August 30, 2007

Thompson Launch Date Set

Fred Thompson has announced his announcement date, a sentence that only makes sense in the Byzantine world of American campaign finance law. He will officially declare himself a Presidential candidate on September 6th, a move that will allow him to publicly argue for his election based on specific policy proposals, raise cash, and attend debates:

Republican Fred Thompson, whose entry into the presidential race has been long anticipated, will officially launch his candidacy Sept. 6 in a webcast on his campaign site, followed by a five-day tour of early primary states, the Associated Press has learned.

A tour of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina will quickly follow the Internet announcement, with stops in Florida as well, and a homecoming event in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. on Sept. 15.

Thompson brings to the eight-man GOP field a right-leaning Senate voting record with a few digressions from GOP orthodoxy and a healthy dose of Hollywood star power. He is hoping to attract conservatives who are lukewarm about the current crop of candidates.

Earlier this year, Thompson watched his popularity soar in polls when he acknowledged he was considering a run. Since then, he's consistently ranked among the top Republicans in national polls and surveys in key states alike.

Not surprisingy, the Senator got asked a couple of questions at the Minnesota State Fair press conference just prior to my interview. He gave a pretty extensive answer to it, which can be found in the full transcript at Heading Right. He talked of his long period of exploration and what it meant -- and what it didn't mean:

We’ve been working hard for a long time. We’ve been doing in a few months what others have taken years to do in some cases. You have to build an organization and a financial network and all that, and it’s best to go ahead and do it and not worry about the Beltway Pundits and all those people making money off the political scheme nowadays and the rules that they make up. Traditionally, you know, people announce in September, October, November and even later historically. They all changed the rules this time.

One reporter suggested that the delay allowed Thompson to get a free ride, a suggestion at which Thompson scoffed:

Well, the question is that I’ve gotten a free ride and nobody has criticized me but that might change if I announced. Have you not been reading the papers and listening to the news? They’re firing everything at me but Gatling guns and have been for months and it doesn’t seem to hurt me much but, you know, they may ratchet it up once I’m out, I don’t know but there’s been criticism of me and stories put out about my family and wife and all that for a long, long time now as if to discourage me and frankly it makes us more resolute.

People have criticized the long entry time for Thompson into the race, but it's really a reflection of his later start on even considering a candidacy. Rudy Giuliani has been putting together an organization since 2004, as has John McCain. They started their official exploratory committees in November or December, but they had made it plain that they would run in 2008 long before then. Thompson didn't consider it until this year, and it takes time and effort to put together a viable national organization for a presidential run -- and in the fifty-plus presidential cycles before now, a September launch would have been early rather than late.

Now that he's a candidate, he has the opportunity to flesh out some of his positions. His exploratory status constrained him to a certain extent, but he still tried working around it when possible through his syndicated column or website presentations. He doesn't sound like a man looking to avoid a fight, and in fact on Monday sounded like a man spoiling for one:

Q: Senator, as a follow up to that, Congress as you mentioned, has very low approval rating, so does the President. Are you worried that the next election for Republicans is going to be a referendum on President Bush?

FT: Well, if we make this a referendum on the past like the Democrats want, and we insist on doing everything the same way as we have in the past, we run the traditional king of campaign with the traditional kind of candidates and saying the traditional kind of things to the traditional kinds of people, we’ll lose , big time. This election is about the future. No question the Republicans have a ditch to get out of before we can get on equal footing. We’ve got to recognize that and do better. But that doesn’t mean wallowing in the past or mistakes that the President or anyone else has made. Goodness knows he made some, he’s human. My history books tell me that every President that we’ve ever had has done that. We’ve got to concentrate on the future and our vision of this country and our faith in this country and our beliefs and that we can be stronger and we can come out of these problems wiser than we have been in times past. If we do that compare what we have to offer or what our candidate has to offer, if we do it the right way, we’ll be just fine and ancient history won’t be the difference.

Be sure to read the whole transcript. Also, check out Jim Geraghty's take on the announcement.


