Thompson Campaign May Be Shifting Gears

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fred D. Thompson appears to be stepping it up, at least to a slow trot.

After a series of leisurely weeks, Thompson's campaign announced yesterday that it plans to air its first television commercial since the former senator from Tennessee launched his White House bid just after Labor Day.

In the ad, which will run in Iowa this week, Thompson introduces himself to voters as a "consistent conservative" who as a Republican U.S. senator "fought for tax cuts, and for conservative judges." He adds: "And I'm proud to have had a 100 percent pro-life voting record."

Thompson plans to campaign in Iowa next week after undertaking an unusually busy week that included a day in New Hampshire, two days in South Carolina and an event at the Country Music Association Awards in Tennessee.

But that schedule is noteworthy primarily because of its contrast to the last month.

While his rivals have spent grueling months on the campaign trail, sometimes hitting five or six events in a single day, Thompson has taken it easy, holding just a handful of public events each week.

On Tuesday of last week, for example, Thompson campaigned in California, holding a news conference in San Francisco after a series of closed-door fundraisers. He had no public events on Wednesday but jetted to Las Vegas for a breakfast fundraiser there Thursday morning.

Then, he "went dark," keeping no public schedule until his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, his first appearance on the show since he declared his candidacy.

In mid-October, his campaign went days without a stop outside Washington.

During that stretch he gave a brief speech each day to D.C.-based Republican groups such as the Club for Growth and the Values Voters conference.

The following week, he traveled to Florida for a Republican debate and used the opportunity for a two-day trip through the Sunshine State.

But then he went two days without a public event or another trip to an early-primary state.

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