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Thune steps into the spotlight

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) urged Republican candidates to get "in the arena" last night -- but deflected questions about whether he might be eyeing a presidential run in 2012.

"That was not a personal reference," Thune chuckled to reporters after giving the keynote address at the RNC's meeting of state chairs at the National Harbor in Maryland on Tuesday night.

Thune delivered a largely upbeat, 20-minute speech that in many ways echoed the optimistic tone of former President Ronald Reagan, to whom he referred liberally throughout his remarks -- an echo of the 2008 presidential race in which Republicans fell all over themselves to honor Reagan while barely mentioning the unpopular George W. Bush.

Not everyone was impressed, however. Conservative blogger Erick Erickson tweeted: "The motto for John Thune for President 2012 is already 'Dead on Arrival'".

In an email exchange with the Fix today, Erickson clarified that his comment wasn't about the specific contents of the speech itself but rather the speech writ large. "Republicans don't need another senator to run for President -- they're doing quite well screwing things up where they are," wrote Erickson.

The speech was billed by allies of the South Dakota Senator as a sort of debut performance as he begins to consider a run for president in 2012.

While Thune never directly addressed a 2012 bid in the address, he did work to blunt one of the most potentially damaging attacks against him -- his 2008 vote in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

"We ought to end programs like TARP, which have outlived their usefulness," he said. "And we ought to make sure that the monies that are paid back into that program go to pay down the federal debt."

It's not yet clear whether that answer will be enough to satisfy base voters who see the program as typifying the sort of government creep that they detest or whether Thune will have to offer a more detailed explanation for why he cast the vote and why he believes it was wrong.

Utah Sen. Bob Bennett's (R) defeat at last weekend's state party convention was directly linked to his TARP vote and the vote has been a major point of contention in other Republican primaries from Texas to Arkansas in recent months.

Thune's RNC speech comes days before he heads to Charlotte, North Carolina to address the annual National Rifle Association convention. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint are among the other potential 2012 candidates who will be addressing the gathering.

The challenge for Thune in the coming weeks and months is to turn buzz about his candidacy -- of which there is a significant amount -- into tangible results that forward his 2012 ambitions as he nears a go/no go decision.

Buzz is all well and good but it will only take a candidate so far. (See Wes Clark circa 2004 and Fred Thompson circa 2008). Thune -- and his people -- recognize that and know that they must use these preliminary speeches to build momentum.

With Felicia Sonmez

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 12, 2010; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Uncertainty of Incumbents: What do you say to voters?
Next: Immigration as an emerging electoral issue?

Comments

37: Rick Perry would be a terrible choice. Trust me, as a Texan. It was only after TARP that he decided to be a conservative. If you want to nominate someone who will really piss off the libs, and probably do a good job, Jeb.
=============================================

As a Texan for the past 35 years I wouldn't write off Perry ( although he would not be my choice ) for this reason.

The Texas economy is larger than that of Russia, India, or Mexico.

Texas created more jobs than the other 49 states combined in 2009.

Texas is the only state that is working its way out of the recession by cutting taxes and that is why Texas leads the nation with a thriving business community.

While other states are broke, Texas will have nearly 9 billion in reserve by 2011.

Posted by: bartling | May 13, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Thune like Cantor will never amount to anything in any party. They both have no personality and are too stuck on themselves.
Thune may be thinking about running for president but he hasn't got a chance. I refer to him as mummy. He looks like one.

Posted by: carolynlebeaufyahoocom | May 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

its really not hard to agree with the premise that the air force is the wimpiest branch, including the coast guard.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 13, 2010 11:25 AM
------------------------------
Bwahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

And nothing proves the rivalry more than bsimon's answer.

Good one, LOL.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | May 13, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"This may boggle your mind, but CC is very astutely writing about someone who is on the minds of conservatives who are looking for our next nominee."


What is reassuring about this is that as a moderate swing voter who voted for President Obama and still supports him, the Repubs are on the path to getting creamed in 2012, if the likes of Thune are the best they've got.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 13, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"I had no idea that "soldier" was an insult to Marines, Mike, could you explain? Is it an interservice rivalry thing?"

Pretty much. Soldiers serve in the army. Sailors serve in the navy. Airmen serve in the Air force. Marines serve in the Marine Corps. Of course they all think they're better than the other branches, though its really not hard to agree with the premise that the air force is the wimpiest branch, including the coast guard.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 13, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I had no idea that "soldier" was an insult to Marines, Mike, could you explain? Is it an interservice rivalry thing?

And if you've any idea why so many gay Marines like to go bottom I'd be interested in knowing that too. It's counterintuitive.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 13, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments Thune made about TARP only goes so far, as most conservatives, including myself, feel that once Washington starts spending on a project they usually find reasons to continue the spending on those projects, even if they are failures. The TARP vote is something that can't be justified by Thune. I think the X factor in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary is Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He's real and offers strong conservative principles that he stands on as Governor of Texas and has actually created jobs as Governor. That theory was put to the test as he was challenged in a Texas Governor's primary by US Senator Kay Hutchinson and Tea Party activist Medina. He beat them out with over 50% of the vote in March. Now it's on to the GE against ex Houston Mayor Bill White. If Perry beats out White, then he must decide by around March if he's going to run or not. If he runs, it's a top heavy race: Romney vs. Perry and then there's the 2nd tier: Pawlenty, Thune, ect. There's nothing, in my view, Thune can do to begin in the top tier. Thune's speeches now will not justify TARP to conservative activists.