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» Fred, finally from Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
Fred Thompson's national political director has announced that the former Tennessee senator will officially become a candidate for President on September 6th. While I lean toward Giuliani, I welcome Thompson's entry into the race. He's a thoughtful com... [Read More]

» Rumors On Fred Thompson Official Announcement Today from Stop The ACLU
Will he announce on Leno? On the call, Thompson will detail his plans for the future, which are expected to include an appearance on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” on Wednesday night — even as his rivals debate on Fox — and cou... [Read More]

Comments (31)

Posted by You Are No Reagan | August 30, 2007 3:54 PM

Just as his cricitcs predicted. He will announce the day after the debate so he doesnt have to face his competitors, yet again.

Posted by starfleet_dude | August 30, 2007 3:58 PM

Moving up the announcement one whole day and taking part in the debate in New Hampshire was evidently too early for Fred. I'd say that'll chap more than a few GOP asses in the Granite State. But that's o.k. since NH is such a small and unimportant part of the process.

Posted by Nate, Denver CO | August 30, 2007 4:05 PM

He just gave up New Hampshire by snubbing the debate. Would it have killed him to get his toe out of the water 1 day sooner?

Posted by A FReddy Cat | August 30, 2007 4:06 PM

He is skerrred to debate.

Posted by flenser | August 30, 2007 4:10 PM

Traditionally, you know, people announce in September, October, November and even later historically.

He's right about this, and I don't understand the eagerness to basically wrap up the nomination process at a stage when it should be just beginning.

I suppose the 2012 candidates had better start running the day after the next President is sworn in, if not earlier. This is getting absurd.

Posted by You Are No Reagan | August 30, 2007 4:18 PM

It was Fred who said he was going to run a non-traditonal campaign. And now it is Fred again who wants to cite tradition for his delayed entry into the race.

Typical politician, talking out of both sides of his mouth, grandstanding, and trying to re-write his own past.

Fred is about belly flop into the water...just a few more days now.

Posted by starfleet_dude | August 30, 2007 4:25 PM

He's right about this, and I don't understand the eagerness to basically wrap up the nomination process at a stage when it should be just beginning.

With the process being as front-loaded as it is in 2008, those who hesitate to get in the race are only losing ground to their competitors. Thompson might not like the facts on the ground facing him, but that doesn't make them any less real.

Posted by Shelby | August 30, 2007 4:36 PM

Sure, he's formally announcing his campaign about when people have in previous years -- but this time, the primaries have been moved up. He won't even have four months before they begin. In the past, a September announcement meant you had at least six months before Iowa.

Posted by Fredick of Hollwood | August 30, 2007 4:55 PM

Fred is going to announce on Jay Leno's show, that he is scheduled to appear on 9/5/07. He will do it after midnight, so he can technically say its 9/6/07. This is just a transparent attempt to upstage the New Hampshire debates and draw attention to FREDERICK OF HOLLYWOOD, the socon savior!

Posted by Ron C | August 30, 2007 5:05 PM

Awww.. look't the whiners here.

Poor babies just can't git their thumbs out'a their orifices.

Posted by Honky | August 30, 2007 5:06 PM

Does it matter if Fred missed one meaningless debate? There will be plenty more before the voting starts, and since they're not worth anything anyway, I don't think this will matter.

Posted by Carol Herman | August 30, 2007 5:11 PM

Oh, dear.

Perhaps, once this was well planned. Now, it's just poorly executed.

First, I noticed that Newt got a headline out of it, up at Drudge, where this POS was able to "claim" he was advising Fred. And, he told Fred to "announce by video." Whatver.

Now, he's playing with dates, as if he's a groom, about to be married. And, the "venue he wants," is busy that day. So, he's opting for "another." Which is better than "opting out."

The other thing?

The Larry Craig scandal is now a full blown Internet topic. Will it go away by September 6th? Or will there be "overlapping announcements?"

I dunno.

But I do know that the Catholic Church really dragged its feet, before admitting that yes,"some priests had in fact molested little alter boys. And, there were no punishments to the priests; other than they got to relocate. That little "dance" ended up costing the Church about a billion dollars. Loss of prestige. And, today? More empty pews in Catholic Churches. Nowhere near "what was."

