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2012: Raising Cain

CAIN: “Pizza magnate and potential presidential aspirant Herman Cain says President Barack Obama has done at least one thing well,” the Wall Street Journal writes. ““He has awakened the sleeping giant called ‘we the people,’ Mr. Cain said, talking from his hotel room in Phoenix… Mr. Cain got a jump on other potential GOP 2012 candidates Wednesday when he formed a presidential exploratory committee, which allows him to raise money for a possible White House run.”

DANIELS: “In another sign that Mitch Daniels is looking for a broader stage and eyeing a presidential run, the Indiana governor has accepted an invitation to be the Republican speaker at this year’s Gridiron Club dinner,” National Journal writes. “The annual journalism dinner has been used in the past by potential presidential candidates to break out of the pack and shine before an audience that includes the president, members of Congress, and leading publishers and editors.”

GINGRICH: Per the Myrtle Beach Sun News, the former House speaker spoke at a dinner hosted by the lobbying group Grand Strand Business Association in Myrtle Beach. “’The midterm win wasn't enough and Republicans need to aim for winning 40 more House seats and 12 or 13 more Senate seats in the next election,’ Gingrich said to a crowd.”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Newt Gingrich will speak at Hawaii’s state GOP Lincoln Day dinner and fundraiser on February 18th.

PALIN: She'll be on Hannity on FOX Monday, her first TV interview since the Arizona shooting.

PAWLENTY: MinnPost.com’s takeaway from the former governor’s speech yesterday at the National Press Club: “He stood on the stage a business evangelist, preaching the gospel of small government to a room full of Republican politicos who ate it up and prominent national journalists who took it all down. Here at the National Press Club, where Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and John F. Kennedy each kicked off a presidential campaign, Tim Pawlenty didn’t. But he sounded for all the world like someone who will in just a few months’ time.”

ROMNEY: He spoke about democracy with young Afghans, saying it also sometimes opens the door for bad people, but to look for the "good leaders." The Boston Globe: "Far from the sometimes-boiling partisan atmosphere back home, Romney sought to present a more nuanced side of himself during what his staff described as an important listening and learning tour — one that is bound to be seen as another step in his preparation for a likely second run for the presidency. Yesterday, Romney had breakfast with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he is scheduled to meet today with Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayad. He is seeking advice on foreign policy matters, asking questions of foreign and US military leaders."

“Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has secured both a pollster and a political director for his near-certain presidential bid this coming cycle,” Real Clear Politics reports. “Rich Beeson, a Republican operative who has worked as a political director at the Republican National Committee and was most recently a partner at the voter contact firm FLS Connect, will be Romney's political director… And for polling, Romney is bringing on Neil Newhouse, a partner at the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.”

TEXAS: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) released this statement after Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced she would not seek another term: "I fully intend to explore running for the United States Senate," he said. "And should I run, I will run with the intention of winning." Writes thehttp://bit.ly/gdL6wz: It was one of many rapid-fire signals Thursday as candidates and potential candidates – many who've been biding their time for Hutchison to step down – began the scramble for a rare Senate opening."