The veteran film and TV actor Fred Thompson has said he intends to seek the Republican party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2008.

“I can’t remember exactly the point that I said, ‘I’m going to do this,'” Thompson told USA Today.

“But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: ‘I’m going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.'”

He also said he intends to use the internet as a key campaigning tool.

“It has allowed me to be in the hunt, so to speak, without spending a dime,” he said.

Thompson, 65, is a former Senator from Tennessee and starred opposite Harrison Ford in The Hunt for Red October.

He has combined entertainment work with law and politics throughout his adult life, and is considered a strong Conservative candidate in a Republican field dominated by liberals.

Even though he has yet to formally throw his hat into the ring, a USA Today/Gallup in April put him in third place for the Republican nomination with 12%.

His Southern drawl and bulky frame makes him an ideal candidate for what Americans imagine the leader of the free world should look like.

The front-runners in the Republican race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator John McCain, are not thought to have the conservative opinions on gay rights and abortion that appeal to the right.

He became a lawyer in 1967 and was co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal from 1973-1974.

Mr Thomson represented Tennessee in the Senate from 1994 to 2003.

As well as his recent work on TV police drama Law and Order, he is a well-know radio host in the US.

His likely candidacy is a particular blow to Senator McCain, who Thompson had backed in 2004.

He has already appeared at fundraising events and is expected to file the required official paperwork in July.

In April he disclosed he has an indolent lymphoma which is not life-threatening.