Newsweek, April 23, 2007

Campaign 2008: The 'Health' Primary
Holly Bailey
247 words

Fred Thompson’s decision to go public with his fight against cancer has fueled further speculation that he's going to run for prez. The former Tennessee senator turned "Law & Order" actor announced that he had been diagnosed in 2004 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a slow-growing form of cancer that has since gone into remission. "I'm one of the lucky ones," Thompson said. "I have had no illness from it, or even any symptoms." Former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, a close Thompson pal, tells NEWSWEEK that Thompson is "psychologically ready to run" for the GOP nom but is waiting to gauge public reaction to his medical condition. "There are no other major hurdles," Frist says.

Should Thompson get into the race, he'll be the third GOP candidate with a history of cancer, in a campaign where age and health are increasingly prominent issues. John McCain underwent surgery for skin cancer in 2000; Rudy Giuliani is a prostate-cancer survivor. According to their campaigns, both men undergo regular medical checkups to make sure their cancer has not returned. McCain, who turns 71 this year, plans to combat criticism that he's too old for the job by letting reporters see his medical records in coming weeks, while an aide says Giuliani plans to do the same thing by the end of the year. Thompson released a statement from his doctor detailing his condition. "It's not a big deal," Thompson said of his fight with cancer. "But other people have a right to look at it and weigh it.”

GRAPHIC: Survivors: Thompson, Giuliani and McCain