WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just hours before Iowa voters went to the polls, Republican Fred Thompson denied new reports that he was planning to end his struggling presidential bid before the New Hampshire primary if he does not finish better than third in caucus voting this evening.
“Any speculation as to what I may or may not do is just totally that,” he told CNN’s John Roberts on American Morning Thursday. “It’s obvious that someone in the campaign thought it was to their advantage to put that out. I have never said that. I have never implied that in public or in private. You should take that for what it’s worth.”
The former Tennessee senator had previously predicted a showing in the top two or three, and said as recently as this week that he wanted to finish at least third in Iowa. The Thompson campaign has said that a strong showing in Iowa would help spark landslide support for the former actor in Southern states which vote later in the primary process.
But Thompson, who has faced criticism for his laid-back campaign style, told Roberts Thursday that “Nobody’s talking about any kind of a scenario past tonight. I mean you look and see and the whole world changes...you have to analyze the results and go from there.”
“But I’m not planning any pessimistic scenario. I think that we’ve got a great opportunity, it’s going to be better than a lot of the so-called experts think.”
Thompson is currently tied with John McCain for third place in most recent surveys of GOP caucus goers in Iowa, with 13 percent in the most recent CNN poll, released this week.
A fundraising drought - which forced him off the air in the Hawkeye State earlier this week - and lackluster poll numbers have kept him out of the race’s top tier in most early-voting states.
- CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand