In his interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Fred Thompson did not look as good as he does as the District Attorney on Law and Order. He looked older, balder, more lined, and had bags under his eyes. His lines lacked the down home snappiness he displays when scripted on Law and Order. The key thing I saw was the difference between Fred Thompson on a TV series and Fred Thompson in reality. The contrast did him no good.

But more than stylistic points, Thompson showed no fire in the belly. His indecisiveness about running reflected an ambivalence which has no place in the GOP field of candidates. Republicans are terrified that Hillary will win and they want a tiger, a gladiator, a warrior, not a half-hearted Hamlet.

If Thompson jumps into the race right away, he can banish this concern. But if he continues to dither, he will turn off his potential voters. Nobody doubts Newt's ferocity, so delay does not hurt him as it does Thompson, but Fred's shambling, amiable quality and his reputation for a lax work ethic in the Senate could come back to haunt him if he dithers much longer.