From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Fred Dalton Thompson|
December 2, 1994 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Harlan Matthews|
|Succeeded by||Lamar Alexander|
|Born||August 19, 1942 (1942-08-19) (age 64)|
|Spouse||(1) Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey (Knestrick), 1959–1985; div.|
(2) Jeri Kehn, 2002–Present
|Profession||character actor, senator, lawyer, lobbyist, public speaker, radio personality|
|Religion||Church of Christ|
Fred Dalton Thompson (born August 19, 1942) is an American lawyer, lobbyist, character actor and former Republican Senator from Tennessee (now residing in McLean, Virginia), who is planning to run for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a former member of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission and a Visiting Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, researching national security and intelligence. Thompson is also a public speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureau and is a special program host and senior analyst for ABC News Radio. He publishes a daily blog and podcast on the ABC Radio web site.
 Early life
Fred Thompson was born in Sheffield, Alabama, USA, to Ruth Bradley and Fletcher Thompson. He attended the public schools in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. In 1959, at the age of 17, he married Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey.
Thompson first attended Florence State College and then Memphis State University where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science in 1964. At this time, Fred and Sarah Thompson both worked to put Thompson through Vanderbilt and support three children. Thompson went on to earn his J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1967.
Thompson was admitted to the State Bar of Tennessee in 1967 and worked as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1969 to 1972. He was the campaign manager for Republican U.S. Senator Howard Baker's successful re-election campaign in 1972, which led to a close personal friendship with Baker. He later served as co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal, (1973–1974).
He was responsible for Baker asking one of the questions that is said to have led directly to the downfall of President Richard Nixon—"What did the President know, and when did he know it?" Also, Thompson's voice has become immortalized in recordings of the Watergate proceedings, with him asking the key question, "Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?"
In 1977, Thompson took on a Tennessee Parole Board case that ultimately toppled Tennessee Governor Democrat Ray Blanton from power on charges of selling pardons.
From 1975 to 1992 Thompson worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He represented such clients as Westinghouse, General Electric (the current corporate owner of the NBC Universal-NBC television network), and the Tennessee Savings and Loan League.
By 1982, Thompson was lobbying the U.S. Congress for passage of the Savings and Loan deregulation legislation. The federal deregulation legislation allowed for additional government support of ailing S&Ls; gave U.S. thrifts the freedom to invest in potentially more profitable, but riskier, ventures; and eliminated interest-rate ceilings on new accounts. Thompson's recommendations were incorporated into the Garn - St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982.
In 1991, he began work with the Washington, D.C. firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin, & Kahn, representing overseas business entities as a registered foreign agent.
 Character actor
The 1977 Ray Blanton-Tennessee Parole Board scandal later became the subject of a 1983 book, Marie, by Peter Maas. Director Roger Donaldson bought the film rights and travelled to Nashville to speak with the people involved with the original case. After meeting with Thompson, Donaldson asked Thompson if he wanted to play himself in the movie; Thompson agreed. The resulting film, Marie, was released in 1985. Donaldson then cast Thompson in the part of the CIA Director in his next movie, No Way Out, in 1987.
Thompson would go on to appear in many films and television shows, including Wiseguy, The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Days of Thunder, Cape Fear and In the Line of Fire. A 1994 New York Times profile described his character roles in the following terms:
- "The glowering, hulking Mr. Thompson has played a White House chief of staff, a director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a highly placed F.B.I. agent, a rear admiral, even a senator. When Hollywood directors need someone who can personify governmental power, they often turn to him."
In the final months of his U.S. Senate term in 2002, Thompson joined the cast of the long-running NBC television series Law & Order, playing the character Arthur Branch; Thompson filmed his parts during Senate recesses. On May 30, 2007, he asked to be released from the show, potentially in preparation for a presidential bid.
In the spring of 2005 Thompson concurrently played the role on both the original series and short-lived sister series Law & Order: Trial by Jury. He has also made occasional appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and was in the pilot episode of Conviction.
 Candidate and United States Senator
In 1994, Thompson was elected by the people of Tennessee to finish the remaining two years of Al Gore's unexpired Senate term. He easily defeated longtime Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper in a landslide victory on a night that saw the Republicans make great gains both in Tennessee and on a national level. Thompson was re-elected in 1996 (for the term ending January 3, 2003) in an even larger landslide, defeating Democratic attorney Houston Gordon of Covington, Tennessee.
