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|
 Early life
He was responsible for Baker asking one of the questions that is said to have led directly to the downfall of President Richard Nixon
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?"
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
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.
- "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
, he asked to be released from the show, potentially in preparation for a presidential bid.
 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
) 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
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'
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
, 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
switched his party allegiance from Republican to Independent. Thompson
then became the ranking minority member of the Committee on
 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
The decision seems to have been prompted in large part by the death of his daughter (Elizabeth "Betsy" Thompson Panici) on January 30
, from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
Thompson married Jeri Kehn on June 29
, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Naperville, Illinois, having first met her on July 4
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,
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.
 2008 presidential race
|This section documents a current event.|
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.
On March 11
, 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 18
, 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
, The Weekly Standard
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
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
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%.
 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
"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
- ^ 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 (
Join us on our
Share this page with your friends
on your favorite social network: