Just talked to a Thompson source I’ll call “TA3″ (Thompson Associate 3). Much more coming shortly, but the first word was, there will not be a presidential announcement from Fred Thompson on July 4.
(The Politico got it wrong, it appears.)
TA3: “There will be no July 4 announcement… There was some discussion of a June 4 beginning of fundraising; that’s the date checks will be collected. I suspect that’s where there was some confusion.”
The forthcoming announcement will be that Thompson is “testing the waters.” While Thompson is in that not-quite-announced-candidate stage, he will be able to complete previously committed paid appearances and speeches and continue work his work on ABC radio and filling in for Paul Harvey. He is not lining up additional paid speeches or appearances.
TA3 also said there was nothing to any rumors that yesterday’s conference call was a response to polls or any other outside pressure, or that it was hastily thrown together in response to outside developments. “A conference call with 100 supporters pledging to raise 50,000 each doesn’t generate itself.”
TA3 also answered a few questions I had of Thompson’s video response to Michael Moore. He said neither the former senator nor the folks around him expected it to get the attention it did. He said the video snippet “gave people a small window into the different kind of campaign that he would be running if he got in… It will be all Fred, all the time… If people want their Fred fix, they’ll get it. He’ll be out there constantly, if he’s not in your hometown, he’ll be on your computer.”
My gut instinct after talking with TA3 is that there will be an announcement in July, but not July 4.
UPDATE: I notice other media are still saying the Thompson activity “could culminate in a formal announcement over the July 4th weekend,” while Fox News is saying “sometime after July 4.” I can only tell you this is what my source, who is clearly within the Fred Thompson inner circle, told me.
One would suspect that right before a long holiday weekend (and with July 4 being a Wednesday, I’ll bet a lot of people take Tuesday and/or Monday off) is one of the worst times to announce a presidential campaign, as people are paying the least amount of attention. So an announcement right after the Fourth of July makes sense…
Also, I agree with my old friend Blake Dvorak that announcing on that date could come across as cheesy.