Fred Thompson to Run in '08

ABC News' Christine Byun reports: After a summer of "testing the waters," former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., will formally announce his intention to run for president via webcast on Sept 6th, Thompson political director Randy Enwright confirmed on a conference call to supporters Thursday.

Thompson will follow the announcement with a five-day visit to early primary states: New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina.

After a visit to Florida beginning Sept.13, there will be a "welcome home" party in Thompson's hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee on Sept. 15th.

Thompson, a former 'Law & Order' actor, formed the "Friends of Fred" committee at the beginning of June with offices in McLean, Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee.

However Thompson left everyone wondering when he would officially jump into the '08 race.

Rumors pegged his announcement earlier this summer around the Fourth of July holiday. However that announcement never came.

The status of the campaign-in-waiting, staff shakeups, and less-than-expected fundraising numbers left many wondering whether Thompson waited too long and lost his momentum.

Thompson's summer-long venture into a possible candidacy also invited a liberal activist-blogger to submit a complaint with the Federal Election Committee, accusing Thompson of skirting election laws for raising more money than needed for the testing-the-waters phase.

However, as a non-candidate, Thompson has been able to maintain GOP top-tier status in national polls -- placing second at 16 percent behind Rudy Giuliani's 31 percent in the most recent Gallup poll.

His staffing has gone through a myriad of growing pains and various shufflings. Some staffers reportedly left because of chain-of-command issues, specifically with Thompson's wife, Jeri.

In late July, the "Friends of Fred" Chief Operating Officer and defacto manager Tom Collamore exited and Bill Lacy, who helped Thompson win a Tennessee senate seat in 1994, was pulled in from Kansas to staff headquarters in McLean, Virginia and take over the organizational reins.

In the last couple of days, Communications Director Linda Rozett was replaced with Todd Harris, a former McCain 2000 campaign spokesperson. From an internal letter, Lacy explained that they needed someone with more campaign experience and Rozett's exit was one of the "tough decisions to make our venture successful."

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