Thompson Ends TV Role, May Vie for White House

Republican Fred Thompson asked to end his television role as a gruff district attorney on the NBC crime drama Law & Order , sending one of the strongest signals yet that he might join the 2008 presidential race. Thompson, from Tennessee, would bring a right-leaning Senate voting record.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Here's one of the strongest hints yet that Fred Thompson might run for president. He asked to be released from playing his role as an elected prosecutor on television's "Law and Order."

Mr. FRED THOMPSON (Actor; Former Senator): You can curse the politicians all you want, but the fact is that the country has managed to choose up sides all by itself.

INSKEEP: Thompson's departure from the show maybe a chance for the long-running show to cut cost, which it's under pressure to do. But set that aside for a moment, it also frees up the schedule for Fred Thompson, who's been a star of movies and television and the U.S. Senate.

Dick Wolf, his boss at "Law and Order," quotes Thompson saying he has not made a firm decision to run for the White House. But the Republican is expected to take some initial steps in the coming days.

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