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For Thompson, a New Focus on Iowa

DES MOINES -- Trailing badly in New Hampshire polls, former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson has decided to campaign "nonstop" in Iowa for the next three weeks, according to a senior adviser, leaving little time for the Granite State, where he has found almost no traction in his presidential bid.

Thompson ranks near the very bottom of the pack in New Hampshire, averaging support from about 4 percent of the likely Republican voters there. In Iowa, he he doing better -- averaging about 10 percent support -- though he still trails the leaders, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The campaign plans to launch a bus tour of Iowa starting on Dec.17 and will take a few days off for the Christmas holiday before returning to Iowa for another bus trip, which will continue until the
beginning of the new year.

Thompson advisers say they believe he might end up being the recipient of votes from Iowa voters who become disillusioned with the increasingly negative tone of the battle between Huckabee and Romney.

Polling suggests Thompson might be the second choice for as many as 40 percent of Huckabee's voters.

"We plan to campaign vigorously and actively in all of the early primary states, but the Iowa caucus is first and that's where we will be spending our time until the people of Iowa vote," Harris said.

But top aides said that Thompson is not closing down any of his offices in other states, including New Hampshire. They said that staffers and volunteers in the other states will continue to campaign
and will prepare for the post-Iowa rush of voting throughout the month of January.

Thompson's campaign has languished since the former actor entered the race just after Labor Day. At the time, he was solidly in second place in national polls, behind former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Now, he is in fourth or fifth place in most national polls.

--Michael D. Shear

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 11, 2007; 5:23 PM ET
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