For eighteen years Fred Thompson was a lobbyist in Washington, a part of his biography his jump-start presidential campaign is not likely to highlight.
So despite Thompson’s "folksy" appeal, perhaps it’s not surprising that his campaign team is a who’s who of Washington insiders and corporate execs. Until recently his campaign manager-to-be, Tom Collamore, was a top tobacco industry exec at Altria (formerly Philip Morris). His division, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, has "been responsible for implementing countermeasures to combat public health efforts to control tobacco…and PM programs to enact tort reform, head off increased cigarette taxes and thwart legislated smoking restrictions."
Another rumored top Thompson staffer is Tim Griffin, the RNC operative who Karl Rove recently installed as US Attorney for Eastern Arkansas as part of Attorneygate.
His spokesman is Mark Corallo, the former press flack for Karl Rove during the Scooter Libby trial.
The man who organized a Thompson conference call this week, Ken Rietz, is a top exec at the PR firm Burson-Marsteller (which is ironically run by Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist, Mark Penn). Rietz, as Rick Perlstein notes, once spied on Ed Muskie’s presidential campaign on behalf of Richard Nixon in 1972 as part of "Operation Sedan Chair."
And though it’s unrelated to his corporate past and present, it’s worth mentioning (since we’re talking about the GOP primary) that Thompson’s second wife and key political counselor, Jeri, is 25 years his junior and younger than the kids from his first marriage.