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More oh-eight (R)


Bloomberg says Rudy Giuliani's affiliation with a big Texas-based law firm gives him a Southern base from which to raise his profile and possibly a lot of cash. 

GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel may be acting like a possible presidential contender in some ways, but not in others.  The Hill points out that Hagel's "year-end financial filing shows that he raised just $80,000 for his campaign committee in the final three months of 2006, bringing his cash on hand to $140,000 from $110,000."  But: "Spokesman Mike Buttry said Hagel's campaign financial filings offer no clue about his future plans and emphasized Hagel's fundraising through his political action committee, which raised more than $400,000 during the last cycle." 

The Wall Street Journal looks at how former Gov. Mitt Romney (R) benefited from "a little-noticed gap between federal and state law" which allowed Romney to "set up fund-raising committees in three" states which don't limit political contributions: Michigan, Iowa and Alabama.  "During that time, his political action committees raised $7 million." 

Newly filed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) told reporters on a conference call yesterday afternoon that he's in the race to win.  "I've never entered anything in my life just for the pleasure of participating."  He added, "The people of this country love an underdog… because they see in themselves a person who can come from the bottom and make it to the top."  NBC's Carrie Dann says Huckabee offered a candid explanation of the timing of his announcement: "Right now there's a lot of speculation about who's actually going to get in and is who isn't, and I felt like in order to solidify some of the support with people in key states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, I needed to let those folks know that I would be in."

Huckabee and Sen. Sam Brownback, now rivals for the mantle of conservative favorite in the GOP primary, both campaign in Iowa today.  The Politico notes today, as MSNBC.com has noted previously, that there is no heavyweight conservative candidate in the race -- that all the frontrunners' conservative credentials are somehow flawed. 

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) of Texas tells the Washington Times in an interview that "she would consider an offer to run for vice president next year."  The paper notes that Hutchison was "the largest Republican vote-getter in the 2006 congressional elections...  Mrs. Hutchison, who garnered more than 2.6 million votes in November and defeated her opponent by 62 percent to 36 percent in an overall bad year for Republicans, attributed her popularity, in part, to her stand on Iraq.  'People in my state see me as having a few degrees of separation" from the president.'"