ABC News’ Christine Byun reports: Republican presidential candidate former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., injected some of his Hollywood flair into his post- webcast announcement appearance at the Polk County Convention Center Thursday afternoon.
A video showcasing highlights from his personal and professional life flashed the phrase, "The Hunt for Red November," after a three-shot of Democratic candidates Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. and Sen. Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y.
The reference to Thompson’s acting career — he played a part in the 1990 movie "The Hunt for Red October" –- was not lost on the mostly-older crowd who came out to support Thompson in the middle of a weekday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Thompson received hearty applause and some cries of, "Go, Fred, Go!" when he came on stage, holding the hand of his three-year old daughter, Hayden. His wife, Jeri, held their baby son, Samuel. His family sat off stage, and to the side during his speech. Samuel fussed a little and was carried backstage during his father’s speech. Jeri’s parents, who live in Naperville, Ill., came into Des Moines to watch their son-in-law.
Thompson talked about bringing the country together, focusing on a unified country that will fight terrorism.
"If we show weakness and division, we will pay a heavy price for it in the future," Thompson warned.
To watch a portion of his speech, click HERE.
Throughout his speech, Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and lobbyist, portrayed himself as a Washington outsider. He talked about the economic future of the country for "our little kids, our grandchildren." He said politicians have been "quite busy spending the next generation’s money," warning of further economic deficits, and the "ruination of our economy."
"My friends, we need to deliver a message to Washington that we’re better than that and you can start delivering that message by electing a President who will blow the whistle on this … and I’m a guy who will do that," Thompson said to eager applause.
Thompson then worked the crowds, signing autographs, and taking pictures with supporters.
Campaign Manager Bill Lacy, who watched Thompson from off-stage, told ABC News that he feels that the past 24 hours have been off to a "fabulous start."
"Fred is the genuine conservative candidate in the race with small town values and I think he really emphasized that message effectively today," Lacy told ABC News.
Thompson next treks to Western Iowa in his new tour bus for a meet-and-greet in Council Bluffs, Iowa.