While in the Senate, Thompson served as the chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1997 to 2001. The committee conducted investigations into allegations that China attempted to influence American politics prior to the 1996 elections (See: campaign finance scandal) and January 20 to June 6, 2001. During 1997, Thompson was "...largely stymied" during his 1997 U.S. Senate investigations of both Clinton-Gore and GOP campaign fund-raising activities, more particularly with witnesses for the Thompson investigations declining to testify, claiming the right not to incriminate themselves or simply leaving the United States' jurisdiction.
Senator Thompson voted in favor of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform act as well as the Shays-Meehan bill restricting issue ads. Speaking in early 2007, he offered the opinion that the Campaign Finance Reform law had not worked as expected and that he might come to favor another approach.
On February 12, 1999, after days of considering the Clinton impeachment, the Senate voted on the articles of impeachment. Senator Thompson voted not to convict President Clinton on article 1, the perjury article, but voted "guilty" on article 2, the Obstruction of Justice article. The Senate's vote on the Obstruction article was 50-50. Conviction on Impeachment charges and removal from office requires the affirmative votes of 67 senators.
In the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, Thompson initially backed former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander. When Alexander dropped out of the race, Thompson endorsed Senator John McCain's bid and became his national co-chairman.
Control of the Senate passed from Republican to Democratic when Senator James Jeffords of Vermont switched his party allegiance from Republican to Independent. Thompson then became the ranking minority member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
 After the Senate
Thompson was not a candidate for re-election in 2002. He had publicly stated his unwillingness to have the Senate become a long-term career. Although he announced in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks his intention to seek re-election ("Now is not the time for me to leave," said Thompson at the time), upon further reflection he decided against it. The decision seems to have been prompted in large part by the death of his daughter (Elizabeth "Betsy" Thompson Panici) on January 30, 2002, from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
Thompson married Jeri Kehn on June 29, 2002, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Naperville, Illinois, having first met her on July 4, 1996. Kehn (born January, 1967) is an attorney and a political media consultant at the Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, and McPherson law firm in Washington, D.C. She had formerly worked for the Senate Republican Conference and the Republican National Committee.
In March 2003, Thompson was featured in a commercial by the conservative group Citizens United that advocated the invasion of Iraq, stating: "When people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us -- before 9/11."
In October 2003, Fred and Jeri Thompson had their first child, Hayden Victoria Thompson. A second child was born to them in November, 2006. Thompson also has two grown children and five grandchildren from his previous marriage, which ended amicably in divorce after 25 years. Thompson said his former wife, Sarah, indicated she would campaign for Thompson if he did run for president.
After the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005, he was appointed to an informal position by President George W. Bush to help guide the nomination of John Roberts through the United States Senate confirmation process. Thompson also is the chair of the International Security Advisory Board, a bipartisan advisory panel that reports to the Secretary of State and focuses on emerging strategic threats.
Thompson did voice-over work at the 2004 Republican National Convention. In 2006, he signed on with ABC News Radio to serve as senior analyst and vacation replacement for Paul Harvey.
In 2006 he served on the advisory board of the legal defense fund for I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Jr, who was indicted and later convicted of lying to federal investigators during their investigation of the Plame affair.
 2008 presidential race
|This section documents a current event.|
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.
On March 11, 2007, Thompson appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the possibility of a 2008 candidacy for president. The announcement spurred several grassroots draft movements, including a well-organized draft campaign started by a former Thompson political aide in Knoxville, Tennessee. While Thompson has not yet formally announced his intentions, he has said he will "leave the door open." Furthermore, Thompson has stated that he would not be interested in accepting a hypothetical nomination for vice president, explaining "I don't think I would ever want to do that and be in the second position."
On May 2, 2007, Thompson wrote an article critical of Cuba's government-run health care, and of filmmaker Michael Moore's visit to Cuba. Moore responded on May 15, 2007 with a challenge for a health care debate. Later that day, Thompson responded with a video, in which he declined to debate Moore and mentioned Cuban filmmaker Nicolás Guillén, who was jailed by the Cuban government and subjected to electroconvulsive therapy.
On May 18, 2007, he continued his Internet campaign, posting a letter to Pajamas Media acknowledging his online supporters. (Pajamas Media's straw poll was one of several Thompson had won in previous weeks.)
On May 30, 2007, The Weekly Standard reported that Thompson will set up a "testing-the-waters" committee that will begin accepting contributions on June 4. Also on May 30, The Politico reported that Thompson plans to enter the presidential race over the Independence Day weekend. But a Thompson associate quoted in The Hillary Spot said "there will not be a presidential announcement from Fred Thompson on July 4."
