Alexander Bolton has an article in today’s edition of The Hill revealing what appears to be the beginnings of a White House run by former Tennessee Senator and actor Fred Thompson:
Former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) is contacting powerbrokers in the Republican Party to build support for a 2008 presidential campaign by his one-time prot?g?, former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).
Baker, who Wednesday made a visit to the Senate, was asked by several Republicans about his involvement on Thompson?s behalf.
?He said, ?I am making a few calls and I think it?s a great idea,?? said one Senate Republican who heard Baker discuss his efforts to advance Thompson?s prospects.
One Republican who discussed a possible bid with Thompson described his interest and Baker?s queries as ?a friendly exploration.?
Jonathan Singer points out the significance of this early probing for one John McCain:
[T]he fact that Thompson is so clearly testing the waters, particularly when one of his closest allies from his Senate days, John McCain, is trying to establish himself as the candidate of the Republican elite, is quite telling. And it may be that Thompson has the potential to usurp that role McCain is so desperately seeking through his blatant pandering to conservatives within the GOP. According to Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers, former Senate Majority Leader, 1976 GOP vice presidential nominee and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole seems to be holding out for a candidate that is not yet in the race. While Dole could have been talking about Gingrich, with whom he had a somewhat frosty relationship when the two were leaders in Congress; or Chuck Hagel, with whom I am not certain he has much of a connection as the two did not serve on Capitol Hill; or even his wife, who made a quickly aborted run for the party’s presidential nomination in 2000, it’s quite conceivable that Dole was signaling potential support for a Thompson candidacy
It has been quite clear for some time that the Republican leadership is not thrilled with the idea of John McCain as their nominee, and the two major alternatives — Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani — leave much to be desired for their own reasons. Fred Thompson may be just what they’re looking for.