Fred Thompson Hints He'll Declare Candidacy Around Labor Day

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fred Thompson will declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Labor Day. Or the day before. Or the day after. Or sometime that week. Or sometime in early September. Or ... fill in the blank.

Word from the former Tennessee senator's unofficial White House campaign is that no final date has been set.

Asked Wednesday by a Nashville radio commentator whether Sept. 5 is likely to be the day, Thompson said: "I can't give you a particular date, but sounds like you're in the neighborhood."

"I'm taking the time that I've got allotted to me to get my team together, to get my act together," Thompson said on WLAC-AM's "The Steve Gill Show."

He travels to Iowa on Friday for his first visit to the leadoff caucus state.

Washington has been buzzing about the timing of a formal announcement for weeks, with traditional media outlets and online entities breathlessly reporting the supposed date.

First it was supposed to be July 4. Then, sometime that holiday week. Then by the end of that month.

Then, Thompson decided to wait until the fall to become a full-fledged candidate. That allowed him to skip several debates, and, instead, spend the time working on strategy and policy. The current run of "Law & Order" shows also will be over by then, meaning Thompson doesn't run into legal issues over how much TV air time he gets as a candidate.

In recent days, various reports have definitively said Thompson's announcement is scheduled for Labor Day, Sept. 3. Others say Sept. 5 - the same day as a GOP debate in New Hampshire. But Thompson officials say anyone reporting a precise date is jumping the gun.