Possible Fred Thompson Candidacy Animates Conservatives

The possibility that former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee might run for president has animated many conservative leaders who are unhappy with the GOP choices that exist now.

They consider Thompson a strong conservative with stellar communications skills and an interesting resume that includes success and fame as a movie and TV actor. All this reminds many of Ronald Reagan, an icon of the right.

"Fred says he might run and he would be a real threat for the Republican nomination," says a prominent conservative who is neutral in the presidential race so far. The problem: Is Thompson willing to devote the time and energy needed for a run?

Some who dealt with him in the Senate say he is too laid back to do what it takes. "Would he work hard enough? That's always a question with Fred," says an long-time associate.

"And you have to do a lot of silly, demeaning things to get elected and become the most powerful man in the world. Fred hasn't shown much stomach for that."

By Kenneth T. Walsh