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Thompson (Tommy) Stays In

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-Wis.) is staying in the race for president and plans to compete in the Aug. 11 Ames Straw Poll, he said in a conference call with reporters today.

The news of the conference call, which was announced via email touting a "major" announcement regarding "the future of [his] presidential campaign," set off furious speculation that he would drop from the presidential race.

"I know most of you have tuned in to see if I was dropping out of the race," Thompson acknowledged at the start of the call. "I am very much involved in this campaign."

Thompson went on to "announce" that he would be participating in the Straw poll and urging other better known candidates to reconsider their decisions to take a pass on the event. "It is a mistake to skip the Straw Poll and I would hope Mayor Giuliani and Senator McCain will reconsider their positions," Thompson said. "[It is as] important as it has ever been and probably more so."

If Thompson purposely put out a press release that he knew would lead to speculation that he would drop out in order to drum up national media interest in this call, then we applaud him. Well played, sir.

Regardless, Thompson's campaign has struggled from the day he began it. Despite an impressive record during more than a decade as governor of Wisconsin, Thompson has struggled to raise money or distinguish himself from the pack in a series of early debates.

On the call, Thompson seemed to set Ames as a deadline for his campaign to make its mark, pointing out that several candidates dropped out after poorer-than-expected showings in the 1999 Ames Straw poll and predicting: "I believe the same thing will happen again this time."

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 13, 2007; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Fix Pick: Bill Richardson and the Element of Unpredictability

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