On the strength of that visibility and image, Thompson, 64, has vaulted in public-opinion polls to within striking distance of the leading Republican candidates. In the latest Time poll, he's at 10%, matching Mitt Romney. But Thompson is under no illusion that winning the White House would be easy, despite (or perhaps because of) his frequent acknowledgment that "certain doors have opened to me from time to time in my life."
That is not to say Thompson hasn't had to overcome many personal hardships — a marriage while in high school after conceiving a child with his teenage girlfriend, a subsequent divorce, a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 2 1/2 years ago and, perhaps most traumatic, the sudden death of his daughter Betsy in 2002 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. He is now married to a Republican political strategist and has two small children.
Born in Alabama and raised in Tennessee, Thompson, the son of a used-car salesman, had no family ties to big-time politics or Hollywood, but his charisma — and luck — eventually helped him succeed in both.
The single most compelling feature of a Thompson candidacy would be his magnetism.
Thompson is most often compared to Ronald Reagan, and the comparison is apt." (source)
The article has a few passive-aggressive moments (saying he isn't thought of as an intellectual, etc.), but there is no such thing as bad publicity at this stage...