Tommy Thompson says he is running for president in 2008

Tommy Thompson says he is running for president in 2008.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson today joined the crowded field of Republicans running for the White House in 2008.

He asserted during an interview on A-B-C's "This Week" show that he's "the reliable conservative" in the race.

Thompson, who was health and human services secretary during President Bush's first term, also says he's the only G-O-P candidate who has helped assemble both a state and federal budget.

But he's lagged behind better-known rivals since announcing last year he was forming a presidential exploratory committee to raise money and gauge support.

The 65-year-old Thompson has focused his strategy on Iowa, which holds the nation's first caucuses for presidential nominees. He's made weekly visits to the state and sought to make the case that it will take a candidate who can carry the Midwest to win the nomination.

He has a campaign kickoff event scheduled Wednesday at Messmer High School in Milwaukee, will then hold a rally later that day outside Des Moines, Iowa, and travel to New Hampshire for a house party and other stops.


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