Fred Thompson's Next Career Move

Fred Thompson seems a man of many talents.

You may know him as the district attorney on the TV drama "Law & Order," or as former U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Or perhaps you've heard of the real-life part he played in Watergate.

In the next few weeks, you may come to know him as a candidate for president; his career path looks to be bending in that direction.

Too Soon to Tell

Even before Fred Thompson has officially announced his candidacy, polls are showing him at the top. According to numbers released by July 3 by Rasmussen Reports, among Republican presidential primary contenders, Thompson has 27 percent support; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is trailing with 24 percent support.

There's also speculation about the possible focus of his campaign. A story in the Guardian Unlimited says Thompson's policies are still under development, but he is "a fiscal and social conservative, who offers a steady hand and is supportive of the aim of the president's Iraq policy if not its conduct." A source in the same story suggests Thompson should emphasize immigration.

But since Thompson hasn't yet formally announced he's running, and because the election is about 16 months away, the polls and speculating are rather premature. Big change can take place in a small amount of time, as past elections have shown.

Fred Thompson needs room and time to shape his message, policies and campaign. Voters, likewise, need time to learn more about Thompson and decide how strong a candidate he is for the all-important job of president.

Fred Thompson Compared to Ronald Reagan--and More

There's no shortage of information swirling about all aspects of Thompson's life and career. Some stories have looked at Fred Thompson compared to Ronald Reagan. According to the Guardian article:

To Republicans - and many Democrats - a film star politician can mean only one thing: Ronald Reagan. And Mr Thompson has done little to distance himself from the comparison. "Obviously Thompson is trying to make the comparison," says political consultant Donna Bojarsky. "There is a longing for Ronald Reagan and we live in challenging times. The cold war looks pretty good in retrospect."

The New York Times has examined the lobbying careers of Fred Thompson's sons:

But the lobbying work that Tony Thompson and another son, Daniel, did after their father won his Senate seat suggests how far the family has traveled from Fred Thompson’s early career. Not only has he parlayed his own political background into a lobbying business — a fact his opponents have seized on to challenge his outsider image — but his sons have also made lobbying a family affair.

And a Boston Globe story examines his role in Watergate:

The view of Thompson as a Nixon mole is strikingly at odds with the former Tennessee senator's longtime image as an independent-minded prosecutor who helped bring down the president he admired. Indeed, the website of Thompson's presidential exploratory committee boasts that he "gained national attention for leading the line of inquiry that revealed the audio-taping system in the White House Oval Office." It is an image that has been solidified by Thompson's portrayal of a tough-talking prosecutor in the television series "Law and Order."

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