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released May 6, 2007 placed Thompson in third with 13%, ahead of Mitt Romney with 10%, and behind Arizona Senator John McCain with 23% and Rudy Giuliani with 25%.
A May 17, 2007, Rasmussen Reports poll had him statistically tied with U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, 44 percent to Clinton's 47 percent; a May 1, 2007 Quinnipiac University poll had Clinton leading 46-39.
 Political positions
Fred Thompson describes himself as a Conservative. He has said Federalism is his guiding principle, a lodestar. "[It] provided a basis for a proper analysis of most issues: "Is this something government should be doing? If so, at what level of government?"
"Our government, under our Constitution, was established upon the principles of Federalism -- that the federal government would have limited enumerated powers and the rest would be left to the states. It not only prevented tyranny, it just made good sense. States become laboratories for democracy and experiment with different kinds of laws. One state might try one welfare reform approach, for example. Another state might try another approach. One would work and the other would not. The federal welfare reform law resulted from just this process."
"Federalism also allows for the diversity that exists among the country's people. Citizens of our various states have different views as to how traditional state responsibilities should be handled. This way, states compete with each other to attract people and businesses -- and that is a good thing."
In an April 2007 interview on Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Thompson declared that he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer. "I have had no illness from it, or even any symptoms. My life expectancy should not be affected. I am in remission, and it is very treatable with drugs if treatment is needed in the future — and with no debilitating side effects," Thompson said. Like many patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Thompson received treatment with Rituxan. Thompson's cancer is reportedly indolent, the lowest of three grades of NHL.
 Electoral history
|Tennessee United States Senate Election, 1996|
|Republican||Fred Thompson (Incumbent)||1,091,554||61.37||+0.93|
|Independent||John Jay Hooker||14,401||0.81|
|Tennessee United States Senate Election, 1994 (Special)|
|Republican gain from Democratic||Swing|
- ^ Locker, Richard. "Thompson may house hunt in Tenn.", Knoxville News Sentinel, 14 March 2007. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ "US actor will run for president", BBC News, 31 March 2007. Retrieved on 2007-05-31.
- ^ Thompson, Fred. Modern Political Archives: Fred Thompson Papers, 1993-2002. University of Tennessee. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ "The Fred Thompson Report", ABC Radio.
- ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams. Ancestry of Fred Thompson. self-published, non-authoritative. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ a b c d Cottle, Michelle. "Another Beltway Bubba?", Washington Monthly, 1 December 1996. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ Ahlers, Mike, AP. "National Archives releases 12 hours of Nixon tapes to the public", CNN, 21 January 2000. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ a b c Hayes, Stephen F.. "From the Courthouse to the White House", Weekly Standard, April 23, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
- ^ Bragg, Rick. "Grits and Glitter Campaign Helps Actor Who Played a Senator Become One", The New York Times, November 12, 1994, pp. Sec. 1, p. 10. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ Fred Thompson's Bid for President. TENNESSEAN.COM.
- ^ Fred Thompson Quits 'Law & Order,' Moves Closer to 2008 White House Bid. foxnews.com.
- ^ a b c d Fund, John. "Lights, Camera ... Candidacy?", Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2007. Retrieved on 2007-04-08.
- ^ Fred Thompson on Government Reform. OnTheIssues.org.
- ^ Neal, Terry M.. "McCain Re-Emerges; Receives Thompson Endorsement", Washington Post, 18 August 1999.
- ^ Halperin, Mark. "Has Fred Thompson Found His Role?", Time, May 24, 2007.
- ^ Grove, Lloyd. "Reliable Sources", The Washington Post, July 2, 2002.
- ^ "Interview with Mike Boos of Citizens United", CNN, March 1, 2003.
- ^ Allen, Mike. "Thompson mulling summer decision", USA Today, May 1, 2007.
- ^ "Names and Faces", The Washington Post, February 25, 2006.
- ^ Shane, Scott. "Media Censors for the Jury Let a Style Item Get Through", The New York Times, February 9, 2007.
- ^ Bohn, Kevin. "Libby trial provides a rare look inside the grand jury", CNN, February 9, 2007.
- ^ Transcript: Former Sen. Fred Thompson on 'FOX News Sunday'. Fox news (March 11, 2007).
- ^ Thompson rules out VP spot on GOP ticket. MSNBC (11 May 2007).
- ^ Thompson, Fred. ""Paradise Island": The myth of Cuban health care", National Review Online, May 2, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
- ^ Moore, Michael (