Thompson maintains poker face while playing his hand.

Today’s article be Mike Allen at Politico will undoubtedly fuel the fires of the Draft Thompson movement in the blogosphere. If Allen’s hypothesis comes to pass, it will bode well for Thompson. Meeting with the House GOP will help Thompson get a feel for the pulse of conservatives within the party leadership with respect to a possible run. While not impossible, it is very unlikely that Thompson would run as a Maverick candidate with little support from the party.

Fred Thompson…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.

Thompson will also stoke speculation with a meeting of House Republicans April 18 at the Capitol Hill Club, organized by Rep Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), the most vocal promoter of a Thompson candidacy. More than 60 House Republicans have indicated they want to come to hear the former senator, according to organizers.

An announcement in California, delivering a strong fiscal discipline and border enforcement message, is equally well played. With an ‘R” after his name, Thompson will need to hit California, New York and Massachusetts heavy in hopes of coloring at least one of them red in the general. With his Hollywood connections and plain-talking Reagan-esque style, California represents his greatest opportunity. 

At least one liberal Californian,  “Law and Order” producer Dick Wolf, can be counted on as a swing vote should his co-worker decide to run.  He had this to say in the LA Times…

“Look, I’ve met every president since Nixon,” said Wolf, an independent who supported Bill Clinton. “When they focus their attention on you, it’s like a light goes on. They have this unique ability to make you feel like you’re the only one in the room.

“I don’t know if it’s a gift or a trick, but Fred’s got it.”
Wolf finds Thompson’s potential candidacy interesting. He’s even had conversations with him about it.

“We talked about it in the abstract,” Wolf recounted. “I said, ‘You should run.’ He said, ‘Really, why?’ I said, ‘Because I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can appeal to the base.’ ”

Wolf said he could easily see Thompson running and winning.

“When Fred Thompson walks in a room, people want to salute,” Wolf said.

So with Senator Thompson shrewdly playing the reluctant public servant, one question burns in the minds of the GOP field.

“Are Thompson’s votes coming from me?” Sadly, for longtime friend and not so conservative colleague John McCain, that answer is and will increasingly become a resounding “Yes”.

 

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