ABCNews' Teddy Davis Reports: ABC News has confirmed that former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI), who served as Health and Human Services Secretary in President Bush's first term, intends to file a presidential campaign committee after the first of the year.
Thompson commented about his intentions while in Iowa today. It's his fourth trip to the state in the last six weeks.
Thompson's spokesman expects expanding health-care coverage for the working poor to play a prominent role in Thompson's White House bid. He also plans to focus on education.
Thompson currently co-chairs a bipartisan commission with former Gov. Roy Barnes (D-GA) looking at how to improve the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. The panel, which is supported by the Aspen Institute, is expected to give Congress recommendations in advance of NCLB's expected renewal in 2007.
As for what should be done with the U.S. troops currently in Iraq, his spokesman says that Thompson hasn't had to answer that question yet.
Thompson is currently granting interviews and plans a more formal announcement in early January timed with the filing of his presidential committee.
Thompson joins a growing list of politicians taking--or preparing to take--formal steps to run for president, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA).