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"Global competition and a growing economic disparity among our citizens are challenges. But how we react to them is more important than the challenges themselves. Some want us to withdraw from the world that presents us with so many problems, in the hope they will go away. Some would push us towards protectionist trade policies. Others see a solution in raising taxes and redistributing the income among our citizens. Wrong on all counts. These are defensive, defeatist policies that have consistently been proven wrong. They are not what America is all about. We're not afraid of globalization. It works to our benefit. We innovate more and invest in that innovation better than anywhere else in the world. Same thing goes for services. Free trade and market economies have done more for freedom and prosperity than a central planner could ever dream and we're the world's best example of that. So, why do we want to take investment dollars out of growth, and invest it in government?" - Fred Thompson

Statistics -

FULL NAME: Frederick Dalton Thompson
DATE OF BIRTH: August 19, 1942
AGE: 65
SPOUSE: Jeri Kehn
CHILDREN: Tony, Daniel, Hayden, and Samual
PETS: None
RELIGION: United Church of Christ

QUICK FACTIn 1977 Fred represented Marie Ragghianti, a Tennessee Parole Board chairperson, in a case involving firing under suspicious circumstances. The jury found that Marie had been fired "arbitrarily and capriciously" and ordered her reinstatement with an award of $38,000. The scandal later became the subject of a 1983 book, Marie, by Peter Maas, and then a movie directed by Roger Donaldson. Donaldson asked Fred if he would play himself in the movie, and Fred agreed. The resulting film, Marie, was released in 1985. 


Biography -

Frederick Dalton "Fred" Thompson is an American lawyer, lobbyist, and character actor. He represented Tennessee as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1994 through 2003. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Visiting Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, specializing in national security and intelligence. As an actor, Thompson has performed in film and on television. He has frequently portrayed governmental figures. Thompson describes himself as a conservative. He has said that federalism is his "lodestar," providing "a basis for a proper analysis of most issues: 'Is this something government should be doing? If so, at what level of government?'"

Fred Thompson was born in Sheffield, Alabama, to Ruth Inez (Bradley) and Fletcher Session Thompson, an automobile salesman. He attended public school in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, including Lawrence County High School. In 1959, at the age of 17, Thompson married Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey, and their first child, a son, was born in 1960. Another son and a daughter were born soon thereafter. Thompson entered Florence State College, becoming the first member of his family to go to college. He subsequently transferred to Memphis State University where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science in 1964.  While Thompson was attending law school, both he and his wife worked to pay for his education and support their three children. Thompson earned his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1967 and was admitted to the State Bar of Tennessee that same year.  He worked as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1969 to 1972. 

Thompson was the campaign manager for Republican U.S. Senator Howard Baker's successful re-election in 1972, which led to a close personal friendship with Baker. He later served as co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal, (1973–1974), and afterwards wrote a book about it. According to Fox News, Thompson was responsible for Sen. Baker asking one of the questions that is said to have led directly to the downfall of President Richard Nixon—"What did the President know, and when did he know it?" In response to renewed interest in this matter, Thompson says "I'm glad all of this has finally caused someone to read my Watergate book, even though it's taken them over thirty years."

In 1977 Thompson took on the case of Marie Ragghianti, a wrongly fired Tennessee Parole Board chairperson. Thompson confirmed that her firing was due to her refusal to release from prison felons who had bribed aides of Governor Ray Blanton to buy their freedom. A jury found that Governor Blanton had fired her "arbitrarily and capriciously" and ordered her reinstatement with an award of $38,000 for back pay. Thompson's work in helping to expose this cash-for-clemency scheme ultimately toppled Blanton from power. The 1977 Tennessee Parole Board scandal later became the subject of a 1983 book, Marie, and a 1985 movie, also titled Marie. That same year Fred and his wife Sarah divorced. 

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Thompson worked primarily as an attorney, with law offices in Nashville and Washington, DC. His work included serving as special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1980 and the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1982. Among the cases Thompson handled in his private law practice were personal injury claims and the defense of individuals accused of white collar crimes. Some of his clients have been foreign corporations, such as a German mining group and Japan's Toyota Motors Corporation. Thompson has also served on various corporate boards; for example, in the 1990s, he did legal work for the engineering firm Stone & Webster, while serving on its board of directors.

