Reagan Vet to Head
Fred Thompson tapped another veteran of the Reagan era to manage his soon-to-be-announced presidential campaign today, naming former Reagan aide Bill Lacy to replace the top adviser Thompson moved aside last month.
Lacy was a low-level campaign operative for Reagan in 1980 and later served in the White House. He also helped in Thompson's 1994 Senate bid and advised former GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole in 1996. He replaces Tom Collamore, a former executive for Altria, the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris.
The announcement from Thompson Wednesday took pains to avoid calling Lacy a "campaign manager," instead using the term "committee manager." In a statement, Thompson said Lacy will have "full operational control" and will report directly to him.
Lacy's appointment is an attempt to repair the damage from Collamore's departure, which prompted several other resignations. It's also a recognition that even before Thompson's official announcement, which is expected in early September, things have not been going smoothly.
The "testing the waters" committee raised less money than aides had hoped during its first month in operation, and the campaign operations have been hampered by Thompson's drawn-out tease. Thompson's wife, Jeri, has been accused by some people close to the committee of exerting too much control over the efforts.
"My immediate goal to provide stable, hands-on leadership and to retool the Thompson operation to implement a non-traditional, message-driven effort," Lacy said in the statement.
--Michael D. Shear
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