DECORAH, Iowa (CNN) - Fred Thompson is suddenly trying to go from great GOP disappointment, to surprise contender, in record time.
“It's a little late in the process to be coy so I want to tell you that I believe I’m that man,” he told a 100 plus person audience in Dubuque, Iowa.
Thompson is on a 15 day bus tour to 50 plus Iowa cities – in the state nearly every day until the January 3 caucuses.
To watch his campaign is to witness a candidate trying to shake the rap that has no fire in his belly.
His red meat speeches are redder. His arguments for why he should be president are sharper.
“My friends I’ve been there, and I can tell you we are just one successful terrorist plan away from nuclear attack on this country,” Thompson tells Iowa voters.
“All the experts know that it’s the kind of world we live in. It’s not the time for on the job training.”
He even makes a point of lingering with voters after speeches, instead of escaping out a back door – a common criticism of Thompson.
Has he found his “mojo?”
“You know I've probably to a fault felt like I've had my mojo the whole time,” Thompson told CNN.
In an interview on his bus, Thompson, who declared his candidacy just three months ago, insisted he’s been “working hard for several months now.”
But in a moment of reflection, he said expectations may have been high because he is an actor.
“You know I think sometimes the media had the notion you know that because I'd been in the movie business that I'd be well scripted I'd be slick, that I'd be perfect, and it was a standard nobody else was held to but I think I was held to it and so they concentrated on the negative,” Thompson told CNN.
– CNN's Dana Bash