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(Pictured: Fred Thompson at GOP headquarters in South Carolina.)

Poor Grandpa Fred. This whole running for president thing really cuts into a guy’s nap time.

A top South Carolina aide in a rival campaign noted the other day that, for all the fanfare that went into announcing Mr. Thompson’s 11-day bus tour across the state, he’s only holding two public events per day – a laconic pace for a would-be president that, even so, seems to be taking some toll.

And the stakes can’t be higher for him. If Grandpa Fred doesn’t win South Carolina, he’s over. Done. Gone. The polls are trending for St. McCain and Huck, and even party insiders seem to think Grandpa’s on his way out.

Hamp Atkins, the national GOP committeeman for Rock Hill and its U.S. House district, attended both events. He’s officially neutral and gave high marks to both but offered little optimism about Mr. Thompson’s prospects.

"Fred is a son of the South. He speaks the language. He is a common-sense conservative," Mr. Atkins said. "It’s a must-win state. … My gut tells me it’s going to be between McCain and Huckabee. But I’m often wrong."

How do you say "toast" in Southern?