Dec 30, 2010

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Presidential Derby

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: December 30, 2010 4:05 AM

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While his name has generated a good deal of buzz, especially since the November elections, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said before Christmas he is more focused on running the Lone Star State and the Republican Governors Association rather than launching a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Perry insisted that, with Republicans taking control of the U.S. House, states would play a more important role as opposed to the federal government … With some conservative groups backing out of the CPAC conference due to the American Conservative Union’s financial scandal and including GOPround, a gay rights Republican group, in their events, look for pressure to mount on leading Republican presidential hopefuls to skip out on the CPAC straw poll come February. Conservative groups like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for American have already pulled out of the event … While a number of polls show that former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is starting to lose support from her fellow Republicans, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina praised her this week, claiming that she has done more for the GOP than any political leader since Ronald Reagan …

David Axelrod, one of President Barack Obama’s chief political strategists, expressed his confidence last week that his candidate would easily survive a challenge in the Democratic primary. A CNN/Opinion Research Poll found that 78 percent of Democrats wanted Obama as their party‘s standard bearer in 2012 … The Obama team has expressed interest in running their re-election efforts out of Chicago instead of out of the Beltway … While no Democratic candidate has officially declared an interest in trying to knock Obama off in 2012, former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, who ran for the Democratic and Libertarian nominations in 2008, said he was open to the possibility. Gravel started focusing on international issues at the end of December, calling for an end to sanctions against Iran … Democratic U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio sent an e-mail to supporters on Wednesday expressing concern that, with his state losing two U.S. House seats, he may lose his seat in redistricting. While there was speculation that Kucinich, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, would make a third shot at the White House, he downplayed his prospects in 2012 …

In an interview this week, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels admitted that his height may be a problem if he decides to launch a bid at the Republican presidential nomination. Three presidents from the 19th century were shorter than Daniels, who is 5 feet 7 inches, including his fellow Hoosier Republican Benjamin Harrison. Daniels is also shorter than other recent presidential candidates, including Thomas Dewey, Michael Dukakis and John McCain … Political activist Fred Karger, who is seriously considering launching a bid for the Republican nomination, has taken aim at Obama, blasting the president from retreating from backing same-sex marriage earlier in his career. Karger has a busy January coming up, hitting the campaign trail in Washington, New York and New Hampshire … Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who is also thinking of running for the Republican nod in 2012, continues to hammer the Obama administration for backing the START treaty. Bolton argued on an appearance Monday on Fox News that the administration is not serious on missile defense …

Wayne Allyn Root, who was Bob Barr’s running mate on the Libertarian ticket in 2008 and is expected to try for the party’s nomination in 2012, received a good deal of national attention this week when he filled in as guest host for Gordon Liddy’s radio show. Root interviewed another potential White House hopeful — Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas … Lee Wrights, a writer and activist who also has his eye on the Libertarian nod in 2012, is focusing on international issues, pledging, if elected, to bring American servicemen home as quickly as possible … Alan Keyes, who ran for the Republican nomination three times and was the America’s Independent Party candidate in 2008, slammed Paul for backing the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuals. Keyes, who was the Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate race in Illinois against Obama back in 2004, continues to hammer the president, demanding proof that he was born in the United States and is constitutionally eligible to serve in the White House.