Fred Thompson, Doing It His Way

Friends tell us that Fred Thompson, the TV star and former Tennessee senator, isn't taking the normal route as he lays the groundwork for a GOP presidential bid. Instead of kissing up to the Washington press and party Brahmins, his early strategy has been focused on conservatives in the media and on the Internet.

And so far, his team says, it's working. One example: Last week he gave a trademark folksy conservative speech, and the mainstream media shrugged it off while conservative bloggers went nutso for it. "Our strategy is to not pay attention to the mainstream," says an adviser.

"Heck, the mainstream isn't going to vote for a Republican, even Thompson," he added. Thompson also blogged on topical Pajamas, and his sarcastic video suggesting that lefty filmmaker Michael Moore consider a "mental institution" has been seen by over 1 million.

By Paul Bedard