Posted by: reason5 | May 13, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Noacoler, not surprisingly, prefers personal insult to reasoned debate and argument.

BTW, Marines are not referred to as "Soldiers". It's an insult. I wouldn't expect you to know that, but now you do.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | May 13, 2010 5:15 AM | Report abuse

Here's a new strategy for our incumbents: govern in an open and honest fashion, knock off the "two wrongs make a right" idiocy and put the interests of the Republic before your own!

That's the only strategy that might save you from the Peoples' wrath. Otherwise, start packing you venal trash!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | May 13, 2010 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Nothing astute in writing about Thune, Mike. CC writes about Republicans like teenage girls idolize pop stars, or like sports fans run around in two-tone caps and shirts.

Before Thune it was MN Governor Pawlenty, until the pretense that he was going places became unsustainable.

"Buzz."

Posted by: Noacoler | May 13, 2010 3:03 AM | Report abuse

The soldier who despises his Commander on Chief and hopes to see his nation led by people who'll seek to destroy it, just for the fun of pissing off "libs." do you go real slow on one-lame roads to
piss off the drivers behind you too, Mike? You sound like the type.

I'm glad you were quick to identify yourself as a "social conservative" right away, otherwise I might be perplexed at the contradiction of a man who serves his country yet wants to tear it down. But now it makes sense.

We won't see another Bush elected to so much as a toilet attendant in either of our lifetimes, thank god.

If a wind-up Republican like Thune is your idea of a leader...

Posted by: Noacoler | May 13, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

37: Rick Perry would be a terrible choice. Trust me, as a Texan. It was only after TARP that he decided to be a conservative. If you want to nominate someone who will really piss off the libs, and probably do a good job, Jeb.

Thune haters: This may boggle your mind, but CC is very astutely writing about someone who is on the minds of conservatives who are looking for our next nominee.

I don't think CC is a conservative, by any stretch of the imagination. Which makes his article more impressive; that he at least can recognize who we are taking a look at, and what we're thinking about.

CC, although you are being personally attacked, know that those of us who really are taking a look at this guy are thankful for your article.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | May 13, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

vwcat


yes, you have a point there


In fact, the whole Republican field right now lacks that fire.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Chris, what is it with thune with you?
You seem to want to make him some kind of golden boy when in fact he is just a dull and lock step standard issue repub.
He looks a bit like Frankenstien really.
You simply cannot make this dullard shine

Posted by: vwcat | May 12, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Chris, what is it with thune with you?
You seem to want to make him some kind of golden boy when in fact he is just a dull and lock step standard issue repub.
He looks a bit like Frankenstien really.
You simply cannot make this dullard shine

Posted by: vwcat | May 12, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse


Los Angeles on Wednesday became the largest city yet to boycott Arizona over its tough new law targeting illegal immigration in a move that likely will affect some $8 million in contracts with the state.

The City Council voted 13-1 to bar Los Angeles from conducting business with Arizona unless the law is repealed. The vote followed an emotional council discussion during which many members noted that their ancestors were U.S. immigrants.


___________________________________

Article 4, Section 2 of the United States Constitution


The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.


_______________________________-

Is it not curious that those who are seeking to advocate their interpretation of one section of the Constitution, end up VIOLATING ANOTHER SECTION OF THE CONSTITUTION ???

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Suzy

Chris is doing it on "purpose", just to annoy you, Personally".


You do realize that, don't you".?

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Jupiter has lost one of its stripes - that is interesting.

I knew there were aliens on the other side of the sun.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Which one would you rather be?.

==

the one that doesn't lie the country into wars we don't need to fight

Posted by: Noacoler | May 12, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Just your run of the mill blow dried right winger.

Posted by: bdunn1 | May 12, 2010 9:18 PM


Blow dried right winger. Airhead liberal.
Different ways to use the same resource.

Which one would you rather be?.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | May 12, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Noacoler could explain it better than me

==

I wrote my way through college .. from ghosting term papers to lecture notes, and in the latter gig we had all these rules pasted on the wall.

I was in college, doing hourlies, not a writer for a major paper. I disagree that Cheeleetsa does a good job here. It's just a digest and GOP puff blog and I almost never read his entries anymore, the writing is awful and the trivialization like the polls and the happy buzz talk has gotten real stale.

He quotes (cherry-picked polls) but adds almost nothing. WaPo should have kept Froomkin and given Cheeleetsa the push.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 12, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Just your run of the mill blow dried right winger.

Posted by: bdunn1 | May 12, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

suzy

Where do the "quotation marks" go???

