In focus

In-depth coverage of the
US presidential election

Thompson, an actor who had mulled a presidential bid since March last year, had held second place in national polls in October, after touting his strong conservative credentials.
However his popularity plummeted after apathetic performances during campaigning and a perception by some voters that he did not want the presidency enough.
Some political pundits had argued that Thompson drew support away from Mike Huckabee - the former Arkansas governor - in South Carolina, which in turn helped John McCain, the Arizona senator, to victory there.
Huckabee told the US MSNBC television channel he felt he could have won South Carolina "if there had been a margin and Fred had not been there."