Republican Thompson endorsed by ex-girlfriends

WASHINGTON Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:46pm EDT

File photo shows former Republican senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson on Fox News channel's Hannity and Colmes TV show in Washington June 5, 2007. A recent story in London's Sunday Times newspaper said that Thompson's ex-wife and former girlfriends are endorsing the Law and Order star. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

File photo shows former Republican senator from Tennessee Fred Thompson on Fox News channel's Hannity and Colmes TV show in Washington June 5, 2007. A recent story in London's Sunday Times newspaper said that Thompson's ex-wife and former girlfriends are endorsing the Law and Order star.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Things must be going well for prospective presidential candidate Fred Thompson because even his ex-wife and former girlfriends are endorsing him.

One-by-one they've said the Tennessee Republican is their man -- at least for president, according to London's Sunday Times newspaper.

The former senator and Hollywood actor is to hold the first fund-raising event for his potential campaign on Tuesday in Nashville, ahead of stops in early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire this week.

An announcement on a Thompson candidacy is expected some time in July. "He's making up his mind as to when's the best time," said spokesman Mark Corallo.

Thompson, 64, dated for a long time after his 26-year marriage to his first wife, Sarah Knestrick, ended in 1984. In 2002 he married Jeri Kehn, who is 24 years younger than he.

Many of his old girlfriends still adore him and hope he wins.

"I think he has a great chance of capturing the women's vote. He's majestic. He's a soft, safe place to be and that could be Fred's ticket. Women love a soft place to lay and a strong pair of hands to hold us," ex-girlfriend country music singer Lorrie Morgan told the Sunday Times.

Another old flame, Republican fund-raiser Georgette Mosbacher, said he would defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton because of his appeal to "traditional women who will like the Southern gentleman in him," according to The Times.

There's an old country music song with the line, "All my ex's live in Texas, and that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee," but it obviously does not apply to Thompson.

He remains on excellent terms with his first wife and Thompson has said she intends to campaign for him, the Times reported.

SURGE IN POLLS

Thompson, even as an unannounced candidate, is enjoying a surge in public opinion polls without the type of intense media scrutiny that will take place once he jumps into the race.

His standing suggests the Republican Party is still searching for a candidate that can carry Republicans to victory in the November 2008 election.

Thompson supporters see him as a Ronald Reagan-type Republican who will push conservative values among a group of candidates that includes the front-runner, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

A new CNN poll said Thompson trails only Giuliani. Giuliani led with 31 percent, followed by Thompson at 21 percent, McCain at 19 and Romney at 11.

Thompson's rise in the polls could be at the expense of McCain, who was once considered the odds-on favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination but who is currently lagging in the polls and having trouble raising money.

Senior McCain adviser Charlie Black believes Thompson will jump even further in the polls once he announces his campaign but predicts it will not last.

"He's going to get a huge burst of publicity. He'll probably go to first in the polls for a while, but I think it's going to be hard to put a campaign in place to sustain it," he said.

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