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Posted at 4:07 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Republican 2012 contenders line up

By Jennifer Rubin

Today or tomorrow, we hear, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will announce what he is running for, governor or president. Sen. John Thune is edging closer to running for president. And Mitt Romney is keeping his powder dry, content to stay out of the limelight -- and away from criticism of RomneyCare.

Over at Public Policy Polling's blog, Democrat Tom Jensen warns Romney about skipping Iowa:

If Mike Huckabee doesn't run, Romney would start out tied for the lead in the state! If you allocate all of Huckabee's supporters to who they said was their second choice on our poll there earlier this month you would end up with Romney and Sarah Palin tied for the lead at 23% each with Newt Gingrich at 18% and no one else with double digits. This is not a state where Romney would have to be coming from behind. Choosing not to compete there would basically be an admission that you assume you're going to blow it.

There are multiple problems with that analysis. First, Romney wouldn't necessarily, and likely would not, pick up Huckabee voters. Far more likely, these voters would flock to Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour or other candidates who have strong appeal to Evangelical voters and would not be weighted down by ObamaCare.

Jensen also, incorrectly I think, asserts that Palin is running. From all appearances, she isn't revving up for a presidential run.

And finally, not running in Iowa would provoke criticism; losing Iowa would be devastating. Romney will only compete in Iowa if he is certain he can win it. I doubt that he is, and therefore, don't think he'll risk it all in Iowa.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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I hope your right about Palin, only because if she does run it will demonstrate how poorly you have analyzed the entire 2012 contest in the run up. I would never discount a candidate, especially one like Sarah Palin regardless of my personal feelings, until that candidate comes out and says they're not running. Mike Pence did so today and until Palin does so, the default assumption should be she's running. And if so, what then are the dynamics of the 2012 campaign with her in the field.

Posted by: steven2012 | January 27, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Romney is not part of the “Party of No” and that makes him a stronger general election candidate.

And terms like “Obamacare” and “Romneycare” are inappropriate and disingenuous. Laws are written by the legislative branches of government, not the executive.

And the Massachusetts reform was done at the state level. Conservatives support healthcare reform at the state level. The healthcare issue should endear Romney to conservatives but the media likes to create division among conservatives.

Posted by: amyhass35 | January 27, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I received an email earlier this evening and Mike Pence is going to be running for Govenor of Indiana. Haley Barbour is being backed by Indiana and I like what I see with him.

Posted by: RedFeather | January 27, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh goody, Mike Pence.

Obama won't even have to get out of bed if that's the best the GOP can offer.

That would explain why he's practically made his devotion to Israel the centerpiece of his campaign for the past 12 months.

Posted by: Shingo1 | January 27, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee's appeal is much broader then you suggest here. It's based on his rhetorical skills and his engagement in the current political debate on issues that matter to the American people, from Des Moines Iowa to Tucson Arizona. Keeping his powder dry in the complicated political debates that take place now, as you point out, is what's wrong with Romney's strategy. Skipping Iowa merely amounts to tactics.

Posted by: StraightAhead | January 28, 2011 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Despite the political diatribe, most of which is innuendo and false accusations from the uneducated against Romney…

It’s the economy, stupid!

Romney has created more private sector jobs, saved more private sector businesses than any other candidate.

Funny. Half of MA loves what Romney did, the other half hate him, maybe because he left after completing only one term. Maybe he is not a “career” politician, do you always need a “career” politician to get the job done?

Yes, he worked as the MA governor for his entire term for FREE!!! Who else would have done that!?

MA had a huge deficit when he started, and he left MA with a surplus and balanced budget without raising taxes at the end of his term. He can't help it if the government screwed up after he left.

The state super Democrat controlled legislature wanted desperately some kind of Universal Health care program. He worked with them to create one that would work, similar to mandated auto insurance. It is estimated that 98% of the residents are now covered. It was within projected budget, except after Romney left the state government had to make changes to the program and now it is costing them.

He compromised on some things in order to keep the state government working together and moving forward.

He has successfully and profitably managed large businesses, helped turn around large companies that were sinking and helped other companies get started, saving and creating thousands of jobs. What other candidate has done that?

He knows and understands world economics.

He turned around a struggling 2002 Winter Olympics and made it into one of the most profitable Olympics in history. And only took a $1 dollar salary. Who else would have done that!?

He is against federalization and big government.

He lives the example and believes in the importance of family.

He is for a strong military and believes the borders should be better protected.

The list of real positives is far greater than the supposed list of negatives.

Posted by: dcdinnell | January 28, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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