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Former Thompson Aide Snyder Returning to the Fold

[IMGCAP(1)]Burson Snyder, the spokeswoman for House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), is headed to the presidential exploratory effort of former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who also happens to be her old boss.

Snyder is going to join the “Law & Order” star’s media team, assisting ex-Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo, who has served as Thompson’s primary mouthpiece to this point. She will be based out of a Washington, D.C., office, although the campaign will be headquartered in Tennessee.

From 1999 to early 2001, Snyder worked in Thompson’s Senate press office.

“I’m excited,” the Memphis native said. “It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Whitehouse Makes White House Pick. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential bid Wednesday, becoming the second non-home-state Senate colleague to wade into the heated 2008 race.

Both Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) — the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination — are vying for support from their Senate colleagues. Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Joseph Biden (Del.) also are seeking the Democratic nod.

“All of my colleagues seeking the Democratic nomination are committed to a new direction for our country, and it has been an honor to serve with, and learn from, each of them,” Whitehouse said in a statement. Clinton’s “smart, tough, experienced leadership will be critically important as we work to bring our troops home from Iraq, reform our health care system … and solve the energy challenges of the 21st century.”

The freshman Senator, who was appointed U.S. attorney for Rhode Island by former President Bill Clinton, will serve as co-chairman of Sen. Clinton’s Rhode Island campaign.

Last week, Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.) endorsed Clinton as well, giving her the support of half of the Ocean State’s delegation. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) is supporting Dodd, while Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) has not publicly committed to any candidate yet.

Youth Movement. Young Professionals for Mitt — a network of young political professionals in Washington, D.C., supporting the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) — will hold its kickoff fundraiser today on Capitol Hill.

Romney will make an appearance at the event, which is being held at the Sewall-Belmont House on the Senate side of the Capitol. Entry into the 6:30 p.m. leadership reception costs $1,000, and admission to the general reception at 7 p.m. runs from $100 to $500 per person.

Romney will be in town today for a speech to the National Association of Home Builders.

McCain Likes Mike. Michael Leavitt has joined Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign as mid-Atlantic regional political director.

Most recently, Leavitt ran the 2006 Senate campaign of then-Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R). Steele was defeated by then-Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) in the open-seat contest in November.

Leavitt is a former executive director of the Maine Republican Party and did a brief stint at the Republican National Committee before going to run Steele’s campaign.

He also previously has worked as political director to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

— Lauren W. Whittington

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