The fast-moving Fred Thompson for president campaign will take its first step toward joining the 2008 GOP race next week, when the actor and former senator will announce that he's testing the waters for a White House bid.
"That's the technical, legal thing we have to do to begin raising money and hiring staff," says an insider. But stories that the Law & Order star plans to make his campaign official on Independence Day are being dismissed as silly.
"We're probably going to announce around the first week of July but not on the Fourth. That's not true," says a Thompson ally. "Why would we do it then? Families are at the beach, on vacation, at barbecues, and not paying attention to politics. We don't interrupt family time."
Thompson has been on the fast track to the White House in recent weeks, giving speeches, blogging, and meeting with conservative reporters as he has sized up what it takes to win and form his platform. "If he gets in the race it will be to win the whole thing, I can tell you that," says another associate. He gave a widely praised speech in Connecticut last week and plans a similar address to Virginia Republicans this week.
And even though he is suffering from the flu, he also met with conservative reporters and columnists this week, spelling out his plans to stay firm on the war, push for tax cuts, and largely work toward renewing the Reagan Revolution.