Fred Thompson Moving Closer To Presidential Bid

Knoxville (WVLT) - "Pie in the sky" might have described the odds six or eight months ago.

But now, Tennessee's Former Senator Fred Thompson may be tap dancing ever closer to the pool of candidates running for president.

Certainly, Thompson’s really not saying anything for himself.

Nor is anybody who'd know willing to put his or her name on the line and say ‘yes, he's in’.

But we're starting to hear timetables, specific dates, beyond his verbal dancing with fox news last month.

If you haven't heard of the insider website, now you have.

It too quotes unnamed sources, but these sources are “Thompson’s advisors who say he dropped all pretense that was not running,” during a phone call with 100 influential donors Tuesday.

Donors whom, those sources say, Thompson asked to give, or raise $50,000 apiece. goes on to quote those sources as saying he'll form his exploratory committee next Monday, June 4 and announce he's running Independence Day, July 4 “a consistent conservative who can unite all elements of the party."

“Obviously, the blogosphere and a lot of individuals have created that groundswell of support through the grassroots. Now its time to find out whether there's monetary support,” says former Knox County GOP Chairman Brian Hornback. “Obviously if you have the grassroots support but not the monetary support, there's no reason to run.”

“He's been putting off announcement dates for some time,” says Lloyd Daughterty from the Tennessee Conservative Union. “They've been setting them in private. He's been putting them off. Tells me that he's fairly comfortable being a non-candidate right now, and that's a pretty wise thing in my opinion.”

Bottom line: the longer you can keep 'em guessing, the longer the attention is free and the questions fairly easy.

Washington (AP) -- There's word that actor and Former Senator Fred Thompson will be taking a step toward a formal Presidential bid next week.

Several officials with knowledge of the former Tennessee lawmaker's plans say he'll form a "testing the waters" committee.

The move would allow Thompson to hire a staff and begin fundraising without officially committing to the race.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also say the "Law And Order" actor is discussing a campaign swing through some early primary states next month. They also say there's a chance he'll make an official announcement over the July Fourth holiday.

Officials add that it's more likely than not that Thompson will join the crowded GOP field.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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