Back during the Watergate ea, Thompson was a lawyer for the Republican side on the Congressional commmitee investigating the scandal.
ABC has unearthed some choice Nixon sound bites from the secret tapes made in the Oval Office, as the president conferred with his aides on the progress of the investigation:
As the investigation picked up speed, Nixon grew increasingly concerned about whether Thompson could stand up to the Democrats.
In this May 1973 recording, he shared his concern with then-chief of staff Alexander Haig.
"He's talking to Fred Thompson. I said you're not --," Haig begins.
"Oh shit, he's dumb as hell. Fred Thompson," Nixon interjects. "Who is he? He won't say anything."
In another conversation some weeks later, Nixon and his advisers were still describing Thompson as not very smart but at least beginning to play ball.
"Our approach is now, we've got a pretty good rapport with Fred Thompson. He came through fine for us this morning," White House counsel Fred Buzhardt says on a tape from June 6.
"He isn't very smart, is he?" Nixon asks.
"Not extremely so, but --," Buzhardt says, interrupted by the president.
"But he's friendly," Nixon says.
"But he's, he's friendly," Buzhardt echoes.
Dumb as hell but friendly. Like a big ol' puppy dog, I guess.
Then again, look who the Republicans gave us this time around, so Thompson fits right into that party's brain trust.