In 1994, Thompson was elected to finish the remaining two years of Al Gore's Senate term due to the election of Gore as Vice President of the United States. During the 1994 campaign, Thompson's opponent was longtime Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper. Thompson defeated Cooper in a landslide upset victory, and was re-elected in 1996. Senator Susan Collins of Maine has said: "I believe that Fred is a fearless senator. By that I mean he was never afraid to cast a vote or take a stand, regardless of the political consequences." In the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, Thompson endorsed Senator John McCain's bid and became his national co-chairman. When control of the Senate passed from Republican to Democratic in 2001, Thompson became the ranking minority member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs.

In the final months of his U.S. Senate term in 2002, Thompson joined the cast of the NBC television series Law & Order, playing Arthur Branch. While Thompson was still serving in the Senate, he filmed his parts during Senate recesses. Thompson has made occasional appearances in the same role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Conviction. On June 29, 2002, Thompson married Republican consultant Jeri Kehn.  They have two children together. In March 2003, Thompson was featured in a commercial by the conservative non-profit group Citizens United that advocated the invasion of Iraq, stating: "When people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us--before 9/11," and remains supportive of that invasion.

After the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005, Thompson was appointed by President Bush to guide the nomination of John Roberts through the United States Senate confirmation process. In 2006 he served on the advisory board of the legal defense fund for I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Jr. who was indicted and convicted of lying to federal investigators during their investigation of the Plame affair. The Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund Trust raised more than $5 million to finance the legal defense of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. After President Bush commuted Libby's sentence, Thompson released a statement: "I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life."

In 2006, Thompson signed on with ABC News Radio to serve as senior analyst and vacation replacement for Paul Harvey. He used that platform to spell out his positions on a number of political issues, such as: Thompson supports free trade and low taxes; Thompson supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but believes mistakes have been made since then; and Thompson believes Iran's threats of war should be taken seriously.


Platform Issues -

National Security:

The first responsibility of government is to protect the American people, the homeland, and our way of life. Today we face the urgent threat of radical Islamic terrorists. Al Qaeda is committed to attacking us here at home, and wants to use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to kill millions. We must never give them that opportunity. We must defeat the terrorists abroad, and that begins in Iraq and Afghanistan—the central fronts in this global war. We must show the world we have the will to fight and win. A weakened America - or an America that appears weaker - will only encourage further attacks. We must persevere. As Commander-in-Chief, the president must ensure the United States has the means to achieve victory. Presidential leadership requires talking to the American people about these stakes, mapping out a clear vision for success, and devising a comprehensive strategy for achieving it.

Federal Budget & Spending/Budgetary Reform:

In a few short years—not a generation from now—a fiscal tsunami that could imperil our security and economic prosperity will hit our nation and place an unfair burden of debt on our children and grandchildren. The tens of trillions of dollars in debt that will be accumulated over the next few decades will do immense harm to our economy. This burden is now estimated at $170,000 per person and $440,000 per family. Time is running out to address this looming crisis. We need market-based approaches to reform that guarantee benefits for those who need them and embrace personal responsibility and cost-effectiveness without raising taxes. Given the scope and urgency of this problem, and the burden it will place on our children, reform is not only an economic necessity, it is a moral imperative that requires action now.

Tax Reform:

The U.S. tax code is broken and a burden on U.S. taxpayers and businesses, large and small. Today’s tax code is particularly hostile to savings and investment, and it shows. To make matters worse, its complexity is a drag on our productivity and economic growth. Moreover, taxpayers spend billions of dollars and untold hours each year filling out complicated tax returns, just so they can send more money to Washington, much of it for wasteful programs and the pet projects of special interests. We need lower taxes, and we need to let taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars—they know best where and how to spend them. And we need to make the system simpler and fairer for all.