But you could ignore a tragedy, thinking homosexuality is "always a different subject; per individual." And, as far as a lot of people on the right are expressing themselves (when they're not expressing disgust), is: "

When Barney Franks resigns, then Larry Craig's gotta-go."

Up next, meaning coming up right after Labor Day, will be multi-announcements. And, the GOP will either be in hot water; or not.

The Bonkeys are counting on increasing the heat after the frog fell into the pot. And, Fred's gonna do what? Start a parade to himself, to change the subject?

The Internet does to the news cycles something that never existed, before.

While in LA-LA land, where Fred spent some time in front of cameras, things can take forever "to put in the can."

He misjudged.

And, it's possible he won't get the expected momentum.

Let alone that the Larry Craig mess shines the lights, again, on the religious right; where there's now an assumption, growing out there, that it houses bigots. And, hypocrites.


I don't even know if it matters that Larry Craig accuses others of "setting him up." HE wasn't in Idaho. He flew into Minneapolis/St.Paul. Now who gave him the tip that this was a "hot location?"

ANd, why did Larry Craig confuse taking his time, with it being good? Which is the same question I'd have for Fred. Fred, you may understand TV. But you don't understand the Internet.

And, you've picked poorly when it came to making your announcement. Won't help much, either, if Larry Craig also goes home.

The affirmative action crowd doesn't want to lose its advantages!

Keep in mind that foot dragging isn't dancing. And, it never helps. Even if your leg manages to dance itself into someone else's stall in a public restroom; your script isn't the best one to show off your skills. Unless, perhaps, you're a comedian? And, not someone claiming stellar skills to win the White House.

Posted by skeptical | August 30, 2007 5:12 PM

I don't think it's the Byzantine world of campaign finance law as much as the Byzantine world campaign media hype, the lining up of tie-ins, merchandising, the cascade of appearances at thousand dollar a plate dinners, etc. The problem with taking the time to get all the ducks in a row is it's given everyone else opportunity to create the Fred narrative.

Posted by Carol Herman | August 30, 2007 5:22 PM

Skeptical, that one doesn't fly. There are other people in the race. True, some never get further up the nomination platform than in the low digit terrain. But Fred's need for "tie-in's?" Or new shoes. Or, staff. I could care less.

He blew it.

THe delay isn't playing out well.

And, maybe, it's the Internet, which speeds things up?

If I had to guess from here? I think Fred won't make the top of the list. Where, if you look, now, you won't see McCain, either. (He sure got surprised!)

But you'll see Guiliani. And, Romney.

For comic relief? Well, you've always got Ron Paul.

Sure, I could be wrong. Nobody's able to predict the future. But I think Fred "miss-stepped." Seems this is the month for it, too.

And, yes, politics is a contest. Up ahead? The stuff's gonna start to fly. And, if Fred's misstep reflects on the GOP? Don't discount that the Bonkeys are gonna look into everything that gives them an edge. Or better. Increases the heat under the pot so the frog inside gets cooked, without even screaming.

Posted by Sharpshooter | August 30, 2007 5:22 PM

Pay not attention to those (juvenile) yapping Chiuahuas.

Posted by flenser | August 30, 2007 5:27 PM

Sure, he's formally announcing his campaign about when people have in previous years -- but this time, the primaries have been moved up.

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. The dates of the primaries have been in flux, and still are. Was he supposed to see this ahead of time and start running two years ago like the others?

It's not as if the primary schedule was known back in January. Heck, it's not even known now.

Posted by Sicko | August 30, 2007 5:28 PM

Is Fred undergoing chemo or HIV treatments? Both? His pictures of late look ghoulish. Seriously, the man is not well.

Posted by Captain Ed | August 30, 2007 5:32 PM

The Iowa caucus has always been in January. That has not changed at all.

Posted by NH | August 30, 2007 5:50 PM

Ah no one cares about Fred here in NH anyway.

He's just another Bush neocon who claims he has no idea about the NAU..
Whether stupid or lying, we want neither!

Posted by Carol Herman | August 30, 2007 6:03 PM

Sharpshooter, nobody forces you to pay attention.

