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Finally, Ready for His Close-Up?

Fred Thompson may finally offer a glimpse behind the curtain today. (AP)

For months, Fred Thompson has been a political tease -- not quite a candidate for the White House, but playing the part as well as he did the gruff district attorney on "Law & Order."

Now, the sand in the hourglass finally appears to be running out. With the "unofficial" Labor Day kickoff to the fall campaign just days away, Thompson's quips about "testing the waters" are wearing thin, even for Jay Leno, who joked that "it's not wrinkles on his face anymore. He's starting to prune up from being under water so much."

With summer all but gone, the presidential primaries moving ever earlier and a constant stream of news stories questioning the organizational skills of the people shaping Thompson's "soft" rollout, all indications are that the nascent campaign will finally begin to pull back the curtain, possibly as early as today. And he has little choice: Thompson has to get in now if he wants to the raise money and set up a campaign organization that can compete with former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

There are unmistakeable signs that a formal announcement is imminent. Sources said the timing of such an announcement will become clear within the next 36 hours.

"They are gonna tell their folks they are going to do it," said one source familiar with the campaign's internal deliberations. The source said Thompson will begin telling his supporters as early as this morning that he has decided to run for president. Shortly thereafter, his campaign will make public plans for a formal announcement next week.

Several sources said that Thompson was impressed by the way New York Sen. Hillary Clinton rolled out her campaign, announcing her intentions in a carefully-crafted video and then quickly following it up with a series of campaign rallies.

According to a second source close to the campaign, Thompson is aiming for an announcement backdrop that will "wow." Under discussion, according to the source: a "Reagan" event, perhaps taking place in California, in an attempt to seize the mantle of the Republican icon.

Hopes for some guidance about the timing of an announcement run high in the political press corps, which is busy scheduling their Labor Day weekend travels and eager to know when and where Thompson will finally spill the beans.

Advisers to Thompson are aware of that imperative, several sources said, and were racing to finalize the details of the announcement, which is all-but certain to take place next week.

In the meantime, Thompson today hired veteran political spokesman Todd Harris to be his new communications director, finally tapping an experienced campaign hand to coordinate his message, a campaign adviser said.

A former spokesman for Ariz. Sen. John McCain's 2000 campaign, Harris also served as communications director for former Florida governor Jeb Bush and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He replaces Linda Rozett, who was let go last week.

--Michael D. Shear

By Post Editor  |  August 30, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
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'Appealing' Candidate

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Gonzo: Resigned

Craig: Thrown under the bus

Fred: Primping like a debutante

Posted by: ssomo | August 30, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Fred Thompson is a solid god, gays, guns, and family values kinda republican complete with a southern drawl. He should be a hit with red staters! If Thompson wins the republican nomination maybe he can rehire carl rove and squeek out another 50.1% victory in the '08 general (that is if the white evangelcial bible thumper and economic royalist coalition holds together). Better brush up on your bible verses for the campaign trail, Fred!

Posted by: montana123 | August 30, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Fred always looks like he's half-asleep and about to keel over.

Posted by: mimi424 | August 30, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Once Thompson announces the shine will be off. We'll find out that another GOP candidate has feet of clay. Although more photos of his wife would be welcome Bawahaaa!

Posted by: Roofelstoon | August 30, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I cannot see what difference the date has except it should not be made this weekend for obvious reasons. The GOP has several problems in 08 and some have choosen not to run simply because the time is not in their favor. The current Administration is a drag on any GOP hopeful, and it will take a miracle to reverse this trend.

Posted by: lylepink | August 30, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin notes
"it is the opening weekend of COLLEGE FOOTBALL."

I admit I hadn't considered that angle. If the Thompson almost-campaign has managed to schedule their announcement for the half-time show at the Volunteers game, they could pull off a media coup - guaranteeing not only normal news coverage, but plenty of mention by the sportos at ESPN & SI.

Posted by: bsimon | August 30, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse


Let's make it a glorious weekend. Veterans are signing up for the right man @


Posted by: opditch | August 30, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

bsimon, it is the opening weekend of COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Not only are you a better media consultant than anyone who would have him announce this weekend, my guess is that Jeri
is not a COLLEGE FOOTBALL fan.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 30, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"There are unmistakeable signs that a formal announcement is imminent. Sources said the timing of such an announcement will become clear within the next 36 hours."

Well-timed to capture that vital Labor Day Weekend news cycle.

I'm no political consultant or media expert, but don't seasoned politicians usually save the BAD news for Friday afternoon? Particularly a Friday afternoon before a long weekend in August?

Posted by: bsimon | August 30, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I love it when the Post gives advice to Republicans. It is always so sincere, so clearly designed to be helpful, so patronizing, so...always wrong.

Posted by: DorothyfromColumbus | August 30, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Thomson an Edwards are going to have to run on the cheap ! Both have Morels ? they care where the money comes from . there Soul is not for SELL !
Tata of India an Drug Corperations , don't like them ! Independants ? tata

Posted by: mgilfoy | August 30, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Once an actor, always an actor. Sorry, but the discussion of "a "Reagan" event" that will WOW is just sooooo L.A.

Posted by: grannyhelen | August 30, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

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