Fred Thompson

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Fred Dalton Thompson is a Republican and former Senator from Tennessee. He was a Republican candidate for the presidency in 2008. He was born in Sheffield, Alabama on August 19, 1942 and attended public schools in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. When he was 17 years old, Thompson married Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey. They were divorced 25 years later, and Thompson has two surviving children and several grandchildren from that marriage. In 2002, one of his daughters died of a drug overdose. Later that year, he married Jeri Kehn, a Republican lawyer who is 25 years his junior. They have two children.

Thompson is a visiting fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, and he serves on the Advisory Board of the I. Lewis Libby Defense Fund. Thompson has said that he has a treatable form of lymphoma.


Legal Career

Thompson graduated from Memphis State University in 1964 and received a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1967. He worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney, then held a series of staff positions on U.S. Senate committees, including: the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (“Watergate Committee”) from 1973-1974.

Political Career

Thompson began his political career as an anti-union activist, after which he established his county's Young Republican club. He joined former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker's reelection campaign in 1972. Thompson was elected to the Senate in a 1994 special election to fill the seat left vacant after Al Gore was elected Vice-President. Thompson was re-elected in 1996, but did not seek reelection in 2002.


  • Thompson was a staffer on the Senate committee that investigated the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. In his book about that incident Thompson admitted that he secretly told White House officials about the committee's discoveries before they were called to testify. One former Democratic committee staffer said "Thompson was a mole for the White House". (Source: Not all would put a heroic sheen on Thompson's Watergate role, Boston Globe, July 4, 2007).

Post Watergate

Thompson was the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1980-1981, and the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1982.

In 1977, he investigated a pardon-selling scandal that brought down former Governor Ray Blanton. He was also a counselor to Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander in 1980.

Lobbying Career

Between his various jobs on Capitol Hill, Thompson worked for 18 years as a corporate lobbyist and registered foreign agent (lobbying for foreign companies).

Acting Career

  • Thompson plays prosecutor Arthur Branch on the television series Law & Order thus he is seen as an authority figure in the way that John Wayne was seen as a war hero.

Military Service

  • Thompson has never served in the military. During the Vietnam era he was deferred from the draft because he had children. [1]

Religious Beliefs

  • Thompson was raised in the Church of Christ, but he admitted that he is not a member of any church in Washington DC, where he lives, and that his church attendance "varies". (Source: Thompson Says He Won't Tout His Religion on Trail,, Sept. 11, 2007). He was raised Restorationist/Cambellite.

Policy Statements

  • Supports a pre-emptive strike against Iran. (Source: McCain Sets Self Apart in Debate, by Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear, Washington Post, June 6, 2007.)
  • Regarding the NIE on Iran, Thompson said "I don’t care what this latest NIE says. That’s foolishness." (Source: [2])
  • Supports cutting Social Security payments: "If grandmom and granddad think that a little sacrifice will help their grandchildren when they get married, try to buy a home or have children, they will respond to a credible call to make that sacrifice..." (from his Orange county speech, see No Quarter blog link below).


  • "I chased girls and girls chased me." - New York Times, May 1, 2007, describing his years as a single man in the U.S. Senate.
  • "Many Iranians don't like their government, and I think we ought to capitalize on that. There is a chance they may mobilize themselves, and we need to assist them if that happens," -, May 1, 2007.
  • Noting that the United States had apprehended 1,000 people from Cuba in 2005, Thompson said, "I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb." (Source: [3])
  • He said that bin Laden is "more symbolism than anything else" and said his presence in the "mountains of Pakistan or Afghanistan is not as important as there are probably al-Qaida operatives inside the United States of America." (Source: [4])
  • "Can I have a round of applause?' - after a campaign speech in Iowa fell flat.


  • Thompson, Fred D. 'At That Point in Time: The Inside Story of the Senate Watergate Committee'. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co., 1975.

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