The Illinois Republican Party hopes to host an all-star lineup of potential GOP presidential contenders at a dinner celebrating President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday next month," Roll Call writes. "The fundraising event will be held in Chicago on Feb. 5, the day before the late president’s birthday. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) will sign copies of one of his books before the dinner, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have confirmed they will attend, according to an invitation to the event. The party also invited Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and South Dakota Sen. John Thune."
Real Clear Politics breaks the top-tier Republican presidential contenders “into three basic categories when it comes to talking about their 2012 intentions in media appearances: the aggressive challengers, the coy contenders and those who are seeking to portray themselves as reluctant warriors.”
DANIELS: Mitch Daniels concedes in an interview with the Tribune Star that he's started to pay attention to how he's covered by the national press: "Most often, the Princeton University-educated governor, who earned the nickname 'The Blade' when he served as President George W. Bush’s cost-slashing budget director, is called 'wonkish.' Or as Daniels defines it: 'cerebral but boring.' Daniels, a church-going motorcycle rider who campaigned for governor crisscrossing the state in blue jeans and a motor home, would like to think of himself as more than that. 'It’s as if they think you couldn’t be smart and funny at the same time,' said Daniels of political pundits who’ve pigeon-holed him for the convenience of quick copy or short sound bites. 'It’s as if you’re either a person of the people or a wonk,' Daniels said. 'They can’t quite cope with the idea that maybe you could be a little bit of both.'"
More: "Daniels said his wife, Cheri, and their four daughters — all grown and three married — are wary of the intense media scrutiny that can descend upon a candidate’s family. 'It scares them to death,' Daniels said. 'And it should.' The private family conversations about his potential candidacy are off-limits, he said. But those family conversations matter. 'It would be a big deal if they said no.'"
GINGRICH: "For anyone who did a double take at the gray-haired man watching Sheboygan's Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday — yes, that was Newt Gingrich," the Sheboygan Press writes.
PAWLENTY: The Atlantic notes Pawlenty lagging in most polls, but wonders if his serious campaign efforts and all his campaigning will up his name ID and boost him in the polls: "He appears serious about his 2012 ambitions. He's accrued credibility and name recognition among the Beltway political class, even as his national name-recognition numbers still sag. He's built an organization and a political framework for a serious bid, and he's logged the hours of legwork that the other names in his national-polling caste have not."
PENCE: GOP12 links to a post from Howey Politics Indiana which says that Rep. Mike Pence “is scheduling Republican Lincoln Days Dinner all over Indiana.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: “Gov. John Sununu, the outgoing chairman of the Republican State Committee, has endorsed Juliana Bergeron as his successor,” the Concord Monitor reports. “Bergeron, chairwoman for the Cheshire County Republican Committee, is running against Tea Party activist and former gubernatorial candidate Jack Kimball for the position of party chairman.”
OHIO: “Ohio's 2012 presidential primary election might have to be moved to later in the year if state lawmakers are slow to draw new congressional districts this year, incoming Secretary of State Jon Husted said yesterday,” the Columbus Dispatch writes.