In National Journal, former Bush ’04 strategist Matthew Dowd sets the over-under for Obama’s re-election at a 50% approval rating and an 8.4% unemployment rate. “[F]or today, the most important reelection question is where the economy will be in 18 months and whether folks believe that their community is better off. If the jobs numbers don’t improve significantly, neither will Obama’s job-approval rating. If that’s the case, the president could locate his headquarters on Mars and it wouldn’t make a difference.”
GOP 12 notes that on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Karl Rove said Chris Christie and Marco Rubio should pass on 2012 bids. “You know, Governor Christie has been in office for less than a year. Marco Rubio has just taken the oath of office. Both of them are saying 'I got things to do,” Rove said.
BARBOUR: The Mississippi governor addressed Senate Republicans during their annual retreat yesterday at the Library of Congress. He told Roll Call, “Last year’s election was a repudiation of Obama’s policies; pure and simple, there’s no argument about that. Everybody recognizes that. The public expects you to stay true to that. He added, “The Republicans are not in control. We can’t all get together and change laws, change policy -- because we have a Democratic president, we have a Democratic majority in the Senate. People need to align their expectations with reality.”
DANIELS: The Washington D.C. rounds made by the Indiana governor the last few days “came just a few days after another reminder that his family is concerned about the media intrusion that comes along with a presidential bid, and his concern for his family -- a detail that led some media outlets to conclude that he doesn't sound all that interested in the White House,” Real Clear Politics observes. “The back-and-forth continues to keep the political class buzzing.”
GINGRICH: “Potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker, is scheduled to speak at a St. Patrick’s Day charity breakfast in Nashua, an event organizer tells WMURPoliticalScoop.com... Officially it is called the “Wild Irish Breakfast” and is a must attend joke-fest for the local political community. Previous speakers of the event have included Mitt Romney and Pat Buchanan."
GIULIANI: The New York Post gossip column, Page Six: “Confident that he'd have a chance to win, Rudy Giuliani is rounding up his top political advisers for a possible 2012 presidential run, sources tell Page Six.”
PAWLENTY: Oh, snap. In an interview with Politics Daily, Tim Pawlenty was asked about rumors that his fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann might run for president: “"Well, it's a free country. Anyone can run that's over the age of 35. I have respect for Michele Bachm
On ABC’s “Nightline” yesterday, Pawlenty spoke about his presidential ambitions. “There is no doubt in my mind I'd be prepared to be president," he told ‘Nightline.’ I haven't made a final decision as to whether I'm gonna run yet. ... I'll make the final decision and an announcement about running for president probably in March-April time frame.” Asked what he thought about Sarah Palin and being in a potential primary with her, Pawlenty said, “It's fair to say she is somebody who's got a lot of influence and can use it for good, if she chooses to… I've got a long way to go to get people to even know my name, much less worrying about whether I could beat, you know, the force of nature that is Sarah Palin.”
ROMNEY: “Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney holds a commanding lead in New Hampshire in the early stages of the race for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, according to a new survey commissioned by NH Journal and conducted by Magellan Strategies,” NH Journal writes.