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Tommy George Thompson (born November 19, 1941), a United States politician, was the 7th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the 42nd Governor of Wisconsin. On April 1, 2007, he announced on This Week that he was a candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. On August 12, after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the key Iowa Straw Poll, Thompson announced the end of his campaign for president.
Additional recommended knowledge
Thompson was born in Elroy, Wisconsin, where his father, Allen Thompson, ran and owned a gas station and country grocery store. His mother, Julia, was a schoolteacher. Thompson is also a former Captain in the United States Army and United States Army Reserve.
Thompson began his career in politics in 1966 as a representative in the Wisconsin State Assembly, after earning his law degree at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He was elected assistant Assembly minority leader in 1973 and Assembly minority leader in 1981.
He is married with three adult children.
Governor of Wisconsin
From 1987 to 2001, Thompson served as the 42nd Governor of Wisconsin, having been elected to an unprecedented four terms.
Thompson's initiatives during his 13 years as governor of Wisconsin were his Wisconsin Works welfare reform and school choice programs. In 1990, Thompson pushed for the creation of the country's first parental school-choice program, allowing low-income Milwaukee families to send children to the private or public school of their choice at taxpayer expense. He also created the BadgerCare program, designed to provide health coverage to those families whose employers don't provide health insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Through the federal waiver program, Thompson helped replicate this program in several states when he became Secretary of Health and Human Services.
From 1998 to 1999, he served as president of the Council of State Governments and, with the organization's chairman, Senator Kenneth McClintock, the nonvoting member from Puerto Rico, led a top-level delegation to the People's Republic of China. Thompson left office when he was appointed by President George W. Bush as HHS Secretary. He was also a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors and had an Acela locomotive named for him.
His brother, Ed Thompson, was the mayor of Tomah, Wisconsin, and was the Libertarian Party candidate in the 2002 Wisconsin gubernatorial election.
Health and Human Services Secretary
Thompson announced his resignation from HHS on December 3, 2004, and served until January 26, 2005, when the Senate confirmed his successor, Michael O. Leavitt.
2008 Presidential campaign
After first announcing the formation of an exploratory committee in late 2006, Thompson announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election on April 1, 2007.
During a May 3, 2007, presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Thompson said in response to a question from moderator Chris Matthews that a private employer opposed to homosexuality should have the right to fire a gay worker.  He said, "I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be." He called CNN the following morning to say he didn't hear the question correctly. He apologized, saying, "It's not my position. There should be no discrimination in the workplace."
Thompson had stated he would drop out of the race if he did not finish either first or second in the Ames straw poll on August 11, 2007. Thompson finished sixth, with just 7% of the vote, despite the fact that some major contenders were not competing in the poll. On August 12, Thompson officially announced he would drop out of the race.
In October of 2007, Thompson endorsed Rudy Giuliani. Thompson told the Associated Press in a statement that "Rudy Giuliani has shown that he is a true leader. He can and will win the nomination and the presidency. He is America's mayor, and during a period of time of great stress for this country he showed tremendous leadership."
Thompson is the President of Logistics Health Incorporated. He also is senior partner at Akin Gump, a Washington, D.C., law firm, and is a senior adviser at the consulting firm Deloitte and the chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Thompson taught a class in the fall of 2005 at the Kennedy School of Government on medical diplomacy.
Shortly after leaving his Bush Cabinet post, Thompson joined and served for two years on the board of directors of Applied Digital Solutions, makers of the controversial VeriChip: a glass-encapsulated RFID chip that can be injected into human flesh for various database-driven identification purposes.
After leaving office, Thompson promoted changes to Medicare that some complained would benefit companies Thompson has a financial stake in (including Centene and the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions).
Additionally, while in office, Thompson was involved in a dispute over whether the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services had to share cost estimates to Congress for legislation that would create a prescription drug benefit. Critics accused HHS of downplaying the true cost of the law by $150 billion. CMS Administrator Tom Scully threatened to fire the actuary if he revealed to Congress his estimate. Investigators determined that the data was improperly hidden from Congress, but did not conclude whether laws had been broken.
Statements about Jews, Israel
In April 2007, Thompson apologized for publicized remarks he made while speaking to an assembled crowd of Jewish social activists in Washington, D.C. On April 18, 2007, appearing before a conference organized by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Thompson made reference to his lucrative transition from public service to the private sector by stating: "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that." After the conclusion of his address, Thompson was reportedly pulled aside privately by the RAC’s Rabbi David Saperstein, and then returned to the podium to issue a clarification, adding: "I just want to clarify something because I didn't (by) any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things. What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that."
Later, Thompson told The Politico that his remarks could be blamed on fatigue and a persistent cold.
Thompson made a variety of other lesser comments, including referring to the Anti Defamation League as the fringe Jewish Defense League, Israel bonds as "Jewish bonds," and repeatedly to his "Jewish friends." He also discussed his connections to conservative Israeli and Jewish leaders to the mostly left-leaning activist group. Thompson also reportedly referred to Winston Churchill as being the first leader of Israel and the region.
Politicizing of science
In 2001, Nobel laureate physiologist Torsten Wiesel was nominated by Gerald Keusch for a position on an advisory panel in the National Institutes of Health to advise on assisting research in developing countries. Thompson, who at the time was Secretary of Health and Human Services, rejected Wiesel. Thompson's office rejected 19 of 26 nominations and in return sent resumés for other scientists that Keusch described in an interview as "lightweights" with "no scientific credibility". When Weisel's name was rejected, an official in Thompson's office told Keusch that Wiesel had "signed too many full-page letters in The New York Times critical of President Bush." This incident was cited by the Union of Concerned Scientists as part of a report detailing their allegations of President George W. Bush's abuse of science.
1998 Race for Governor
1994 Race for Governor
1990 Race for Governor
1986 Race for Governor
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