Fred to Appear in Debate — for 30 Seconds

Rivals cast Thompson’s TV ad as NH snub on announcement eve
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2007 9:15 AM CDT
Former Senator and yet to announce Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson shakes hands with fairgoers at the Minnesota State Fair Monday, Aug. 27, 2007 in Falcon Heights, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Fred Thompson will run his first TV ad during tonight’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, and his rivals are taking advantage of one last chance to chide the non-candidate before he officially joins the race tomorrow. Mitt Romney’s spokesman is encouraging Granite State voters to feel neglected: “They usually don’t like a candidate thinking they can just phone it in from a couch out in Burbank.”

Indeed the spot “could cost him dearly” in the vote-first state, the Hill opines, and by the time Thompson's second ad plays—entitled “I’m In,” it’ll run all day tomorrow—the damage may be done. The state’s Republican Party chair picked up the snub storyline, calling Fred’s refusal to debate “disappointing,” and accusing him of timing his entry to miss tonight’s event.