Well, this is unexpected. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson wants to run for president and has formed a exploratory committee.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary in President Bush’s first term, said Wednesday he intends to form a committee to explore a possible run for the White House in 2008.
“I intend to do so after the first of the year,” the Republican said in reference to establishing an exploratory committee.
Thompson made the comments in Iowa, where he met with about 100 members of a group called Iowans for Wellness and Prevention. The state holds the first votes of the presidential nominating process.
Thompson, who will turn 65 on Sunday, spent nearly four decades in politics and government, including 14 years as governor. He resigned as HHS secretary in December 2004 shortly after Bush won a second term. His tenure at HHS was marked by anthrax attacks, a flu vaccine shortage and passage of the Medicare prescription law.
“We touched the third rail of politics and delivered on our promise to modernize Medicare with prescription drug coverage,” Thompson said.
During his stop in Iowa, Thompson argued that his background as a Midwest governor and HHS secretary would appeal to voters.
“The three big issues in 2008 are going to be health, energy independence and the war in Iraq,” he said.
Thompson faces a daunting task in what’s expected to be a crowded field of Republican presidential candidates. Front-runner Sen. John McCain planned to file the paperwork for an exploratory committee on Thursday and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani recently took the first step in his bid.