Exhausted, Thompson Quits Race

09/12/2007 08:40 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Saying that he was "totally exhausted and drained," former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson withdrew from the race for the Republican presidential nomination today.

Mr. Thompson's move surprised supporters and rivals alike, since the Tennessean had announced his candidacy less than one week earlier.

But in his announcement, Mr. Thompson made it clear that the "punishing" schedule of a presidential candidate was not to his liking: "I am putting in seven, sometimes eight-hour days, and that is not what I signed up for."

When asked when he began having second thoughts about his decision to run for president, the former senator replied, "I'd say half-way through my announcement on the Leno show -- I could definitely feel myself fading."

The erstwhile candidate said that his week on the campaign trail made him long for his days as an actor on the NBC series "Law and Order."

"We'd find out that there was a murder and bam, an hour later it was quittin' time," he said.

Davis Logsdon, chairman of the political science department at the University of Minnesota, offered this comment on Mr. Thompson's surprising decision: "This should end the debate over whether Fred Thompson is 'lazy like a fox' or just plain old lazy."

For his part, Mr. Thompson scoffed when a reporter asked if he was departing the race to spend more time with his family.

"Oh, please, that's even more exhausting than running for president," he said. "Right now I just want a nap."

Elsewhere, President Bush hailed General David Petraeus' Iraq report card, saying, "It's better than any report card I got at Yale."

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