Tommy Thompson joins ’08 field

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson joined the growing list of Republican candidates in the 2008 presidential race Sunday, staking claim to conservative ground.

“I am the reliable conservative. My record shows that. All the people have to do is look at my record and I am one individual they can count on,” Thompson said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

With regard to slow fundraising figures and his low standing in the polls, Thompson argued that “Things are starting to coalesce and I feel very optimistic about my future.”

The former governor, who also served as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said he believes Americans are looking for change in the 2008 election. He described a “completely different Iraq strategy” that included polling the Iraqi government to see whether it wants U.S. troops in the country.

“Nobody has ever asked that government, duly elected, to vote,” he noted. “And if they vote that they want the United States in their country, it immediately gives a degree of legitimacy.”

Thompson added that he did not believe the Iraqi government would choose that option.