Americans have the best healthcare in the world. Some, however, choose not be insured; others cannot afford it. Every American should be able to get health insurance coverage that is affordable, fully accessible, and portable. Coverage should meet their individual needs and put them in control. Those who propose a one-size-fits-all Washington-controlled program ignore the cost, inefficiency, and inadequate care that such a system offers. Access to affordable, portable health care can be made available for all Americans without imposing new mandates or raising taxes. Current government programs must also be streamlined and improved so that those who truly need help can get the health care they need.

Government Effectiveness:

Our government is outdated, inefficient, and wasteful. It is often unable to perform even the most basic tasks our citizens expect. It is no longer enough just to want limited government; the American people deserve more effective government. Given today’s challenges, we cannot afford—and shouldn’t accept—anything less than a nimble, effective, and efficient government that is able to focus its resources on the important issues facing our country. It must be able act on behalf of the American people and our national interests in a timely manner. The key to competent government is strong, committed leadership from the top. The key to good government is good people who are well-managed and put the national interest first.

Building Strong Families:

Strong families are the bedrock of our nation and our culture.  They are built around the sanctity of life and the institution of marriage, which is the union of a man and a woman.  To counter coarseness in today’s culture that oftentimes victimizes our children and undermines the traditional values parents want to instill, we must not only protect but strengthen the institutions of family and marriage.


The United States is a nation of immigrants. Throughout our history, legal immigrants have brought energy, ideas, strength, and diversity to our country, our economy, and our culture. This must continue. But in the post-9/11 world, immigration is more of a national security issue. A government that cannot secure its borders and determine who may enter and who may not, abrogates a fundamental responsibility.


A well-educated citizenry is vital to our security, our economy, and our democracy. Despite the tens of billions of dollars spent on education by Washington each year, and the hundreds of federal education programs now in place, our children are still falling behind, particularly in subjects crucial to the global economy in which we live. At a time when America is behind other developed countries in education excellence, the federal role in education is too intrusive and too bureaucratic, and has become part of the problem. State and local governments are closest to the parents, the kids, and the schools, and best situated to implement changes and innovations that best educate children.

Appointing Judges Faithful to our Constitution:

Activist judges across the country seem intent on legislating from the bench to promote a culture of abortion, redefine marriage, and undermine families—in effect re-shaping the values of our entire society without the consent of the people.  We need judges who recognize their role in our democracy is to interpret, not make, the law.

Energy Security:

The energy challenges our nation faces today are real and significant. Our dependence on foreign sources of oil threatens our national security and puts our economic prosperity at risk. America must rise to the challenge and take the steps necessary to become more energy independent before this becomes a crisis. No one solution will solve the energy challenges we face; all ideas must be on the table. Greater energy security will enhance our ability to pursue our foreign policy and national security objectives. Increasing our energy independence and investing in alternative energy sources will also produce a healthier environment. And while we don’t know for certain how or why climate change is occurring, it makes sense to take reasonable steps to reduce CO2 emissions without harming our economy.

Second Amendment:

I strongly support the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Gun control is touted as a major crime-control measure. But some of the places with the strictest gun-control laws also have high violent-crime rates. Disarming law-abiding citizens does not prevent crime. The answer to violent crime is smart, effective, and aggressive law enforcement. The real effect of these gun-control measures is to place onerous restrictions on law-abiding citizens who use firearms for such legal activities as self-defense, sport-shooting, hunting, and collecting.


Voting Record -

For Thompson's Voting Record on issues such as Abortion, Civil Rights, Environment, Gun Control, Immigration, and more, please see:



"In the post-9/11 world, immigration is much more of a national security issue. A government that cannot secure its borders and determine who may enter and who may not, fails in a fundamental responsibility. As we take steps to secure our borders and enforce our laws, we must also ensure that our immigration laws and policies advance our national interests in a variety of areas, and that the immigration process itself is as fair, efficient, and effective as possible."

"The United States is committed to the security of Israel and the safety of the Israeli people. The historical, familial and cultural ties of our peoples are the basis of this commitment. It is strengthened by the shared values and shared interests of our nations. Our mutual goal is an economically and militarily strong Israel at peace with its neighbors. We must exercise our traditional leadership role in the region and continue our longstanding support to Israel to achieve this vision."


We thank the following resources:

Fred Thompson Official Website
Project Vote Smart
On the Issues



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