Will Thompson's Cancer Affect White House Run?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) - He says he feels fine, that he wouldn't even know he had it, unless his doctor told him.

But actor, and former Tennessee US Senator Fred Thompson, has disclosed he has been diagnosed with a form of cancer.

At 5:30, you heard what indolent lymphoma is.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd looks at what this could mean for the Draft Fred movement for president.

Some believe it could be the proverbial finger in the wind. He says the diagnosis came more than two years ago and that he's in remission. No symptoms. No drugs.

But taking his pulse, could well take yours too.

"I'm thinking of running for President. There certain things you have to check off in your mind in order to do that," Former Senator Fred Thompson admits he wouldn't even be talking about the C word, Cancer, were not the P-word part of the rumor mill.

To Some supporters, "I think it tells you he's more likely to run." Tennessee Conservative Union Chairman Lloyd Daugherty says he thought Thompson had been treating a run as a walk in the park. Maybe even a bargaining chip, given that his Law and Order contract is up in June. But now, "Why else would you make this kind of announcement unless you were vetting it out for a possible Presidential run?"

"He should be more enthusiastic, more serious, about running than four or five weeks ago," says Congressman Jimmy Duncan.

The Gallup Poll shows former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani widening his lead over Arizona Senator John McCain.

But throw Thompson into what Fox News calls its Real Clear Politics poll, and he pulls better than former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

But Thompson says polls are only part of it. "The American people have a right to know this, to voice their opinion, whether they think this is a big deal or not."

For East Tennesseans we found:

"It definitely would be some factor, depending on the illness and seriousness of it," says Knoxvillian Christy Feliciano.

"I'd probably want to know a little bit about it," adds Mark Hicks.

"If there was an ongoing problem that might keep him from doing what he needed to do as president, then that would be an issue," says Zola Morris.

"If it's resolved, and they have medical proof that they're healthy, I wouldn't question it," says Marvin Hughes from Oak Ridge.

Thompson says he can live with lymphoma.

His question is, "Whether, in my case, the man fits the times or you're needed."

"I think he can catch up organizationally. I think he can wait a little bit longer," says Daugherty.

"I just think he has to try to determine if he can raise they money, and I believe he can," adds Congressman Duncan.

Duncan's man Romney has the head start, almost doubling McCain's take so far this year.
But Duncan admits he'd back Fred in a second.

As would Daugherty, "It'd be nice to finally have someone from Tennessee that a mainline, Goldwater Republican could support."

Again, he's still not in. Or out. But it does keep his name out there.

Money and poll numbers aren't going to be the only factors here. The law and order factor is a very real issue.

Not only whether he continues on the show.

But if he runs, you're talking several years of reruns that have to sit on the shelf.

Otherwise, his opponents can lay claim to equal time.


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