The wait of the Fred heads is almost over.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Facing criticism for skipping Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate, Fred Thompson will reach out to potential voters during the debate’s commercial breaks with his first campaign ad, his campaign announced Tuesday.
CNN Political Editor Mark Preston said it is a “wise tactical decision” for Thompson to “crash the party" even if he is not on stage with his rivals.
“It makes a lot of sense for Thompson to show people who are watching the debate that he is indeed going to seek the GOP nomination,” said Preston.
Although Thompson may be skipping his first chance to face his rivals, he won't be missing out on face time. The former Tennessee senator will also appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday night, which airs an hour after the debate ends.
The first ad, called "Debate," is scheduled to air nationally on Fox News during the debate. "Today, as before, the fate of millions across the world depends on the unity and resolve of the American people. I'll talk about this tomorrow, on Fred08.com. I advise you to take a look and join us," Thompson says in the ad.
His campaign would not comment on why the commercials will air only on Fox News. Spokesman Jeff Sadosky called it a "strategic decision" and said the campaign "doesn't get into strategies."
The campaign will release a second, slightly modified ad that will air on Fox News all day on Thursday.
Thompson will officially announce that he's running for president at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich