(CNN) -- Fred Thompson, the all-but-announced Republican presidential candidate, suggested Tuesday that the nation was in denial when it comes to the threat of terrorism.
"I don't think that yet as a nation we have come to terms with the nature and the extent of the threat facing this country," Thompson said while addressing the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri.
Calling terrorism "a global threat" to the United States, Thompson pointed out that he thought the United States was at a crossroads and told the veterans "it's time that we had a frank discussion in this country at the highest levels with both parties as to what it's going to take and the unity we're going to need" to battle terror.
Thompson also faulted those calling for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, saying it would hurt the overall fight against terrorism. Watch Thompson call for a 'frank discussion' about terrorism »
"Some people in this country apparently think that if we can pull out of Iraq, our problems are going to be over. You and I know better than that. We know that Iraq is an important front in this war," Thompson said to the audience of combat veterans.
Citing recent reports out of Iraq's Al Anbar province, Thompson said progress was being made on the ground.
Thompson's remarks about the war on terror echoed themes frequented by President Bush in defending the war in Iraq at a time when the Republican presidential field is trying to win over the Republican Party's conservative base.
Thompson is expected to formally announce that he is running for president sometime around Labor Day.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, also addressed the VFW convention on Tuesday.
"We honor your service and we enter into a sacred trust with you from the moment you put on that uniform," Obama said to the nation's veterans. "That trust is simple. America will be there for you just as you have been there for America," he added.
"As a candidate for the presidency, I know that I am running to become commander-in-chief, to safeguard this nation's security, and to keep that sacred trust. There is no responsibility that I take more seriously," he said after weeks of being attacked for his foreign policy views by Clinton and other contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. E-mail to a friend