Fred Thompson went on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last night to officially declare himself a candidate for the presidency. Leno joked about Thompson during his opening monologue.
“Senator Fred Thompson is on the show tonight. He says he has something major to announce — something major to announce. Now in America, that can only be one of three things: he’s either pregnant, gay or running for president. Those are the only things we announce in America,” Leno told the audience. “Actually, have you seen Fred’s wife? I think we can rule out the gay part.”
Once Thompson was on stage, Leno ribbed Thompson a bit about being in the “testing the waters” phase for so long. “You’ve been in the water for a while now. Are you starting to get a little wrinkly?” Leno asked. “These wrinkles don’t come from the water,” Thompson replied, getting laughs from the audience.
“Well, what’s the temperature? Is it tepid? What does the water tell you?” Leno continued. “Nice and warm,” Thompson said. Thompson then followed in the footsteps of another Hollywood actor — Arnold Schwartenegger — who went on The Tonight Show to announce he was jumping into politics.
“We’ve done in a few months what a lot of people have been working on since they were in the choir in high school and so we’re where we need to be right now and that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about,” Thompson said. “I’m running for president of the United States.”
Thompson, who repeatedly slapped his hand on his thigh during the interview, dismissed the idea he’s too tardy in entering the race. “We’ll find out, but I don’t think people are going to say, you know, that guy would make a very good president but he just didn’t get in soon enough,” Thompson said.
Thompson chose to appear on national TV last night rather than go to New Hampshire, where eight other Republican presidential candidates met to debate. “I’m certainly not disrespecting them, but it’s a lot more difficult to get on The Tonight Show than it is to get into a presidential debate,” Thompson said.
Thompson will be in Iowa Thursday for events in Des Moines and Council Bluffs. Thompson will be in Sioux City and Mason City Friday and in Cedar Rapids and Davenport on Saturday.