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The Law & Order candidate now 
leads McCain

[PoliticsWatch updated 5:20 p.m. April 12, 2007]

Former Senator Fred Thompson has pulled ahead of John McCain in Republican presidential polls.

OTTAWA  — He's not an official candidate for the Republican nomination, but former senator and television star Fred Thompson is looking more and more like one after events this week.       
 
The latest major presidential race poll released on Wednesday showed that Thompson is in second place behind former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ahead of Arizona Senator John McCain

The LA Times/Bloomberg poll found Giuliani had 29 per cent support among Republicans, Thompson 15 and McCain 12 per cent.  
  
Thompson's sudden surge in the race is yet another indication that Republicans are not comfortable with the conservative credentials of the current crop of candidates. 

Giuliani's views on abortion and gun control have been called out of step with the party's base and McCain is regarded as too much of a maverick and media darling. 

At a breakfast meeting of social conservative leaders hosted by the Christian Science monitor in Washington on Wednesday, Thompson is being viewed as an alternative over McCain and Giuliani.  

"I think people are looking for a candidate who can cast a broader vision for the country," Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said. "It's not Fred Thompson that's creating the excitement; it's the fact that somebody else may get into the race. There's this vacuum…."

Another conservative Christian group, The American Family Association, announced on Thursday that Thompson, whose name has only circulating as a potential candidate for just over a month, is their current leader of an online straw poll. 

Thompson had 17,280 votes, well ahead of second-place finish former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had just 6,857 votes. 

However, strong polling numbers and public support from social conservatives aren't the only indicators that Thompson's bid for the White House is taking shape. 

On Wednesday, Thompson revealed in an exclusive interview with the Fox News Channel that he had been diagnosed with indolent lymphoma, a form of cancer. 

Thompson was diagnosed more than two years ago and the cancer is in remission.  

So why was he telling the world something that he had kept to just his family and friends for the past two years?

"As you know, I'm thinking about running for president," he told Fox. "There are certain things you have to check off, in my mind, in order to do that. Some of them are professional, your business obligations. Some of them are political. 

"Some of them are personal . . . This is a part of that; what I'm doing today is a part of that."

"Anytime you mention the C-word, you know, it causes concern, although a lot of people in politics have successfully dealt with it. And I wanted to make sure it wasn't misconstrued or the wrong story got out about it and what it was like."

If Thompson's own comments were not enough to show he is seriously considering running, one of his advisers made it crystal clear in an interview with the Politico on Wednesday of Thompson's intentions. 

"This means he is very serious about running, since he is an intensely private man," the unnamed aide said about the cancer revelation. 

Thompson, 64, served one-term as a Senator for Tennessee. He is also an actor who has appeared in over 23 motion pictures and is a regular on television's Law & Order. 

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