The departure of Linda Rozett suggests that Bill Lacy, who managed Thompson's campaign for the Senate in 1994, is firmly in charge of his testing-the-waters committee-cum-presidential campaign.

Rozett, a veteran Washington hand, had no campaign experience, but she was originally hired on the recommendation of Jeri Kehn Thompson, the wife of the candidate. Rozett spent years as a senior executive at the Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter Lacy sent to campaign staffers this morning, he writes that while Rozett "is a talented, professional and gracious lady who will be missed," he felt it "critical to have a communications point person with significant campaign experience" in the "limited amount of time we have left."

"I will have to make a lot of tough decisions to make our venture successful, and this was one of them," Lacy writes.

Thompson is likely to announce his presidential bid on September 4 from Nashville.

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