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2012: Palin goes 'lamestream,' Mitt's mandate problem

BARBOUR: “At age 63, Gov. Haley Barbour said deciding to run for president means resolving to ‘spend the rest of your productive life doing this.’ The decision won't come for months or without long talks with wife Marsha, the governor said” in an interview with the Jackson Clarion Ledger.

GINGRICH: Newt Gingrich told South Carolinians how important they are ahead of his speech there tonight before the Spartanburg County Republican Party’s annual Bronze Elephant banquet.

PALIN: Politico’s headline on Palin going on ABC: “Sarah Palin goes 'lamestream.'”

PAWLENTY: The State Column reports that the Minnesota governor “took aim at President Obama’s health care law, comparing the program to drug dealing. ‘They offer you a free sample and get you hooked,’ Mr Pawlenty said. The governor, who has publicly opposed Mr. Obama’s health care law, made the remark Monday.”

Pawlenty “is expected to have veteran New Hampshire strategist Sarah Crawford in his corner as the campaign begins,” Granite Status says.

PENCE: Mike Pence said on the "TODAY" show he’s against the tax bill because he believes it “will do little to create jobs,” that it’s a “tough call” to vote against it, but it “is not going to create investment.” He wants the tax cuts made permanent and says that would be taking “a breath.”

ROMNEY: The AP looks at the tough time Romney is likely to have because of his support for a Massachusetts health-care law and an individual mandate: “Romney is finding it hard to avoid comparisons between the Massachusetts health insurance mandate he signed into law and the federal version enacted by President Barack Obama as he weighs another presidential run… Romney praised this week's ruling against the federal mandate, saying it supports his view ‘that Obamacare is an unconstitutional power grab by Washington,’ according to a statement from spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom… Yet the Massachusetts mandate is more sweeping - and penalizes the uninsured more severely -- than the federal law signed this year by Obama, the Democrat Romney would likely face in 2012 if he won the GOP presidential nomination.”

SANTORUM: “Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., one of the most upfront about his ambitions to run for president in 2012, indicated Wednesday night to members of the Quad City Tea Party that he would soon put a staffer in Iowa,” IowaPolitics.com reports.

THUNE: Political Wire notes as its quote of the day John Thune saying, "The bill is loaded up with pork projects, and it shouldn't get a vote." Why is that the quote of the day? Because “the omnibus spending bill that also happens to include his own earmarks,” Political Wire writes.

IOWA: In his eighth visit to the state since the 2008 election, former senator Rick Santorum said he would have opposed the tax-cut deal passed in the Senate, the Des Moines Register reports.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: “ABC News and WMUR-TV, ABC’s Hearst-owned affiliate in Manchester, NH, are joining forces once again to host a Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary in 2012,” WMUR says.