[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Thompson set to enter 2008 race
Fred Thompson
Fred Thompson has delayed his official campaign launch for months
Republican Fred Thompson has confirmed that he will enter the 2008 presidential race on 6 September.

He plans to launch his candidacy on his website before going on a five-day tour to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and his home state, Tennessee.

The former senator and TV actor, 65, first hinted he might run several months ago, and his formal entry has been widely anticipated.

He has been consistently ranked among the top Republican contenders in polls.

Some commentators question whether he has missed a window of opportunity by waiting too long to enter the race.

Conservative hopes

News of Mr Thompson's formal announcement brings to an end many months of suspense for his supporters - and for his rivals.

Sam Brownback
Rudolph Giuliani
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Ron Paul
Tom Tancredo
Mr Thompson's backers have been urged to hold house parties to watch his webcast on 6 September, in which he is expected to outline his major policies.

While "testing the waters", he has been seen at many of the same events as his declared campaign rivals and maintained a visible presence on the internet with blogs and videos.

Many Republicans remain unexcited by the candidacies of frontrunners Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain and have welcomed Mr Thompson's plain-spoken conservative image.

National polls and surveys in key early primary states - such as those targeted by his five-day tour next week - have placed him in the top tier of candidates.

Funding challenge

Mr Thompson's preparations have been hit over the summer, however, with a series of changes among his campaign staff and questions raised over his background as a lobbyist.

Fred Thompson meets voters at Iowa State Fair
Mr Thompson has been seen at popular campaign events
His long delay in formally announcing also prompted some complaints that he was bending Federal Election Commission rules.

In addition, Mr Thompson has raised significantly less money than some of his rivals.

That could make it harder for him to set up a multi-state campaign organisation.

He missed his goal of collecting $5 million (3.5m) in his first month of fundraising by some way, banking only $3.4 million in June.

He has good name recognition from his acting career but some question whether he has sufficient political experience, especially on foreign policy issues.

Select from the list below to view state level results.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific