Positioning in the run-up to January’s presidential primaries is a tricky business in the very fluid republican field.

You don’t want to become old news by peaking too early, and you always want to exceed expectations on election night. But this week former actor and one-term senator Fred Thompson found himself in a position that not even the most skilled politician could put a positive spin on – with half the support of the long-shot Libertarian candidate Ron Paul in New Hampshire and losing ground in every other early state.

To make matters worse, Congressional Quarterly reported that several of Thompson’s congressional backers are reconsidering their endorsements. The Washington Post ran an obituary of his campaign. Yesterday, the former “Law & Order” star’s campaign acknowledged it was atrophying support, saying Thompson must come in at least third in the Iowa Caucuses to remain viable. That much is clear. The real question is can the laid-back actor inspire anyone with the screen writers on strike.

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