But it's been months, now, since Fred "looked like a candidate." And, exactly what month was it when he first appeared?

Did he call those who were already up on the nomination stage, "midgets."

Was he hoping there would be fewer than ten "interested parties," by the time he dances on stage? The only person to drop out, so far, is Tommy Thompson.

And, since nobody can call a future event, there are no "chiuahuas." Only right guesses. Or wrong ones.

When I first heard Fred's name "floated," Mitt Romney and Guiliani were already out there. Doing the things candidates do, going from place to place. And, trying to build the machinery that will take them to victory.

They're further along, now. And, Fred looks lame. What's gonna make his date of announcement so special?

Again, I'm not a fortune teller. I can't tell ya if Fred gets to first place. Or not. But it seems that he's gonna hit headwinds in September, when people put the summer behind them; following Labor Day. And, the Bonkeys aren't asleep.

In previous primaries, it's true. The religious right gained political clout.

But that doesn't prove it will be the same, ahead, either.

And, of all the comments I've heard, I heard Ann Coulter make on a few weeks ago, on Drudge. She said "even in very conservative states," a politician will just say "enough" and no more than he has to, to sway voters. I thought she was correct. That she made a smart observation.

And, I do see what's going on, too, with all the attempts to advance the 2008 election; so that we'll be voting, in droves, in comparison to the past, during the winter of 2008. Will it mean that candidates appealing to their base, will still have to reach the mainstream to get elected? And, what does that mean? Are we really splitting in two parts? And, the GOP can't pull ahead of the Bonkeys?

Fortune telling is not allowed.

The only cards you see peeking through is the one that just exploded from the deck, the Joker, Larry Craig.

Where I wouldn't venture to guess is that "something gives" with Larry Craig's seat; and then? Idaho's governor gets to send in another. Headline material. Where you have only one spot for "front and center," could mean Fred Thompson's announcement will be treated as old news.

Politics isn't enough of a science that wish fullments work. No Fitzmas. No nothin.

But I just don't see Fred's advantage, here. He's tall. So what? He's still competing with ten guys for the nomination. It's as if all the bowling pins are still standing.

Posted by thatcher | August 30, 2007 6:04 PM

If this NH debate is going to be another one of those U-Tube thingys, I think everyone should skip it.
Overall these socalled "debates" have been worthless and few people watch. I think all the candidates should give it a rest until they mean something and you at least have an audience. And by all means, cutout the stupid "Politico" and U-Tube questions and get a serious moderator with serious questions. They all look like a pack of fools with these formats.

Posted by edward cropper | August 30, 2007 6:44 PM

what difference does it make when Fried I mean Fred announces his wake.With all due respect the man looks more and more like a cadaver.
He is going to announce on the Tonight show? Great place for a "conservative" to announce to all Leno's young liberal viewers that Grandpa Thompson is revving up his Viagra Express.
The Republican's are pathetic. They had all those years to build a solid long term representative party but preferred to play let's make a deal.

Posted by newton | August 30, 2007 6:45 PM

I'm sorry: I pressed Enter before I even started to write! :(

I wonder if it will be too late for Fred Thompson. Notice how early the primaries for 2008 are becoming. He will have to cram all the dough he can get to campaign!

Posted by Rovin | August 30, 2007 7:03 PM

THe delay isn't playing out well.If I had to guess from here? I think Fred won't make the top of the list.

Maharashi Herman may not have a clue as to how this is "playing out". How bout, this is perfect. No one has left an impression that can't be overtaken in a heartbeat and Thompson's got the ball.....and he's holding it for a while. While the lefties whine and the libitarians doodle.

How bout I bet Thompson's at the top of the list in 120 days. That bold enough? And he beats the Hildabeast by 20 points in the GE.

