Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fred Thompson to File on June 4?

From First Read:
*** Enter Number Eleven? Fred Thompson makes it (more) official. According to a campaign source, Thompson will file his FEC papers officially on Monday June 4. In FEC parlance, Thompson is opening a "testing the waters" committee, a technical term that allows Thompson to forgo filing a detailed report on June 30 -- though once he's an official candidate, he'll have to file retroactively. The June 4 filing will be coordinated with a first-day fundraising blitz with 100-plus "First Day Founders" raising a significant one day sum in order to send a we're-in-the-first-tier message. The campaign tells us the "first day" blitz totals they report will be "cash" actually raised, not pledges. The source didn't dispute the notion that the one-day goal would be north of seven figures.

*** His Advantages: If there was ever a time for GOP candidate to come out of nowhere and compete for the nomination, it's now. According to the most recent NBC/WSJ poll, just 53% of Republicans are satisfied with their presidential choices (compared with 78% of Democrats who say they are). In addition, as Business Week reported, there is plenty of uncommitted GOP Ranger/Pioneer money out there for Thompson to gobble up (many of whom were on a conference call yesterday with Thompson). And what's not to like about a plainspoken Southerner who happens to be famous and who hasn't had ties to Washington or the Iraq war since he left Congress in 2002?

*** His Disadvantages: But how does he make up on lost time in building the same kind of infrastructure that McCain and Romney have built in the early primary states? (Frist and Allen staffer refugees can account for some of the staff deficit but not all.) On the issues, how is he any different than the front-runners? (A recent Washington Post story said his record was virtually identical to McCain's.) And is he attracting GOPers' attention because who he isn't -- rather than who he is? What, in short, makes him any different than Wes Clark was in 2003-4, sans the military medals?

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