Who knows anymore? An Indianapolis TV station says he told them the announcement would come in “either September or October.” He told Politico today, though, that he expects September to be a big fundraising month, which pretty clearly suggests he’s planning to announce in the first few days. The only thing I can think of to explain him holding out October as a possibility is that he still doesn’t have things together organizationally — a theory supported by the fact that his campaign lost another top staffer today. Romney supporter Dean Barnett crows that the wheels are coming off this bus, and fast. Are they? Politico:
[S]ome operatives close to the Thompson campaign continue to express concern about staff turmoil and organizational shortcomings. The rumblings are raising questions more broadly among Republican insiders about whether Thompson has the discipline and zeal to wage a winning campaign — much less craft a message that can distinguish himself from the current crop of GOP contenders…
A Thompson source, requesting anonymity to speak candidly, voiced concern that Team Fred is still not ready for a the pressure cooker of a presidential campaign.
“There is no question that from a political standpoint, the testing-the-waters committee is right where it needs to be,” this person said, “but from a personnel standpoint, it’s a completely different story.”…
Asked if the installation of Bill Lacy, Thompson’s close friend and the strategist from his first Senate race, had brought order to the operation, the Thompson source said, “It hasn’t yet.”
Follow the link to Ambinder’s site up above and you’ll see that the staffer Lacy fired today was hand-picked by Jeri, suggesting that her allegedly tight hold on the campaign is going to loosen up pronto. Barnett agrees with the CW expressed by Politico’s source that a campaign in disarray is not the hallmark of a competent chief executive, but I think the ludicrous hype Fred himself has nurtured by flirting with conservatives for so long is as much to blame, if not more. Here’s what Politico’s been reduced to by way of discerning his intention. It’s the print equivalent of an O’Reilly body language segment:
For the interview, Thompson sported a navy three-button, pin-striped suit without the tie he’d don later for his address to the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference. He was friendly enough in offering a seat — “We got it all warmed up for ya” — but didn’t seem overly enthusiastic when answering the obligatory questions about his state of affairs. He wasn’t overly defensive in tone, but neither did he seem to get terribly animated about much of anything.
One other tidbit from Politico: a campaign source tells them Fred is almost a definite no for the Fox debate on September 5. You’ll recall that Chris Wallace had been told to expect him there. Why on earth would he miss an opportunity that sweet to introduce himself to the public?