News, June 6, 2007. Accessed June 9, 2007.] Thompson says U.S. borders need to be secured before considering comprehensive immigration reform. Thompson supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but he believes that mistakes have been made since then.cite web
title = Former Sen. Fred Thompson on 'FOX News Sunday'
date = 2007-03-11
url =,2933,258222,00.html
accessdate = 2007-07-02
] He is opposed to withdrawal from Iraq.cite web
title = Thompson: U.S. must rebuild military
date = 2007-08-21
url =
accessdate = 2007-07-02
] He also believes that Iran should be taken seriously.Thompson, Fred. [ "Remarks to Policy Exchange in London"] (2007-06-19). Retrieved 2007-07-02.]


January 11 2008, Human Events, a popular weekly conservative magazine, officially endorsed Thompson saying, "Thompson best represents conservative principles." [ [ Human Events Endorsement Page] , January 11 2008] ]

On November 13 2007, the National Right to Life Committee announced its endorsement of Fred Thompson, stating "Our endorsement is a testament to Senator Thompson’s long-standing pro-life record, his commitment to unborn children, and our belief in his ability to win." [ [ National Right to Life Committee press release] , November 13 2007]

As of September 6 2007, Thompson had been endorsed by 20 current members of Congress, including both Tennessee senators. [ [ Endorsements '08] , "The Hill" (2007-08-01). Retrieved 2007-08-30.] Also, on June 12 2007 former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (New York) endorsed Thompson for president. [Keating, Raymond. [,0,5031278.story?coll=ny-viewpoints-headlinesa "D'Amato could be right on Thompson"] , "Newsday" (2007-06-18). Retrieved 2007-08-30.]

Former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker of Tennessee also expressed his support, saying: "If I had to pick one thing that qualifies him to be president, it's this: he approaches things calmly, deliberately—and he doesn't shoot from the hip."

ee also

*United States Republican presidential candidates, 2008
*Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
*Opinion Polling for the Republican Party


External links

* [ The Fred Thompson Report] , ABC Radio Networks (official site).
* [ The Official YouTube Page for Fred Thompson] (official video site).
* [ The Official Flickr Page for Fred Thompson] (official photo site).
* [ Spartan Internet Political Performance (SIPP) Index - Ranking of Fred Thompson Internet-wide popularity] Weekly
* [ The Fred Thompson Papers] , University of Tennessee (official archive).
*imdb name | id = 0000669 | name = Fred Dalton Thompson acting career.
* [ Center for Responsive Politics] (aka campaign contributions.
* [ The Fred Files] Lobbying disclosures, 1975–1994.
* [ Fred Thompson Hometown Biography] , Lawrenceburg Tennessee

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