Thompson campaigns in Iowa Saturday. (Photo Credit: AP)
(CNN) – Republican Fred Thompson Sunday dismissed reports that he had told voters at a weekend campaign event he was “not particularly interested” in running for president, saying his remarks had been taken out of context.
The former Tennessee senator told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "some in the media take bits and pieces, not you, but some have taken one sentence out of the middle of that and make it sound like something that wasn't intended."
"And if you notice, I put the emphasis on running. I said I'm not particularly interested in running for president," Thompson said in an interview on CNN's Late Edition.
"But then I gave all the reasons why I thought I'd make a good president and what I was sacrificing to be president and my family was doing so and I was concerned about the future of our country and the future of our children and so forth. So when you put it in context, it makes sense."
Thompson has long faced criticism he lacks motivation to be President of the United States, and Saturday’s comments seemed to spark new speculation on that front.
"I'm not particularly interested in running for president," the former senator told voters at a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa when challenged by an audience member over his desire to be commander-in-chief.
"But I think I'd make a good president," Thompson continued. "I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I'm doing it for the right reasons."
Thompson took heat for not officially jumping into the White House race until September — significantly later than every other candidate — and has since been criticized for his laid-back campaign style and often-times light schedule.
But the former actor has criticized his rivals for launching their presidential bids months ahead of his, and continually touts the fact he hasn't harbored presidential ambitions his whole career.
"I am not consumed by personal ambition," Thompson also said Saturday. "I'm offering myself up."
"I'm only consumed by a few things and politics is not one of them."
But Thompson added the sacrifices he has made to run for president proves he wants the top job.
“To be clean, I had to cut everything off," he said. "I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a TV show, I had a contract with ABC Radio, like I was talking about earlier, and so forth. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing at all if he didn't want to do it."
– CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand and Alexander Mooney