Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson said Wednesday he intends to form a committee to explore a possible run for the White House in 2008.

"I intend to do so after the first of the year," Thompson said in reference to creating an exploratory committee.

Thompson served as Health and Human Services Secretary during President Bush's first term. The Republican was in Iowa, where he met with about 100 members of a group called Iowans for Wellness and Prevention.

The state holds the first votes of the presidential nominating process.

Issues, such as health care, along with his appeal as a Midwesterner, make him a potentially viable candidate, Thompson said.

As Health and Human Services Secretary, Thompson played a role in drafting legislation that expanded health benefits for seniors. He said that could form the basis for a presidential campaign.