Thompson served important roles for the U.S. Senate dating back to the Watergate scandal, and recently represented Tennessee for eight years in the Senate. He remains best known, however, for his many years as a film and television actor. Thompson entered the race in September 2007 as one of the top-rated Republican candidates, according to opinion surveys. Still, by January 2008, Thompson dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination after poor showings in several primaries.
During his time as a Tennessee senator from 1994 to 2003, Thompson generally voted with his party on the economy and on domestic and foreign policy issues, with a few exceptions. He parted with the GOP majority in supporting McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. In his last year in the Senate, Thompson voted to authorize the Iraq war, which he continues to support. He generally backs the Bush administration’s war on terror agenda, and his foreign policy team includes Joel Shin, a former Bush policy staff member, and Mark Esper, national security adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
Thompson got his start in politics as an attorney serving on the Senate Select Committee charged with investigating the 1972 Watergate scandal. In the 1980s, Thompson served as a counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and to the Senate Intelligence Committee.