Fred Thompson Will Not Participate in Thursday GOP Debate, Likely Exiting

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fred Thompson Will Not Participate in Thursday GOP Debate, Likely Exiting Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 22,

Washington, DC ( — It appears Fred Thompson’s presidential bid may be over after his last stand in South Carolina failed to get him any higher than third place. Thompson will not be participating in the Thursday night Republican debate and has not campaigned in the next battleground states since the Saturday night primary.

After South Carolina, Thompson went to Tennessee to spend time with his ailing mother and has not set foot in Florida, the site of the next big GOP presidential contest.

Fox News has now reported that the Thompson campaign told it that the former Tennessee senator will not be a part of the Florida debate the news channel has scheduled.

The Thompson campaign has not announced any public schedule since South Carolina and a campaign spokesman talked with National Review about the state of the process.

NR reporter Jim Geraghty indicates Thompson has not spoken with any other campaign about making an endorsement should he pull out of the contest. Political observers have speculated he would support his former Senate colleague John McCain.

McCain, an Arizona senator who is pro-life on abortion but backs embryonic stem cell research that destroys lives, received Thompson’s endorsement when he campaigned for the Republican nod in 2000.

The Thompson staffer told National Review that Thompson is not interested in a slot as a running mate and that more information on his plans would come "at an appropriate time."

Thompson received the endorsement of National Right to Life and more than a dozen of its state affiliates but he appeared uninterested in running and didn’t come on strong until after the New Hampshire primary. By then, it was too late for him to salvage his campaign.

In his speech following the South Carolina primary, Thompson struck a reminiscent tone and appeared to be giving a farewell address.