Houston Chronicle | JIM MORRILL
COLUMBIA, S.C. — After watching from offstage and seeing his poll numbers soar, actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson on Wednesday made his first public appearance in a state that could help him star in a new role, as a presidential candidate.
The former Tennessee senator, 64, and a star of TV's Law & Order, spoke to more than 300 South Carolina Republicans at a Columbia hotel. Invoking Ronald Reagan and what he called his party's "underlying principles," he gave many what they came for.
"He really galvanized the room," said David Woodard, a Clemson University political scientist who attended the event. "It was clear they were looking for somebody else" than the current crop of candidates "and they were attracted to him."