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Thompson to Tell Supporters He's In Today

Fred Thompson fans will soon have an official candidate to back. (Getty).

Fred Dalton Thompson will tell his supporters that he is running for president today in a 4 p.m. conference call with 800 to 1,000 elected and party officials from around the country, a source close to the campaign said today.

On the call, Thompson will detail his plans for the future, which are expected to include an appearance on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" on Wednesday night -- even as his rivals debate on Fox -- and could be followed by a formal announcement the next day.

The confirmation of Thompson's plans end a months-long flirtation with the public about whether the former senator and Hollywood actor would seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.

In addition to the 4 p.m. call with supporters, Thompson's campaign will also hold a concurrent 4 p.m. call with top donors. Thompson will speak on both calls, the source said.

Following that, Thompson's campaign manager, Bill Lacy, will brief the press in a 4:30 conference call about the details of Thompson's announcement and his travel plans.

The source would not confirm Thompson's appearance on Leno, but an official at NBC-Universal said the appearance is tentatively confirmed for Wednesday night. A second NBC official did not respond to an inquiry on Thompson.

If he appears on Leno, it could steal some thunder from the debate, which is being held in New Hampshire. Thompson pulled a similar trick when he first confirmed interest in the campaign, appearing on Fox News for an interview immediately following a previous Republican debate.

The supporters on the first conference call were invited by email to participate, the source said. They include elected public officials, party officials and others who have expressed support for Thompson's campaign.

UPDATE: Campaign officials now say there will not be a 4:30 conference call for the media. Rather, the campaign will put out information for the press in a statement. Stay tuned for details later this afternoon.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  August 30, 2007; 12:48 PM ET
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