Fred Thompson Makes Presidential Announcement While Republicans Debate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 6, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fred Thompson Makes Presidential Announcement While Republicans Debate Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 6,

Washington, DC ( — While his Republican counterparts debate in New Hampshire, former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson made an appearance on a late-night television program to announce his presidential bid. After several months of waiting, Thompson told talk show host Jay Leno "I’m running for president of the United States."

Following the announcements, Thompson appeared in an online video on Thursday to make the bid official and he plans to follow it up with whistle stops in early primary states starting on Tuesday in Iowa.

"I’m going to give this campaign all that I have to give," he promised, in an attempt to counter some concerns that he’s too old to run a competitive campaign.

Thompson is a former attorney best known for his investigative role in Watergate and his status as an actor on NBC’s "Law & Order" and in character roles in dozens of movies.

While Thompson took a solo route Wednesday night in announcing his plans, some of his rivals griped that he didn’t make an appearance at the debate.

"Maybe Sen. Thompson will be known as the no-show for the presidential debates," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said.

"Maybe we’re up past his bedtime," Arizona Sen. John McCain joked.

In recent months, Thompson has been touting his pro-life credentials.

"I think Roe v. Wade was a bad decision. I think it was bad law and bad medicine," Thompson said in a recent appearance on CNN.

"You don’t just get up one day and overturn the entire history of the country with regard to nature and major social policy, without any action by Congress, without any action by the American people or constitutional amendment, and that’s what happened," Thompson explained.

The former Tennessee senator continued, "It shouldn’t have happened. It ought to be reversed."

Those comments came on the heels of news reports that Thompson did some work for a pro-abortion group in 1991 when his law firm was hired by an abortion advocacy organization to lobby the White House on abortion issues.

His most comprehensive treatment of pro-life issues came in a video message he gave to attendees at the National Right to Life convention.

The video showed the former Tennessee senator with his wife and two young children and he told pro-life advocates that his family helps him appreciate pro-life values.

“When I was in the Senate a lot of people would come to see me and it usually would have to do with business matters or financial matters," Thompson said. "When you came to see me, I always knew it was about something much more important than that, the most important thing of all in this World and that is life."

"I must say that those issues are even more profound to me as the years go by. Jeri and I have truly been blessed," the well-known actor added.

Thompson said he has been pro-life at least since he first ran for the Senate in 1994 and received National Right to Life’s endorsement and that he’s been with the pro-life movement ever since.

"On abortion related votes I’ve been 100 percent," Thompson explained saying he’s voted against federal funding for abortion, Roe v. Wade and partial-birth abortion — a procedure he called "infanticide."

The potential presidential candidate also spoke extensively on the issue of embryonic stem cell research for the first time since the buzz built up about the possibility of him running.

His comments put him in line with the pro-life movement at a time when other candidates who oppose abortion, like John McCain, favor the destructive science.

"On stem cell research, I’m for adult stem cell research not stem cell research where embryos of unborn children are destroyed. It looks to me like there is a lot of promising developments as far as adult stem cell research is concerned anyway and we don’t need to go down that other road," Thompson said.