Guest Author - Linda Sue Grimes
Fred Dalton Thompson was born August 19, 1942, in Sheffield, Alabama, to Fletcher and Ruth Thompson. The Thompsons relocated to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, where Fred attended school. After high school, he enrolled in Florence State College, now the University of North Alabama, then transferred to Memphis State University, from which he graduated in 1964 with a bachelors degree in political science and philosophy.
Thompson then pursued graduates studies in law at Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, graduating with the J.D. in 1967. Admitted to the Tennessee State Bar in 1967, he served as an assistant United States attorney until 1972. He worked as campaign manager for Senator Howard Baker in 1972.
From 1973 to 1974, Thompson worked as co-counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee as it investigated the Watergate affair. He was instrumental in Senator Baker’s questioning at the hearing that eventually unseated President Nixon. Thompson crafted the question: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”
Also, Thompson asked the question, “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?” Quite possibly, his voice as heard on those tapes led to his acting career.
In a 1994 special election, Fred Thompson was elected to serve out Al Gore’s senate term after Gore was elected vice-president. Then Thompson won senate reelection in 1996; in both the 1994 and 1996 elections Thompson won by wide margins, receiving more votes than any candidate in Tennessee history.
As a senator, Thompson served on the Finance Committee, which has responsibility for international trade, welfare reform, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Thompson advocated lower taxes and a simpler tax code; he also pushed for reform of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. He urged free trade, while advocating policies that protect U.S. security without bureaucratic interventions.
Thompson also served on the Intelligence Committee and the National Security Group that oversees the executive branch negotiations with the governments of other countries. He also was appointed to the Council on Foreign Relations, which works to improve relations between the U.S. and foreign nations.
From 1997 to 2001, Thompson served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, a committee charged with overseeing government operation. From that position, Thompson advocated reducing the size of government to make it more efficient. He convened hearings to find ways to improve the government’s regulatory processes. He also explored procedures for reforming the IRS. He pushed to cut out all programs and procedures that were unnecessary or underperforming. He also researched national security problems.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Thompson looked into the complaints about illegal activities arising from the 1996 election campaigns. Phil Kuntz of the Wall Street Journal wrote about Thompson: "Republican Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee and his Governmental Affairs Committee have offered the public a rare peek at the underside of American politics."
Actor - Author
Since 1985, Fred Dalton Thompson has appeared in 21 movies, including The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard 2, Cape Fear, and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and his most famous rôle is that of district attorney Arthur Branch on the long-running series Law & Order.
Fred Thompson is the author of the book At That Point in Time: The Inside Story of the Senate Watergate Committee, which offers an account of the whole Watergate scandal.
There is a strong movement to draft Thompson for the Republican nomination for president for the 2008 campaign. And it likely that he will declare himself a candidate soon. Some Republicans believe that Thompson’s stance is closer to the basic Republican philosophy than any of the current announced candidates. While Rudy Giuliani is deemed strong on defense, his social liberalism on abortion gives pause to many social conservatives. Mitt Romney has experience in governing, but he did change is position on social issues.
In many polls, Fred Thompson is already scoring higher positions than many of the announced candidates. Can he keep up the momentum after he announces?
I’m with Fred