August 17th, 2007
09:10 AM ET
14 years ago

Thompson set to test Iowa waters

Watch CNN's Tom Foreman report some people think Thompson has waited too long to jump into the race.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - The state fair is where Fred Thompson will make his public Iowa campaign debut on Friday, but private meetings in the morning could be just as, if not more, important to his ultimate political strength here.

Aides said the former Tennessee senator will court roughly 45 politically active Iowans in the morning sessions - one with conservative activists and one with state legislators and perhaps some other elected officials. (Related video: Has Thompson waited too long?)

In those sessions, as in public, Thompson walks a careful legal line – he can't directly ask for support because doing so would cross the line between testing the waters and being an official candidate, which would bring more stringent fund-raising and spending rules into play.

That official announcement is on the books for the first week of September.

In the meantime, the advisers say Thompson and top aides decided the Iowa State Fair was a good opportunity to raise his profile in this important early voting state as he wanders through the fairgrounds meeting Iowa voters.

- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King

Related: I don't think I'm late to the race

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Okay, for starters, he portrays himself as an outsider in the mold of Reagan, yet in reality he was a lobbyist for many years in Washington, status quo, and he lacks Reagan's ideology, ambition, passion, charisma AND HAIR.

    He was also the guy that asked the question on a Senate committee circa 1970 that started the downfall of Nixon. He asked the question about the Nixon tapes, whether they exist. Great right? Wrong. He told the Nixon administration all about the question he was going to ask days earlier to give them warning and time to prepare a defense. He was a huge Nixon supporter and good buddy of Cheney who was also in that administration.

    Then there's Vice President Cheney's current Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, whom Bush just pardoned for lying about Valerie Plame... Thompson has been Libby's biggest supporter and fund raiser for his "defense fund", which Libby is using to pay that 250,000 fine that Bush hasn't bothered to pardon him of yet.

    Do we really want Fred, the guy that's leading the charge for lying, corporate corruption in Washington, to be our next President?

    Well, maybe he's a hard worker, you say?

    Uh, well, actually he is world famous for being the laziest Senator on record, and even more infamous for his constant procrastination and vacations, possibly even surpassing our current President in that regard.

    Well, maybe he's well spoken, you say? Maybe he's tough on terror, you say?

    Think again on both counts, I can sum it up in one quote from Fred Thompson I just found in Newsweek, "Twelve million illegal immigrants later, we are now living in a nation that is beset by people who are suicidal maniacs and want to kill countless innocent men, women and children around the world."

    Huh? Say What?

    This dumbfoundingly confusing statement seems to be saying that the suicidal maniacs are here and want to kill innocents elsewhere. Not only is it garbled nonsense, it's also intended to provoke fear and combines two totally unrelated issues. He said it at a major speech.

    The bottom line is... haven't we had enough of the same old fear mongering, nonsensical talk about nothing from a President constantly on vacation in a cowboy hat while faking a good ol' boy Texas twang already?

    Do we really need another one?

    August 16, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. Jeff Richards

    Ok. Seriously he is not late he is just lazy. Thats a good excuse. Fred, do you really want the job of president? It's not an acting job and you can't be lazy. THE GUY IS AN ACTOR how can you know his true side. Wake Up People!

    August 16, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. carl, chicago Illinois

    Haw haw haw!

    Great shot of Thompson's gaping pie hole.

    August 16, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    I guess it is not TOO LATE to Leave even though you thought that it wasn't TOO LATE to Start.

    August 16, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Christopher, Vermillion SD

    What's the deal with Thompson? He's a fairly untested candidate that I just can't take seriously. I think he is a Republican fantasy– to cope with their disappointing field– but I bet he will fail the GOP in the general if he is elected. Honestly I think Huckabee is their best bet but everyone is too obsessed with the "top tier" to recognize the only good GOP candidate in the field.

    August 16, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. brian knoxville, tn

    Attention Tennesseans: Fred Thompson should not be referred to as "the skinny Phil Fulmer". Go Vols.

    August 16, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. Dave in VA

    Can Fred please just announce and get this junk over with. Everybody knows he is running, he just wants to keep exploiting loopholes as long as he can. He is the one who wants the job, so why can't he act like it?

