If Karol’s staying up for this, it must be a capital-“e” Event. Likelihood of a surprise announcement: 20%. His aides were whispering about early July, but that could have been a smokescreen to set up a surprise tonight. Besides, why wait? He’s got poll momentum from the LA Times and Rasmussen. And there’s precedent here, with Arnold having announced on Leno and gone on to do fairly well for himself.

There’ll be video here later. Food for thought while we wait: “Right now, the Democrats’ best hope may be for the Republicans to veer right and nominate an erratic aging boy like the seedy Newt Gingrich or a Hollywood caricature of vintage 1910 American small-town life like the phlegmatically pithy Fred Thompson, whose homespun act feels tired and looks tired.”

Update: Nothing earth-shattering, but the Fredheads do get mentioned. Tonight Ragnar takes the Fred Thompson photo off his nightstand and sleeps with it in his arms.

Link: sevenload.com

Update: Karol stares into the abyss.

His jacket seemed too tight on him and, awkwardly, only one button was buttoned. He didn’t look at Jay very often, answering questions while looking off in the distance. The worst part is that he didn’t seem excited. I know campaigns are long and it’s hard to maintain that constant high energy, high enthusiasm personality. But his campaign hasn’t even kicked off yet. I needed to see some joy from him that he’s about to compete for the highest office in the land, in the world, some pride in the fact that he is a serious contestant for an office of that stature.

Between this and some of his speeches of late, he’s starting to get a rep for lackluster appearances. Eh. I thought he was fine with Hannity after the debate.

Update: Politico runs down the five points on which Fred’s Republican rivals are going to try to hit him. Three of them focus on his alleged centrism — his voting record, his support for McCain-Feingold, and his flirtation with a federalist pro-choice position, which ironically is belied by his actual voting record. I eagerly await watching Rudy McRomney trying to tar someone else as too liberal. As for the other points, his history as a lobbyist and his record as a trial lawyer, they’re less than meaningless. Particularly given that his most famous moments as a lawyer are (a) exposing corruption in Watergate, (b) exposing corruption in the Tennessee governor’s office, and (c) fighting corruption on “Law & Order.”