Senior vice president and general counsel, PepsiCo
Details: He won good reviews as Bush's deputy attorney general from 2001 to 2003. Before that, he was a U.S. attorney for Georgia and a litigator with a big corporate firm in Atlanta. Thompson is an African-American conservative and a critic of racial preferences, like his close friend Justice Clarence Thomas, but he supported a "diversity outreach" program in hiring at the Justice Department. His amiability and race might provide a bit of insulation from liberals' attacks. But attack they would.
This article appears in the July 26, 2008, edition of National Journal Magazine.