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May 30, 2007

Fred's In

It's tempting to call this breaking news, but it's really not all that surprising.

Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.

Thompson, the "Law and Order" star and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, has been publicly coy, even as people close to him have been furiously preparing for a late entry into the wide-open contest. But the advisers said Thompson dropped all pretenses on Tuesday afternoon during a conference call with more than 100 potential donors, each of whom was urged to raise about $50,000.
It will be interesting to see how much he can raise in that initial burst of fundraising. We'll know then whether the FRED!mania that has gripped many a conservative in the blogosphere will translate into more than rhetorical support.

In a recent interview, Newt Gingrich said the 2008 campaign will come down to a choice between "them" and "not them." Being Gingrich, he of course put himself in the "not them" category, but I think Thompson's entry into the race changes that. If Thompson can prove himself a viable candidate, he would become the "not them" a lot of conservatives have been waiting to see in the race.

So which candidates will lose if Thompson runs? My gut says Rudy Giuliani. The race could eventually come down to a Romney-Thompson showdown, since Giuliani has too much political and personal baggage (*sob*) and McCain's campaign is on its last legs, thanks to his spirited support of immigration reform.

So take your guesses. How much can Thompson raise in a short time? Is he a contender, or a flash in the pan? And how much will everyone's campaign be hurt by the white-hot lightning of Mike Bloomberg?

UPDATE - Not so fast? Bottom line: still looks like he's in, but Politico got the announcement date wrong.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE - Okay, I give up. No one knows when Fred will announce, I guess. (H/t: Allah)


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posted by Slublog at 09:26 AM

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