Profile: Fred Thompson

January 3, 2008 5:54:39 PM PST
Political profile of candidate Fred ThompsonFRED THOMPSON, Republican
Former Senator from Tennessee
Age: 65

EXPERIENCE: Actor, 1987-2007; Tennessee Senator, 1994-2003; attorney, Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn, 1991-94; Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission, 1985-87; special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, 1982; special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1980-81; special counsel to Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, 1980; attorney in private practice, 1975-94; minority counsel to the Senate Watergate committee, 1973-74; Assistant U.S. attorney, 1969-72; lawyer, private practice, 1967-69.

EDUCATION: B.S., Memphis State University, 1964; JD, Vanderbilt University, 1967.

FAMILY: Wife Jeri, four children (including two from previous marriage that ended in divorce). A fifth child died in 2002.


  • Does not favor abortion rights.
  • Says Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
  • Says states should decide abortion policy, indicating he would not support a constitutional abortion ban.
  • Previously stated support for right to early-term abortion.

  • Favors incentives for school choice.

  • Does not support same-sex marriage, but stops short of supporting a constitutional amendment that would outlaw it.
  • Favors federal action to protect states that prohibit gay marriage from having to honor same-sex marriage allowed in another state.

  • Has questioned whether global warming caused by manmade activity is real.
  • Cites research suggesting solar system is warming.

  • Hostile to many gun control proposals, including mandatory background checks at gun shows.
  • Supported campaign finance changes that gun groups and other activists saw as an infringement of their speech rights.

  • Prefers "market-driven" expansion of affordable coverage, but no mandate.

  • Opposes conditional path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that President Bush supported.
  • Has previously supported selective expansion of legal immigration.
  • Opposes policy allowing legal immigrants to host extended families in U.S.

  • IRAQ:
  • Supports Bush's course in Iraq and has said he still believes it was right to invade.

  • Only major candidate proposing lower-than-promised benefits for future retirees.
  • Also warns richest people "we're not going to take care of all your Medicare in the future."

  • TAXES:
  • Would generally extend Bush's tax cuts, which could cost $2.3 trillion to keep in place until 2017.
  • Favors letting people choose between current system or one with flat rate of 10 percent on first $50,000 of individual income or $100,000 of joint income, and 25 percent on income above those amounts.
  • Would exempt family of four from tax on first $39,000 of income, and more than double standard deduction.
  • That simplified option would contain no other tax credits or deductions, and would retain 15 percent tax rate on capital gains.
  • Would also end the estate tax and cut the top corporate tax rate to no more than 27 percent from 35 percent.
  • Received 9 percent support in Dec. 31st Des Moines Register Iowa Poll.