A few minutes from his first campaign speech for the Fredheads. In case you’re keeping score, the six-month “pre-season” between the time Fred first started talking publicly about running and his announcement this morning is longer than the actual “season” that’s starting for him now and ending, one way or another, on Super Mega Ultra Tuesday on February 5.

Jim Mills, whose dismissal from the campaign caused such waves yesterday, joked today that “I am currently checking in with my Catholic friends to see if they can recommend any local priests who still perform exorcisms.” Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Fred mentioning his kids here as one of his motivations in running. He told Leno last night, too, that they were backstage waiting to fly with him to Iowa, and ABC reports today that the campaign bus is outfitted for playtime. I’m guessing he’s trying to drive home the point that his relationship with Jeri is about family, not anything lurid, before the trophy-wife nastiness starts up again in earnest.

Update: “Thompson received hearty applause and some cries of, ‘Go, Fred, Go!’ when he came on stage, holding the hand of his three-year old daughter, Hayden. His wife, Jeri, held their baby son, Samuel.”

Update: Geraghty floated the rumor yesterday and now Bloomberg confirms — original Fredhead and chief Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo is out.

Tags: Iowa religion