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Thompson Shakeup,
Money Wakeup

So who's really in charge of Fred Thompson's (non)campaign?

Officially, day-to-day operations will be run by Randy Enwright, the former political director. But in fact, according to several people close to Thompson, the true powerhouse is Thompson's wife, Jeri. A lawyer and former spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, she has become the de facto manager of her husband's nascent White House bid, according to several people who asked to remain anonymous so they could discuss internal deliberations openly.

"She's the go-to person on all issues, big and small," said one person familiar with the operation, echoing what other sources have previously reported. "Approving direct mail copy, setting the date for the announcement, deciding how to travel. She signs off on car manifestes, you name it--anything."

Sources said Thompson's wife had lost confidence in Tom Collamore, who has officially been given "senior adviser" status, but is "gone," according to one campaign adviser. Also departed is J.T. Mastranadi, the operation's research director.

Linda Rozett, Thompson's new communications director, described the staff changes as adding to an already strong staff. "We are preparing for the next phase, that includes adding additional political muscle," she said. On Mrs. Thompson's role, she added "I'm not interested in dealing in rumors, as much as that's a fun parlor game."

Sources said Thompson will report raising about $3.2 million through the end of June and will show having spent very little, perhaps leaving almost $2.9 million in the bank. While Thompson's staff had allowed early reports to circulate that his goal for the first month was $5 million, the sources said the original target was $2 million.But two sources said Thompson's fundraising has dropped off significantly since the early excitement that surrounded what seemed like an imminent entry into the race. With that announcement apparently delayed until early September, the dollars are not flowing in, they said. One source said the campaign has just purchased a 50,000-name
mailing list to begin fundraising by mail. "Fundraising has dropped off," one source said, "That's added to the anxiety and the chaos."

Rozett declined to comment on Thompson's fundraising efforts. "We wanted to raise enough money to conduct a thorough testing of the waters and we are pleased," she said. "That is going very well on all fronts."

-- Michael D. Shear

By Susan Glasser  |  July 25, 2007; 6:03 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Fred Thompson  
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