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Fred Thompson dips his toe in

I guess Dick Wolf will have to put those 100+ episodes of L&O with Fred Thompson in the on ice, as the actor and former senator from Tennessee has decided to form a 2008 presidential exploratory committee called “Friends of Fred Thompson.”

The 64-year-old Southerner would bring a right-leaning Senate voting record with a few digressions from GOP orthodoxy and a dash of Hollywood star power given his many movie roles and TV stint as the gruff district attorney on NBC’s popular crime drama.

But he sometimes took paths that didn’t necessarily sit well with conservatives, including advocating for campaign finance reform. While he voted to oust President Clinton from office, he also was one of 10 Republican senators who voted against one of the two impeachment charges.

Social issues, important to the party’s right, also typically weren’t at the top of his agenda. He was known less as a legislator and more as an investigator, leading the committee that examined former President Clinton’s fundraising in 1996.

Campaigning in Iowa, Romney said he welcomed a Thompson entry. “I think he’ll make the race more interesting. He’s got good ideas and after all, he does put bad people in jail every week on ‘Law & Order,'” he said.

Truth be told, Dems should be concerned —  the low-information voting sheeple can easily be swayed by Thompson’s TV persona, enough so to ignore Thompson the elected official’s record (you can see it  here, in a CQ chart comparing him with McCain, Sam Brownback, and Chuck Hagel). The GOP is so desperate for a candidate to rally behind that they may go with a “looks presidential enough to beat a Dem” cardboard cutout like Thompson.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding