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Daniels Holding Off on 2012 Decision; Paul, Huckabee In?

Following yesterday's dramatic news of Haley Barbour's demurral, there has been a flurry of activity on the 2012 presidential front:

(1) Rep. Ron Paul -- the perennial libertarian, isolationist candidate with a devoted following -- is
preparing to launch an exploratory presidential committee.  Once he makes it official, Paul's candidacy will have all the trappings and advantages of his last effort:  A highly motivated base, the ability to harness large sums of grassroots money and energy, and virtually zero chance of capturing the GOP nomination.  Even so, Democratic pollster PPP warns Paul's opponents not to overlook him, pointing to his surprisingly strong favorables among the party faithful.  It will also be interesting to see how Paul's campaign is affected, if at all, by the presence of another libertarian in the field, Gov. Gary Johnson.

(2) Gov. Mike Huckabee's erstwhile campaign manager is predicting that his old boss will take another stab at a White House run in 2012:

“He’s receiving quite a bit of counsel and encouragement,” [Ed] Rollins said. “He knows he has roughly a June 1 deadline to decide. Personally, it’s my sense that he’ll go for it this time.” “Governor Huckabee is considering a presidential race seriously,” Mr. Rollins added.

Huckabee's decision may well be influenced by his robust polling position, both nationally and in key early states.

(3) After yesterday's cyclone of speculation regarding his entrance into the presidential fray, Gov. Mitch Daniels is telling reporters he won't make any decisions until after the current (fractious) session of the Indiana General Assembly adjourns at the end of the week:

Daniels made light of the possibility he would be a presidential candidate, joking, "I know this is the time for presidential jockeying, and I said if anyone is built for being a jockey, it's me," referring to his short stature.

He later told reporters he would make an announcement either way after the Indiana General Assembly completes this session, scheduled to end Friday.

Daniels, who cannot run for re-election in Indiana due to term limits, is expected to travel to Washington, DC next month, feeding the buzz that he's ramping up toward a run.

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