Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, perhaps better known as as District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's "Law and Order," met privately with some fifty-three House Republicans on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, but would not give away any hints that he has made up his mind about entering the race for the White House.
Those who met with Thompson came away buoyed that he is seriously considering a presidential run.
One week ago Thompson revealed that he was diagnosed and treated for an uncommon form of lymphoma.
Leaving the meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, Thompson interrupted Texas republican Rep. Louis Gohmert, who was in the midst of heaping accolades on Thompson, and took to the microphones.
Thompson said, "I don't really have anything to say other than the fact that I wanted to come over and see some of my old friends and make some new friends and tell them what was on my mind and listen and see what was on their minds."
The 64-year-old lawyer-turned-actor-turned-politician-turned-actor again added, "We had a good talk, enjoyed it and we will be seeing some more of each other I am sure."
A Who's Who of conservatives
Thompson discussed his potential White House bid in a conference room at the club, those attending said it was a "standing-room-only" crowd. The attendees, a Who's Who of House conservatives, included: Reps. Dan Burton, Steve Buyer, Shelley Moore Capito, Don Manzullo, and Tennessee Rep. Zack Wamp, who organized the event.
Wamp said of Thompson, "he was called presidential" and was told that he was "electable." Five of the seven elected members of the Republican Leadership in the House attended.
North Carolina Rep Sue Myrick said that "people are hungry for leadership today," and that Thompson represents the kind of leadership that can "galvanize" the country and "bring people together."
Indiana congressman Steve Buyer said that the word "presidential" was used frequently in the meeting. Buyer noting that the American people has seen Thompson "act in that role"
The members who attended the meeting said they were excited that Thompson was considering a run and urged him to "step forward."
A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll released last week indicated Thompson, who has yet to announce his candidacy, has risen to #2, ahead of Arizona Senator John McCain.
Among republicans polled, 29 percent prefer former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Thompson is 15 percent, while McCain, who once led the pack, slipped to 12 percent of voters.
Thompson last week spoke about his cancer with Fox News and said, "The fortunate thing about it is that I have had no sickness, no symptoms. I wouldn't know I had it if the doctor hadn't told me."
Congressman Wamp said, "the lymphoma disclosure to me said that he is preparing to run for president."
Thompson heads to the O.C.
On May 4th Thompson heads to Ronald Reagan country outside Los Angeles where he is slated to address the influential Orange County Lincoln Club. The club is one of the biggest GOP organizations in the nation and says it is, "The largest and most active political club in the United States."
The organization states on its online web page, "Members of The Lincoln Club are committed to freeing business from strangulation by taxation and regulation, not just for philosophical reasons but because of our experience in building businesses. We know that a free marketplace unfettered by onerous taxes and red tape is the greatest engine of opportunity the world has ever known. We want all Americans to enjoy the success our members do."
Mark Corallo, who is Thompson's unpaid spokesman, said only that Thompson is, "moving forward on his considering entering the presidential race."
"I think Fred Thompson has every intention of taking the decision seriously and giving it some weight as he looks at the perilous times that America now faces."
A spokeswoman for NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" said the the show is actively trying to book Thompson. But, "nothing is firm yet."