Thompson served 16 years as the governor of Wisconsin, and, if he is the Republican nominee, would give the party a real shot at winning a state that has gone Democrat in the last few presidential elections.
He also served as the HHS secretary during President George W. Bush's first term in office.
"The times are right for my ideas," Thompson told The Associated Press on Wednesday and said that health care would be one of his top issues as president. He said he wants to shift funding from treatment to prevention.
During his tenure with the Bush administration, Thompson defended
President Bush's strong positions in favor of funding abstinence
education and against using taxpayer dollars to back any new embryonic
stem cell research.
The Bush administration spent $190 million on adult stem cell research and put in place a policy preventing the use of taxpayer funds for any new embryonic stem cell research.
In a July 2004 letter, Thompson also defended the president's position against taxpayer funding for new embryonic stem cell research.
"Before anyone can argue that the stem cell policy should be broadened, we must first exhaust the potential" of currently available embryonic stem cell lines, he wrote.
In addition to abstinence and stem cell research, Thompson frequently touched on high profile pro-life issues while at the HHS department helm:
In March 2002, the National Cancer Institute's web site contained misleading information alleging that researchers found evidence of report bias in studies showing the abortion-breast cancer link. Upon learning of the error, Thompson directed the agency to remove the information. NCI later adopted a position claiming no abortion-breast cancer link exists.
In 2002, Thompson unveiled a new Bush administration policy allowing unborn children to be covered under the federal-state CHIP program that provides health insurance coverage for children in poor families. Pro-life groups hailed the decision as another way to help pregnant mothers and reduce the financial factors that compel some women to have abortions.
"Prenatal care is crucial to the health of both mother and child, and this change will allow [states] to offer prenatal care to thousands of additional pregnant mothers and their unborn children," Secretary Thompson said. "Vital services during pregnancy can be a life-long determinant of health and we should do everything possible to make this care available to everyone."
Thompson launched an investigation in August 2003 to determine whether Advocates for Youth, a sexual education organization, used federal dollars to lobby against abstinence-only education.
Thompson also pulled the plug on a federal agency's plan to support an international conference that is backing abortion.
In August 2004, Thompson told the Alabama Health Department that it was not required to distribute the morning-after pill that sometimes causes abortions.
As Wisconsin's governor, Thompson signed an unborn victims bill into law that made it a separate crime to injure or kill an unborn child during a crime against the mother, protecting the unborn child throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.
November 16, 2006
TOMMY THOMPSON: THE "CHIPPER" PRESIDENT?
Election Bid Raises Specter of RFID Implant Threat
Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is considering a run for president in 2008, a move that should spark alarm among those familiar with Thompson's calls for widespread RFID chipping of Americans. The authors of "Spychips," Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, who closely monitor the RFID industry, caution that his position on the Board of the VeriChip Corporation and his stock options in the company make Thompson one of the most dangerous figures in American politics today.
As head of Health of Health and Human Services, Thompson oversaw the scandal-ridden FDA when it approved the VeriChip as a medical device. Shortly after leaving his cabinet post, he joined the board of the VeriChip Corporation and wasted no time in using his clout to promote the company's glass encapsulated RFID tags. These tags are injected into human flesh to uniquely number and identify people.
In public appearances, Thompson has suggested implanting the microchips into Americans to link to their electronic medical records. "It's very beneficial and it's going to be extremely helpful and it's a giant step forward to getting what we call an electronic medical record for all Americans," he told CBS MarketWatch in July 2005. He also suggested implanting military personnel with the chips to replace dog tags.
Thompson's desire to run for president is not mere speculation. Media outlets in his home state of Wisconsin, where he served four terms as governor, have confirmed Thompson is laying the foundation for a presidential bid. His wife Sue Ann has told reporters that the family
has discussed his candidacy and that "He should give it a try. He's got a lot of good ideas." Thompson himself has stated, "There's no question I'm interested.”"
Thompson is considered a long-shot for the Republican nomination, but his influence shouldn't be discounted, says McIntyre. "Despite his
folksy manner, he's a savvy politician whose Washington connections run deep, and he's got a vested interest in chipping America." She points out that Thompson has an option on more than 150,000 shares of VeriChip stock.
Right now those options aren't worth much. Security flaws and public squeamishness have hurt the company's sales, resulting in losses of millions of dollars.
"It will take a considerable shift in public perception to chip enough Americans to turn all that red ink to black," Albrecht observes. "It
concerns us that Thompson would have a financial interest in having people roll up their sleeves while aiming for such an influential
Ironically, Thompson himself has not yet received a microchip implant despite what must be extraordinary pressure from the VeriChip
Corporation. He made a promise to do so on national television over a year ago.
"Given the unpopularity of the VeriChip and people's concern it could be abused, Thompson has been wise to avoid getting chipped himself," says Albrecht. "Getting chipped would would be political suicide for any politician. Even if he remains chip-free as we hope, the American people should still be wary of him."
ABOUT THE BOOK
"Spychips" is the winner of the 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty and has received wide critical
acclaim. Authored by recent Harvard graduate Dr. Katherine Albrecht and former bank examiner Liz McIntyre, the book is meticulously researched, drawing on patent documents, corporate source materials, conference proceedings, and firsthand interviews to paint a convincing -- and frightening -- picture of the threat posed by RFID.
Despite its hundreds of footnotes and academic-level accuracy, the book remains lively and readable according to critics, who have called it a "techno-thriller" and "a masterpiece of technocriticism."
"Spychips" is now available in a newly-released paperback version from Penguin/Plume (October 2006).
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Opposing supermarket loyalty cards and other retail surveillance
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