Fred Finally Jumps into the Fray on 'Jay'

Pundits debate whether delay damaged Thompson
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2007 9:01 PM CDT
Former United States Senator Fred Thompson, prepares for a scene on the set of the television show Law & Order in New York in this Feb. 19, 2003 file photo. (AP Photo/Matt Moyer, File)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pundits are accusing Fred Thompson of taking too long to announce his candidacy, a step he will take tomorrow night on Jay Leno. Poor fundraising and personnel problems have caught media limelight because Thompson wasn’t on the campaign trail, critics say. An adviser replies: "It's still not yet a campaign. Until you hit a date when the rubber hits the road, you can make mistakes."

Thompson will announce just as Congress is heating up its debate on Iraq this week. Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard says Thompson will keep supporting the surge to show off his down-to-earth conservatism – his best way of beating not-so-conservative Giuliani. Talking to Thompson’s strategists, Hayes writes, “one phrase was repeated nearly a dozen times: consistent conservative.”