Fred Thompson's rivals concede that his campaign roll-out is -- so far -- impressive. That said, I haven't detected any real anxiety.

** They did not anticipate that Thompson would run an advertisement during tonight's Republican debate on Fox News; they quietly acknowledge that Thompson will get a lot more benefit from appearing tonight on Jay Leno's show than he would if he subjected himself to a debate. New Hampshire is not, at the present time, one of Thompson's targeted states, so his decision to skip the debate isn't really salient to his overall campaign strategy.

** They did not anticipate the hiring of Todd Harris, a campaign veteran with real presidential experience.

** In the past two days, the campaign has sent reporters six e-mails touting favorable press or poll numbers -- a sign that the mood inside the campaign is improving.

** Thompson still seems to have a Fox News problem, Sean Hannity aside.

** All this fluff will be put to the test tomorrow in Iowa. What are size of the crowds Thompson builds? Are they programmed or enthusiastic? Does Thompson's energy hold up during the day?

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