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Conservative group pushes Pence to run

A group of conservatives are pushing Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to run for president in 2012.

America's President Committee kicks off today with a signature drive to get Pence, who's popular with social conservatives, to launch a 2012 White House bid.

Behind the group are former Kansas Congressman Jim Ryun and is coordinated by Ralph Benko, a former Reagan deputy counsel, who worked with the Bush administration's White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

“Throughout his distinguished career, Mike Pence has demonstrated the ability to enthusiastically advance the cause of conservatives and constitutional, limited government and for that reason I am encouraging him to get in the race,” Mr. Ryun said in a press release.

Benko added, “Mike Pence describes himself as ‘First a Christian, then a conservative, then a Republican.’ He unifies fiscal, social, and national security conservatives, and will energize the conservative coalition essential to winning back The White House in 2012."

The group's Web site, called "The Conservative Champion," is up with its first post, entitled, "America calling Mike Pence…. You are the Conservative Champion. We call you to Serve."

Pence is expected to make a decision by the end of January. It's also possible he runs for governor of Indiana. The response to Pence speeches has given before conservative groups is notable, especially in contrast to other Republicans who are likely to launch bids.

Could the affable former talk-radio host be the Mike Huckabee of the 2012 election?

Remember, however, no one has been directly elected from the House to the White House since James Garfield in 1881.