Fred Thompson

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Fred Thompson
Fred thompson.jpg
U.S. Senator from Tennessee
From: December 2, 1994 – January 3, 2003
Predecessor Harlan Mathews
Successor Lamar Alexander
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey (1959-1985)
Jeri Kehn (2002- )
Religion Church of Christ

Freddie Dalton Thompson (August 19, 1942, Sheffield, Alabama — November 1, 2015) was an American lawyer, actor and former Republican senator from Tennessee. He was married to attorney Jeri Kehn, a political and media consultant, with whom he had two children. He ran for the Republican Party nomination for the Presidency of the United States in 2007, but dropped out of the race on Jan 22nd 2008 after coming third in the South Carolina Primary.

Aside from politics, Thompson began a career as a character actor, playing supporting roles in critically acclaimed films such as Marie, The Hunt for Red October, Cape Fear, and In the Line of Fire. Upon leaving the Senate, he picked up where he left off, playing New York District Attorney Arthur Branch on Law & Order.

In 2009 Fred Thompson launched The Fred Thompson Show, a nationwide radio program co-hosted by his wife Jeri Kehn.

Early Years

He attended public school in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee and graduated from Memphis State University in 1964. He received a J. D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1967 and was admitted to the Tennessee bar that same year.

Thompson was an assistant U.S. attorney from 1969 to 1972; minority counsel, then to the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities ("Watergate Committee") from 1973 to 1974. He became special counsel to Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander in 1980, special counsel, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 1980-1981, Special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee 1982. He became a member of the Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission 1985-1987.

From 1975 to 1992 Thompson worked as a corporate lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He represented firms such as General Electric, Westinghouse and the Tennessee Savings and Loan League. In 1982, Thompson lobbied the U.S. Congress for passage of the Savings and Loan deregulation legislation. Thompson contributed to the Garn - St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982. In 1991, he worked with the Washington, D.C. firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin, & Kahn, representing overseas business entities as a registered foreign agent.

U.S. Senate

Thompson was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in the November 8, 1994, special election to fill the unexpired term (Ending January 3, 1997) of Albert Gore, Jr. vacant by resignation upon Gore's election as Vice President. Thompson was re-elected in 1996 for a full 6-year term, ending January 3, 2003. He decided not to be a candidate for reelection in 2002, resuming his acting career.

Political Views


Thompson described himself as pro-life. During an interview in 2007 on Fox News' Hannity and Colmes, he said the following:

I've always thought that Roe v. Wade was a wrong decision, that they usurped what had been the law in this country for 200 years, that it was a matter that should go back to the states. When you get back to the states, I think the states should have some leeway. I might vote against one approach, but I think the state ought to have it. And I would not be and never have been for a law that says, on the state level, if I were back in Tennessee voting on criminalize a young woman....

However, when Fred Thompson first ran for the Senate in 1994, he said on the abortion issue,

"Government should stay out of it... The ultimate decision must be made by the women... Government should treat its citizens as adults capable of making moral decisions on their own."

Also in 1994, Thompson told a Tennessee newspaper (the Conservative Spectator): "I’m not willing to support laws that prohibit early term abortions....It comes down to whether life begins at conception. I don’t know in my own mind if that is the case so I don’t feel the law ought to impose that standard on other people." In 1991 and 1992, Thompson was paid for about 20 hours of work on behalf of an abortion rights group.

Campaign Finance Reform

Thompson was one of only ten Senate Republicans to vote for the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation, which has drawn him a lot of criticism from conservatives. However, he has since changed his position, saying that some parts of the bill should be repealed.

Gun Rights

Thompson was opposed to most gun control laws. Speaking of the Virginia Tech massacre, he said:

"Whenever I've seen one of those 'Gun-free Zone' signs, especially outside of a school filled with our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, I've always wondered exactly who these signs are directed at. Obviously, they don't mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people just a few days ago."

Although his record in the Senate on guns is generally mixed. Thompson voted pro-gun 19 times and anti-gun 14 times. Additionally, Thompson voted for the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, which restricts ownership and use of guns or ammunition by individuals convicted of misdemeanor or felony domestic violence.


Thompson believed that U.S. borders should be secured before considering comprehensive immigration reform:

"The government could start by securing our nation's borders. A sovereign nation that can't do that is not a sovereign nation. This is secondarily an immigration issue. It's primarily a national security issue. We were told twenty years ago if we produced a comprehensive solution, we'd solve the illegal immigration problem. Twelve million illegals later, we're being told that same thing again."

Fred Thompson received an average career grade of "C" from the group Americans for Better Immigration. They rated him A+ on border security and an F on visas for foreign workers.


Fred Thompson endorsed an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent state judges from altering the definition of marriage without the direction of their states' legislatures. [1]

2008 Presidential Campaign

Fred Thompson's name had been mentioned as a possible candidate for President since early 2007. In response, a grassroots political movement began on the internet, trying to draft Thompson to run. He formed a presidential exploratory committee on June 1, 2007. On September 5, 2007, Thompson made his candidacy official, announcing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: "I'm running for president of the United States." He dropped out of the race on Jan 22nd, 2008, after coming in third in the South Carolina Primary. He endorsed his former rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona.


"This country has shed more blood for the freedom of other people than all the other nations in the history of the world combined, and I'm tired of people feeling like they've got to apologize for America." (August 2007)

"Report: Russian bombers have penetrated US airspace 16 times in 10 days. I'm just surprised Obama didn't grant the pilots citizenship." (August 12, 2014)

"Hillary: I will 'restore faith in the future of the country we love'. Check her donor list; find out which country she's talking about." (June 3, 2015)

"Hillary asks donors for $1 so she knows 'you have my back—just like I'll have yours.' Apparently Benghazi ambassador didn't send $1 in." (June 17, 2015)

See also


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