Thompson dropping out of presidential race
Campaign releases statement; ex-governor finishes 6th
in Iowa straw poll
MILWAUKEE - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is
dropping out of the race for the Republican
presidential nomination, a campaign official said
His campaign released a statement saying the
Republican is leaving the campaign trail several hours
after WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported that Thompson told
one of its reporters he was withdrawing.
The campaign statement said Thompson intends to take
sometime off before returning to the private sector
and his nonprofit work.
It said the 65-year-old says hes comforted by the
fact that he thinks he made a difference for people
during his campaign.
He finished sixth among eleven candidates in this
weekends GOP straw poll in Iowa. He had said before
the Iowa event that he would drop out of the race
unless he finished first or second.
The statement didnt say whether he would endorse
A veteran of four successful campaigns for governor of
Wisconsin, had a good track record of winning
He quit during his fourth term as governor to serve as
President Bushs secretary of Health and Human
Services from 2001 to the end of 2004.
He was first elected in 1966 at age 24 to the
Wisconsin State Assembly, not long after he graduated
from the University of Wisconsin. Twenty years later,
he won his first term as governor.
As governor, he earned a national reputation for
policies that moved many Wisconsin families from
welfare to work, gave minority families more options
on where they could send children to school by giving
religious and private schools up to $5,000 per student
and expanded health care to include thousands of the
working poor who had not previously qualified for
current government programs. He pushed for changes in
welfare laws before President Clinton and Congress
took up the issue on the national level.
Critics, however, charged the primary aim of
Thompsons welfare reforms was merely to get people
off Wisconsins rolls and not necessarily to lift
families out of poverty
Born in Elroy, Wis., Thompson boasted about his
small-town background. His father ran a gas station
and a country grocery store.
Thompsons time heading the Department of Health and
Human Services was marked by anthrax attacks, a flu
vaccine shortage and passage of the Medicare
prescription law. Thompson was a key player in Bushs
AIDS initiative, a commitment of $15 billion over five
years for treatment and prevention of the disease that
was rapidly spreading overseas. Thompson traveled
frequently to Africa during his Cabinet service.
A fan of Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, Thompson has
long taken an annual motorcycle trip with lawmakers,
motorcycle enthusiasts and campaign supporters.
He touted his background as a Midwest governor and
former HHS secretary as valuable credentials for a