Posted by Rose | August 30, 2007 7:52 PM

I'm thrilled to tell it over and over again - I've had total success in face to face discussions with friends and relatives in turning them OFF the potential of voting for McCain's best friend and 2000 Prexy campaign manager, supporter and promoter and voter for McCain Feingold, protege of Howard Baker, and one of 4 GOP Senators, a FORMER PROSECUTOR who voted NOT GUILTY on Clinton's PERJURY and NOW CALLS that perjury in a personal injury lawsuit deposition TAPED LIVE BEFORE AN INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE including world leaders a "TRIVIAL MATTER", that our Founding Fathers wouldn't consider worthy of rising to the level of Impeachment.

I don't hope this guy is TOAST - I hope he is BURNT CHARCOAL BRIQUETS.

If the GOP puts up a RINO like this turkey, I'll be voting for a Conservative in the General Election.

And for the lunatic trolls - THAT IS NOT A VOTE FOR RON PAUL or for Ralph Nader!

I guar-own-TEE!!!

Posted by mrlynn | August 30, 2007 8:03 PM

If Fred has any sense, he'll skip all these amateur-hour 'debates', until he can get a solid one-on-one hour with the other top candidate, on his own terms: no 'moderator', no silly questions. In the meantime, he'll just tour and make speeches, building his own following.

That's what I'd advise. Of course, he hasn't asked me.

Fred Dalton Thompson is probably the only Republican who can stop Mrs. Bill Clinton in her tracks.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Mark | August 30, 2007 11:43 PM

"You Are No Reagan" is obviously a professional Thompson agitator. Ed, isn't there an easy way you can check if he posted from a Romney or Giuliani office computer?

Posted by Ron C | August 31, 2007 7:28 AM

Now begins the fun... I'm betting that Thompson will bypass the top runner Guiliani and the second-placer, Romney within 30 days or less... public polling that is.

But as I've said before - NONE of that really matters at the moment - and neither do the so-called primaries, really. What does matter are the GOP delegates from every state that are sent to the national nominating convention. It is their vote at the convention that nominates.

It isn't how popular a candidate is in the polls, how much money he has raised or how long he has been a legally declared candidate. NOTE, popularity has effect, yes... and the amount of money coming in has greater effect - but, mark my words. Not ALL of that gone by in the recent past is counted - what is counted is what happens from this coming Thursday to the date of the convention... and believe me, it's a new ball-game beginning right now - and almost everything is about to radically change.

Posted by Ron C | August 31, 2007 7:51 AM

"I bet Thompson's at the top of the list in 120 days. That bold enough? And he beats the Hildabeast by 20 points in the GE." - Rovin

Not as bold as I think reality might be... I'm of the opinion Fred will top the Rasmussen polls in less than 30 days - and the lefty polls in little more than 60 days. And yes - he'll make the Hildabeast-supporting socialists cry... but, not by 20 points... ~grin~

But - keep your eye on your state GOP delegates to the GOP convention. What are they saying and doing... they make the nomination with their votes. I'm looking for a real cat-fight battle at the convention - between RINO delegates from the big coastal states and the more conservative delegates from fly-over land states. That's where the real action is going to take place - and the fight for who goes to the convention has long been underway!

Ever been a delegate? Want to be one...? You should enter the real political arena, and get your feet wet. It starts in your own district, a few blocks from where you live... go to your next district GOP committee (or Ward) meeting, and begin your trek to the convention. You would never regret it - and you could say you helped nominate a President.

Posted by james23 | August 31, 2007 8:40 AM

Fred! was testin' the waters, and collectin' the cash. Oops, except you're not really supposed to do much fundraising while testin'.

So some lib filed an FEC Complaint against Mr. Excitement.
Dang, what rotten timing!

Posted by JAF | August 31, 2007 1:26 PM

Really? Traditionally candidates have gotten in during November when the first votes were two months later in Iowa?!

The most annoying part of the Thompson campaign is that you take us for idiots. Somehow, "Law and Order" is still being shown on TV even after he is officially declaring. But the Fredheads were claiming for SIX MONTHS that was the only reason he couldn't contest like everyone else.

Now he gets to skip his fifth debate- but has time to go on the Jay Leno show. I certainly do hope that New Hampshire voters take note of that. His campaign has been one mistake after another with 7 staffers either quitting or being fired. And to say that he has to deal with arcane election rules- well didn't he SUPPORT Mccain-Feingold?!!!

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