Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Zero-to-60 Thompson Run

Weekly Standard | Stephen Hayes

In early March, only a handful of Fred Thompson's good friends knew that he was even thinking about a bid for president. Three months later, according to several polls, Thompson is in second place nationally, trailing frontrunner Rudy Giuliani. He spends his days raising money and assembling an increasingly sophisticated campaign operation. His advisers hold daily conference calls to discuss issues and to craft a schedule that includes visits to states with early caucuses and primaries. Rival campaigns are adjusting their strategies to account for his inevitable entry into the race.

Ask people closest to Thompson how this happened and they often give you the same story: The former senator was simply minding his business when out of nowhere there arose a powerful Draft Fred movement, the likes of which have rarely been seen in American politics. "The groundswell for Fred is the closest thing to a real, genuine draft that I've seen in my 40 years of politics," Senator Lamar Alexander said recently in Chattanooga.

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