Please tell us" all.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 8:58 PM


37, I'm not trying to be picky, but like I said, he writes for the Washington Post. Everyone makes mistakes, but Mr Cillizza seems to be very consistent at it. He does a great job with the blog but the editing should be better. I don't see other Post writers repeatedly making these mistakes. Anyway, here is an explanantion.

http://grammartips.homestead.com/inside.html

I'm sure Noacoler could explain it better than me.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | May 12, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear mark_in_austin:


Thanks for the recommendation

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Gotta hand it to you, Brigade .. I didn't think it was possible to act less mature than zouk with his moniker mangling. But in altering the posts that you respond to, you've managed to do it.

Wow were you a flash in the pan.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 12, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

For voters who find Pawlenty too exciting and Romney too distinctive, we have John Thune.

Really, Chris, you need to get a grip. This guy is dull as they get.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 12, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Hon. Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
May 12, 2010

Dear Gov. Perry:

I recommend to you the correspondent called "37thand0street". His enthusiasm for you is seeming boundless. If you can create a paying position for him
in your campaign you will not regret it.

You

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 12, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't bet on that. Did everyone see the new PEW poll on the Arizona Immigration Bill? Overwhelming nationwide support. Even the democrats show a lot of support for the bill.

==

Democrats aren't going to vote for Republicans, Suzy.

And now Latinos aren't either. Latino support for the GOP is down to the level of statistical noise.

And Latinos are critical swing voters throughout the Southwest.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 12, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, we don't know who the GOP will nominate, but we do know it'll be a helluva improvement on Obama.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 12, 2010 8:11 PM

Absolutely.

Posted by: Brigade | May 12, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

suzy


Where do the "quotation marks" go???


Please tell us" all.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Felicia Sonmez, I see you helped Mr Cillizza write the article. My question is, who edits the writing? Mr Cillizza seems to have a real problem with periods and quote marks - does the period go before or after the quote mark at the end of a sentence? See paragraph four. It doesn't look right to me.

I guess you outsource your editing to those same overseas companies that handle all the Help Desks for Computer/Software vendors. What else would explain it?

This is the Washington Post. Yes, the WASHINGTON POST! Get your act together.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | May 12, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Thune said, "We ought to end programs like TARP, which have outlived their usefulness..."


Translation: I was for it before I was against it.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | May 12, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse


Its going to be Perry


Finally a successionist in charge of the Union !!!!


How fitting. Imagine the Stars and Bars flying over the White House.


Woooo HOOOOOOOO


YYYYEEEEEEEEe HHHaaaaaa that will get them democrats upset.


If the democrats enjoyed the thought of a black president, then this is going to be fitting.

Imagine how the democrats would feel - with the country swinging ALL the way to the right - and undoing DECADES OF LIBERAL INSANITY -


- Outlawing all quotas and affirmative action.

- Outlawing all political correctness.

- Making it illegal to be anything other than colorblind in the application of any government program.


.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, we don't know who the GOP will nominate, but we know where they will do it and it ain't Phoenix.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 12, 2010 8:11 PM


I wouldn't bet on that. Did everyone see the new PEW poll on the Arizona Immigration Bill? Overwhelming nationwide support. Even the democrats show a lot of support for the bill.

So much for the libs insistence that Hispanics will destroy republican candidates over it. Ha!

Check out the numbers:

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1591/public-support-arizona-immigration-law-poll

Posted by: SuzyCcup | May 12, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse


Its going to be Perry


Finally a successionist in charge of the Union !!!!


How fitting. Imagine the Stars and Bars flying over the White House.


Woooo HOOOOOOOO


YYYYEEEEEEEEe HHHaaaaaa that will get them democrats upset.


.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, we don't know who the GOP will nominate, but we know where they will do it and it ain't Phoenix.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 12, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

As Drowsy Tim Pawlenty fizzles into obscurity, Chris transfers his panting schoolgirl crush to John Thune. Guess we know your type, Chris, you like'em skinny, entering middle age, dishonest and of course Republican.

As if anyone cares about this guy.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 12, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Katie Perry is going to be the next pResident? I don't think she's old enough...

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 12, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Its going to be Perry


Finally a successionist in charge of the Union !!!!

How fitting. Imagine the Stars and Bars flying over the White House.


.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

OPPPSS OBAMA'S health care plan is now $150 Billion MORE EXPENSIVE.

Does that mean they have to vote again?

NO - but you still have to pay the higher amount.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

It is still OBAMA'S OIL SPILL - OBAMA failed to implement the pre-approved oil spill plan.

So Obama FAILED TO ACT.

Pretty simple.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 12, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"voters who see the program as typifying the sort of government creep that they detest "


seriously, was this written by a rightwing high school kid?

as to Thune, apparently nobody cares.

Posted by: drindl | May 12, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

My guy, Ron Wyden voted against the TARP (twice, I learned today).

Right wing darling John Thune should debate moderate* darling Ron Wyden on the merits of their own TARP votes, thats right, the votes they must own. DOA, that sounds about right. Republicans better find one or two 2012 candidates, time is running out. Buzz is all it is.


*Bob Bennett's career crashed and burned in major part because he tried to work with Wyden.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"...he referred liberally throughout his remarks..."

Another RINO!

"... the sort of government creep that they detest..."

Gosh Chris, did you write that or was it a deputy?

"Buzz is all well and good..."

hmmmm


Posted by: shrink2 | May 12, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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