Fred Thompson Set to Take Center Stage

This from the Politico:

Fred Thompson, the “Law & Order” actor and former senator from Tennessee, has moved beyond pondering a bid for the White House and begun assembling the nucleus of a campaign should he decide to run, according to people involved in the effort.

Thompson has not yet decided to seek the Republican presidential nomination. But “he is getting more serious every day,” said an adviser familiar with Thompson’s plans.

Thompson’s coming-out as a candidate-in-waiting will be a May 4 appearance at the 45th annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County in the heart of Ronald Reagan country in Southern California. The invitation was widely sought by aspiring Republicans, and his advisers expect considerable media attention around the visit. But there are no plans now for an announcement then.

The dam will soon break as the only real conservative on the Republican side with a good chance may soon be announcing a candidacy.

And some more:

Though Thompson has shown well in some polls since he said he was actively considering a presidential bid, the hurdles to such a late start are many. And some people who worked with him in the Senate question his willingness to do the brutal work of a national campaign. But friends and advisers say Thompson has been buoyed by the response so far at a time when many Republicans are openly expressing disappointment with their presidential field.

“The outreach to him has been so overwhelming that he is now starting to talk to people to really calibrate what it would take to run a successful campaign,’’ the adviser said. “He’s talking to some of the top unaligned strategists and fundraisers. He’s said: ‘I’m seriously considering it, and I’m happy to hear your thoughts and ideas.’”

I actually think that he won’t have a hard time raising a lot of money in a short amount of time. My observation is that social conservatives, who make up a majority amount of the Republican base, haven’t opened their checkbooks as much for the Rudy McRomney crowd. Romney maybe somewhat, but still not in the amount that they could have. Republicans usually have the money advantage however I don’t think there is a major candidate who people really feel like sending money to yet.

I am eagerly awaiting to see if/when Thompson announces how much support he will immediately have.

I’ll leave you with the infinite wisdom of Fred:

Thompson will not make a final decision until at least May and may delay any announcement until even later because he recognizes the benefits of being “a non-candidate candidate,” according to advisers.

“As soon as you announce, they start throwing spitballs, so why not wait?” said a Thompson friend involved in the discussions.