    August 16, 2007 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Does this guy look like a hybrid of Rove and Cheney, or do my meds need adjusting?

    August 17, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  9. Thomas Roberts, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    It seems to me that someone trying this hard to skirt the edges of the financial laws for running for President couldn't be trusted not to play hard and fast when it came to following the law if he became President. The entire existence of his "non-campaign" in it's eternal "testing the water" style is evidence of his lack of character and basic honesty. This is more like a man trying to cheat on his taxes without getting caught then someone running for President.

    August 17, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    One of the reasons Thompson has any popularity at all is he is sparse on any policy positions. People can hold him up as the ideal candidate molded to their own beliefs, because he doesn't take a stand on much.

    August 17, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Dave, Oakland, CA

    Hilary is a former criminal and were giving her a chance to run, so why not add one more questionable candidate to the mix. Most politicians are crooks anyways.

    August 17, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. James Claremont, CA

    He's too afraid to get on a plane that has since boarded, left the gate, and is airborne.

    August 17, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Mitch, Raleigh, NC

    I hope those waters are shark infested. we don't need this CFR cronie running for pesident.

    August 17, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Betty, Southlake, TX

    Fred, either belly up to the bar & announce or get out of town, buddy. This dance you keep doing is getting old. As long as you don't announce, then you can skip the debates, avoid the scrutiny, and never have to actually take a stand on anything. Either you're in or you're not. We're tired of your little news bites– do you have a new TV show coming up and you're just trying to get your name out there or what's the deal?
    Fish or cut bait, babe.

    August 17, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Adam Zettler, Toronto, Ontario

    Fred Thompson is perfect for Head Neo-Con. After all, he doesn't take a stand on anything, he blusters and bullies and was an actor. Great qualifications for Puppet in Charge.

    August 17, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. John Round Rock, Texas

    There is an incredible amount of whining here, guys. Come on, grow up and comport yourselves like men (way more whining than the ladies). If Fred declares, he'll run against the other candidates and everything will sort out over the positions on the issues that matter to the American people. It almost looks like Billary and Nobama's campaign staffs are the biggest contributors to CNN blogs and NOT real people. Cheers.

    August 17, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Ocala Florida

    The list below represents "approved" presidential candidates. Recognize any of the names? What makes them "approved"? They are all members
    of the Council of Foreign Relations. This organization is hell-bent on destroying the sovereignty of the United States. Democrat or Republican, it makes no difference. The GOP is still supporting the Bush administration that is currently moving full speed ahead with the SPP program in Canada today. The SPP will move to to create the North American Union (NAU . US citizens would loose their Constitutionally given rights.This is TREASONOUS. If you really love this country, you must learn more about Ron Paul. He is our only hope.

    Democrat CFR Candidates:
    Barack Obama
    Hillary Clinton
    John Edwards
    Chris Dodd

    Bill Richardson
    Republican CFR Candidates:
    Mitt Romney
    Rudy Giuliani
    John McCain
    Fred Thompson
    Newt Gingrich

    August 17, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. David, Washington DC

    I swear to God, this nutcase promoting Ron Paul is on every blog on the internet. Same ol' same ol' same ol' over & over & over.
    Take up golf or tennis or something...

    August 17, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. James Claremont, CA


    How about researching Ron Paul? You'll see a genuine conservative who wants to bring back Republican principles to the Republican party.

    August 17, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    James Claremont

    Even on our Canadian News Coverage Ron Paul looks so feeble physically I don't know how he could possibly lead a nation. His little boy's voice doesn't do alot to change his feeble stature and/or image to the world.

    He may have great ideas, be an honest, respected, astute politician but he'll have to do some work on making those characteristics and his presence credible.

    August 18, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  21. Pam A Summerside PEI


    Stay with Acting and Fiction. It's a much safer bet for you.

    If you were an another Arnold The Exterminator, you might have a chance.
    But, Your Not and You Don't Have A Hope In **** in being elected. Leave now and save face, dollars, and stamina for other more worthy ventures.
    Stamina is important you know at your age!

    August 18, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  22. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Hey y'all this Thompson bashing is good practice for the general election!

    Rock oN!!

    August 18, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |