See below for updates.
Fred Thompson, whose potential entry into the 2008 presidential race has him already third in Republican polling, announced today that he has a manageable form of lymphoma:
Republican Fred Thompson, the actor-politician who is considering a bid for president, said Wednesday he has lymphoma, a form of cancer.
In an interview with Fox News, the former Tennessee senator said he is in remission and the diagnosis shouldn't affect his life expectancy.
Thompson, 64, told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto that he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but hasn't been ill or had any symptoms. ...
Some of these subtypes are termed "indolent," meaning they typically respond well to treatment — patients often go into remission for long periods, but the disease is not cured and may need to be battled back again periodically.
This may throw some cold water on the Thompson boomlet. Some voters have expressed reservations about the health of John McCain after his battles with skin cancer. Similarly, Rudy Giuliani has battled prostate cancer, although he has been clear for about six years.
Lymphoma sounds more serious, even if it may not be. It will cause some people to think twice about supporting Thompson with this condition even if it is manageable.
UPDATE: I think Hot Air is right -- the release of this information indicates that Thompson is clearing the decks for a presidential run. I'm just not sure whether he can overcome it.
UPDATE II: Of course, our prayers go out to Thompson and his family for health and strength; sometimes we forget to prioritize these issues properly. Mea culpa.
UPDATE III: Bill Frist -- Dr. Bill Frist -- seems to confirm the "clearing the decks" theory:
In my view, this disclosure indicates his seriousness as a potential candidate. He's a dedicated public servant with true conservative credentials, extraordinary communications skills and a devotion to his principles.
I hope you'll continue to post your statements encouraging Fred to run so that I can share them with him and other supporters across the country.
UPDATE IV: I've made a few calls on my lunch break, and here's the scoop. Fred's had this for almost three years now, and he's not missed any work or slowed down at all during that time. He and his wife had a child during this period, which gives an indication that he has plenty of stamina; after all, shooting schedules for weekly television programs are not known to be kind to cast and crew.
Why is he announcing this now? Word is that he wants to make sure that his supporters feel comfortable with the issue before proceeding, and he's interested in the commentary. He's a straight shooter and he didn't want this to be a surprise during a campaign -- he's laying his cards on the table. For Fred supporters, that thought process should be very encouraging.