Where and when
Fred Thompson is one of the most respected and visible figures speaking out on the important challenges facing America today. Senator Thompson’s uniquely American life has been marked not only by recognizing opportunity when it arose, but by answering the call to public service and leadership. His dedication to law and passion for the founding principles that laid America’s foundation led him to serve for eight years as a Senator from Tennessee and to his recent presidential campaign.
Elected to the United States Senate in 1994, his independent approach to campaigning has become legendary; he refused to play by the establishment’s political rules. Driving a red pickup truck, he took to the highways and back roads of the Volunteer State, talking to Tennessee citizens from the back of what became the symbol of his campaign. Mr. Thompson spoke about the need for a competent and ethical federal government, reminding voters of the importance of self-government and lower taxes. His effort paid off; he defeated a 6-term Congressman by a large margin of victory.
Two years later, the people of Tennessee returned him to office with more votes than any candidate for any office in the state’s history at that time. Serving as Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and as a member of the Finance Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Thompson focused on lowering taxes, strengthening national security, and cutting wasteful government spending. In the tradition of President George Washington, a leader Thompson had admired growing up, he walked away from an easy reelection victory in 2002 to seek new challenges.
Prior to his election, Thompson maintained law offices in Nashville and Washington. Earlier in his career, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Tennessee. In 1973, he was appointed by Senator Howard Baker to serve as Minority Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee where Thompson first gained national attention for leading the line of inquiry that revealed the audio-taping system in the White House Oval Office. He detailed his Watergate experience in his Watergate memoir, At That Point in Time. In 1974, after the Watergate hearings concluded, Thompson returned to the practice of law.
Senator Thompson first appeared on screen in the film “Marie” in 1985, portraying himself in the fact-based story of a high-profile public corruption case he handled in Tennessee. Since then, he has appeared in numerous movies and television programs, including “No Way Out,” “In the Line of Fire,” “Die Hard II,” “Days of Thunder” and “The Hunt for Red October” and the television series “China Beach,” “Wiseguy,” and “Matlock.” Recently, he has become known for his portrayal of New York District Attorney Arthur Branch on the Emmy Award-winning NBC drama, “Law & Order.”
In 2005, Senator Thompson was named by President Bush as an advisor to Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, helping to move his nomination through the Senate confirmation process. Thompson continued his public service as Chairman of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board.
In all this, Thompson has been a man of the times, adapting his unique abilities and leveraging today’s communications technologies to speak to the American people about issues he feels are important to the nation. Whether it’s on the radio, filling in for Paul Harvey on the ABC Network with news and commentaries, on his own “Fred Thompson Reports” commentaries and broadcasts, online blog posts or TV appearances, Senator Thompson has focused on the issues of the day viewed through the “first principles” he’s stressed throughout his career.
Senator Thompson is a native of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He attended Memphis State University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science. He received his law degree from Vanderbilt University.