Where’s Fred Thompson?

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TIME Assistant Managing Editor/Swampland Intern Michael Duffy (Have we mentioned he’s a best-selling author?*) wants to know:

I’m just an intern here, but here’s what I’m curious about this morning: Has Fred Thompson picked a date to get into the race yet? I gather he has agreed to a debate in New Hampshire in September and perhaps a forum in Michigan later that month. So he’s getting in. But an announcement date? Thompson backed off what was widely leaked to be an announcement in July and, through last week, the word was that the actor-turned-senator-turned-actor has had some trouble getting to closure on his big September moment. The betting is the Wednesday or the Friday after Labor Day, but when the Thompson operation is involved, delay is always a possibility. There is also talk, i know, of doing a video announcement the way Hillary Clinton did, sometime that week.

Is this the Thompson’s campaign’s somewhat unconventional decision making process at work? And is it the shape of things to come? It reminds me a little of the printed schedules Jesse Jackson’s aides used to hand out on his breakout 1984 campaign (Yes, I know, it was almost 25 years ago….I was an intern then, too). Instead of a clear guide to the days events, the schedules would sometimes simply state: “STAY ALERT…THINGS COULD CHANGE.”

*“The Preacher and the Presidents” hits the NYT Bestseller List this Sunday at #22.