Monday, August 27, 2007

Fred Thompson Update

It's that time again.

1. Bob Novak reports that "Thompson's decision to announce his presidential candidacy with a video was suggested by Newt Gingrich."

2. Why did Thompson, who in the winter of 1997 was considering quitting the Senate, agree instead to chair the committee investigating Clinton fund-raising scandals? Because he hoped the investigation would "galvanize support" for his then-hobbyhorse, now-bugbear, campaign finance reform, which was then stalled in Congress.

3. Jonathan Martin reports on the state of the campaign:

A Thompson source, requesting anonymity to speak candidly, voiced concern that Team Fred is still not ready for a the pressure cooker of a presidential campaign.

"There is no question that from a political standpoint, the testing-the-waters committee is right where it needs to be,” this person said, “but from a personnel standpoint, it's a completely different story."

"You have some gaping holes in the communications shop and in the overall management at the committee.”

Thompson fired his communications director Linda Rozett, a former chamber of commerce official, last week, displeased by her lack of campaign experience. Thompson’s spokeswoman, Burson Snyder, resigned two weeks ago, unhappy with a diminished role and uneasy about the disorder in the campaign structure. And Thompson's first campaign manager, Tom Collamore, was viewed as lacking the necessary political chops for a White House run and forced out.

Asked if the installation of Bill Lacy, Thompson’s close friend and the strategist from his first Senate race, had brought order to the operation, the Thompson source said, “It hasn’t yet.”

One person familiar with the day-to-day operation indicated that there could be belt-tightening measures taken to curb the outbound flow of cash from Thompson’s testing-the-waters committee.

After raising just under $3.5 million in June—about a million-and-a-half less than his advisers initially predicted they’d haul in—Thompson indicated that the financial report he’ll file along with the other presidential hopefuls at the end of third quarter in September may not dazzle the doubters.