According to an opinion poll released today, there is a new front-runner for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2008 – and he hasn’t even officially declared yet. Fred Thompson is an actor and a former senator from Tennessee. Officially, he is still thinking about whether to run. But the Rasmussen poll already puts him one point ahead of Rudy Giuliani, who hitherto has been the Republican front-runner. Other polls have the two men neck-and-neck.
Thompson gave a speech at Policy Exchange, a London think-tank, today. So I went along to see what all the fuss is about. He certainly looks the part – but then he would because he is an actor. He is very tall and exudes a certain authority, which has allowed him at various times to play roles as the White House Chief of Staff and the head of the CIA. His biggest recent part was as Arthur Branch in "Law and Order" – which apparently is a very popular TV show; although when he started to speak he sounded more like "Deputy Dawg" because of his deep southern accent. He already has a well-honed line – ready for the campaign trail – that "eight years in Washington made me long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood."