U.S. SENATOR FRED THOMPSON BIO
At the age of fifty-one, Fred Thompson has interrupted a long and illustrious career in the national spotlight to stand for election to public office for the first time in his life. As a candidate for the United States Senate, he offers a depth of knowledge, experience, and wisdom no career politician could ever match.
Like those who founded our country, Fred regards public service as a duty. Americans are crying out for statesmen — men and women who can lead us out of the morass of self-serving bureaucracy and restore to government the virtues that made our nation great. That he should see it this way comes as no surprise to those familiar with his remarkable life.
Fred Thompson grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, the son of a used car salesman respected throughout the county for his unwavering honesty. A star athlete in high school, Fred graduated from Memphis State University before turning down a full scholarship to Tulane Law School in order to attend Vanderbilt University.
To support his growing family, Fred sold shoes, drove trucks and worked in factories between classes and homework. This work ethic, combined with his extensive study of classical philosophy and political science, led Fred to a firm belief in Republican ideals.
Law license in hand, Fred returned to Lawrenceburg to practice general law until 1969, when he was named Assistant U.S. Attorney for Middle Tennessee. In that capacity, he earned a reputation as a fierce prosecutor of difficult criminal cases. While serving in this post he came to the attention of Howard Baker, who engaged Fred to serve as his Middle Tennessee Senate campaign manager.
Shortly after that election was won, Fred heeded still another call from Senator Baker - to serve as minority counsel on the Senate Watergate Committee. It was Fred who asked Alexander Butterfield the key question that revealed the White House taping system. Later, he returned to private practice and wrote a book about his Watergate experiences, From This Point in Time.
Then, in 1977, he took on a case that would alter the course of his life. Marie Ragghianti had been fired from her job as Chairman of the Parole Board of Tennessee by Governor Ray Blanton because she had questioned his suspicious granting of early release to several prison inmates. Outraged by this apparent injustice and undaunted by the governor’s power, Fred decided to fight for Ragghianti. By so doing, he and Ragghianti helped to expose a clemency—for--cash scandal that eventually brought down the Blanton administration. Blanton and several key aides went to prison and Marie Ragghianti found justice.
The story became the subject of Peter Maas’ book, Marie, a True Story, and a major film with Sissy Spacek in the title role. Impressed by his commanding presence, the producers asked Fred to play himself in the film. He succeeded so well that he went on to play authority figures in numerous television productions and in 17 major Hollywood films, including In the Line of Fire, Die Hard II, Cape Fear and The Hunt for Red October [NOTE: After serving his term and a brief run for the Presidency, Thompson took on the long-running role of district attorney in the TV program, Law & Order.]
Throughout these years, Fred has continued to practice law and has maintained offices in both Nashville and Washington. Congress has called on him to serve as Special Counsel to both the U.S. Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees and he has served each post with distinction. Today his skills are highly regarded by Republicans and Democrats alike and he is listed in Naifeh and Smith’s book, The Best Lawyers in America.
Fred has experienced first-hand both the disappointments and the triumphs that come from hard factory work, running a small business, and meeting a payroll for more than twenty years. He has helped break two of the most notorious political scandals in American history and he continues to fight crime and injustice at the very highest levels. Lucrative film offers still cross his desk every day and his law practice is still thriving.
Now Fred Thompson is ready to put the practice aside, to turn down all offers, and to apply his experience, strength of character and understanding of the inner workings of power to the nation’s most severe problems. And unlike so many career politicians in Washington, he vows to limit himself to two full Senate terms, to achieve his public service goals, and then come home once more to Tennessee.