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WashingtonPost.com - Tommy Thompson Enters the Race

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WashingtonPost.com - Tommy Thompson Enters the Race

By Eric Pianin

Tommy Thompson made it official today, launching his long-shot candidacy with events in his home state of Wisconsin and neighboring Iowa.

Thompson billed himself as a "reliable conservative, one who puts principles into practice." The former four-term governor of Wisconsin and ex-secretary of Health and Human Services in President Bush's administration pledged to apply his experience to help "get America and our party back on track."

Before an audience of about 250 people in Clive, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines, Thompson said the Republican Party must regroup in the face of electoral defeats. "Republicans went to Washington and we lost our way," he said. "We tried to spend like Democrats and voters saw through us."

Thompson offered a plan for Iraq that includes a vote by the Iraqi government on whether the United States should remain there. He also said he favored giving warring parties "their own piece of Iraq and the incentive to live peacefully within a larger nation."

Thompson was one of the most innovative Republican governors in the nation during the 1990s, particularly in the areas of welfare and education. He called for major reforms in the nation?s health care system, including a requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

Thompson has staked his hopes on winning next year's Iowa caucuses and on finishing ahead of his better-known and better-funded rivals in the GOP straw poll, which will be held next August.


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