Fred Thompson launches his first television ads Wednesday and the senator-turned-actor-turned-candidate emphasizes his "common sense conservative principles" while speaking in a small town diner.
"I grew up in a little hometown just like this," Thompson says, as he shakes hands with diner patrons.
ABC News' Christine Byun reports that the ads will air in Iowa and nationally on Fox News.
"I've been a conservative my whole life," Thompson says in the ad, as a picture of him shaking hands with Ronald Reagan flashes on-screen. "Started the first Young Republican Club in Lawerenceburg, Tennessee."
The "Southern-fried Reagan" is sharpening his tongue, Byun notes, and targeted rival Mitt Romney while trying to shore up support in the key early voting state of South Carolina.
From a sportsbar in Fort Mill, S.C, Thompson called out Romney for "buying" support in the Palmetto State.
"Governor, you can't buy South Carolina, you can't even rent South Carolina!" Thompson shouted, after accusing Romney of spending "20 million of his own personal fortune" in his bid for the White House.
(Mike Huckabee may want to look into a royalty check from the Thompson campaign – Thompson's declaration sounds echoes his own statement to Iowa Straw Poll voters this past summer. "I can't afford to buy you. I can't even afford to rent you," Huckabee said.)
Team Romney responds to Thompson's jab, via spokesman Kevin Madden: "Support from voters is earned though hard work and new ideas. Unfortunately for Fred Thompson, he has never shown much passion for either."
Thompson gets down with his southern roots Wednesday and appears with John Rich of Big & Rich at the Country Music Awards in Nashville.
Keep an eye on… Lansing Michigan: The Michigan Democrats' executive committee meets tomorrow night in Lansing and per the AP, Democratic National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell said today "the votes are there" to stick with the Jan. 15 primary.
Wednesday Nov. 14 is the drop-dead date for the Michigan Democrats and Republicans to inform the Michigan Secretary of State if they are going with a Jan. 15 primary to pick their delegates or some other method.
Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer told the AP today that Wednesday is the last scheduled meeting before Nov. 14 – "emphasizing the word 'scheduled.' He added that "we can meet by phone under the rules" any time between now and then."
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is playing it cool until things are sorted out in Michigan.
"I'm going to wait until I have a clear understanding of what's going to happen [in Michigan]," Gardner told ABC News Tuesday evening.
Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy in Bettendorf, IA, in a speech his campaign is billing as a "major policy speech."
Rudy Giuliani is in Washington to receive what his campaign is billing as a "major endorsement."
On the campaign trail….
-- 8:00 am ET: Speaks at EdVenture, Columbia, S.C.
-- 11:45 am ET: Meets with voters, Hilton Head, S.C.
-- 6:30 pm ET: Attends a fundraiser, New Canaan, S.C.
-- 9:30 am ET: Receives a "major" endorsement, Washington, D.C.
-- 6:30 pm ET: Visits his campaign state headquarters, West Columbia, S.C.
-- 1:00 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Livonia, Mich.
-- 5:00 pm ET: Has media availability, Grand Rapids, Mich.
-- 6:30 pm ET: Attends a fundraiser, East Grand Rapids, Mich.
-- 8:30 am ET: Meets with voters, Greenville, S.C.
-- Attends a luncheon fundraiser, Nashville, Tenn.
-- 8:00 pm ET: Appears with John Rich, of Big & Rich, at the 41st Country Music Awards, Nashville, Tenn.
-- 11:00 am ET: Tours Iowa Metal Spinners, Cedar Falls, Ia.
-- 12:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Waterloo, Ia.
-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds an education forum, Cedar Falls, Ia.
-- 6:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Vinton, Ia.
As for the Democrats…
-- 3:30 pm ET: Attends a campaign event, Peterborough, N.H.
-- 7:00 pm ET: Attends a rally, Nashua, N.H.
-- 10:00 am ET: Speaks to a conference on building green, Chicago, Ill.
-- 7:45 am ET: Speaks at Politics and Eggs, Bedford, N.H.
-- 10:30 am ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Amherst, N.H.
-- 10:15 am ET: Delivers "major" policy speech, Bettendorf, Ia.
-- 1:45 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Muscatine, Ia.
-- 5:15 pm ET: Holds a town hall meeting, Burlington, Ia.
-- 7:30 pm ET: Meets with voters, Fort Madison, Ia.
-- Spends the evening fundraising in Maryland
-- 10:30 am ET: Holds a press conference, Des Moines, Ia.
-- 12:30 pm ET: Holds a community forum for veterans, Knoxville, Ia.
-- 3:30 pm ET: Holds a community forum for veterans, Burlington, Ia.
-- 7:15 pm ET: Holds a community forum for veterans, Bettendorf, Ia.
At the White House. . .
-- 12:25 pm ET: Tours Mount Vernon with President Sarkozy
-- 12:40 pm ET: Has a photo op with President Sarkozy
-- 12:45 pm ET: Meets with President Sarkozy
-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds a press conference with President Sarkozy
-- 12:25 pm ET: Speaks at a institute renaming in her name, Amarillo, Texas
-- 4:40 pm ET: Speaks at a reception, Odessa, Texas
On Capitol Hill. . .
-- 10:30 am ET: AT&T whistleblower speaks before Senate banking committee on wire-tapping
-- 11:00 am ET: President Sarkozy addresses a joint meeting of Congress
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