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2012: Santorum invokes Obama's race on abortion

The Hill: “A resurgence in President Obama’s popularity could force Republican presidential hopefuls to move up their 2012 announcement dates. Already, most of the GOP contenders are lagging behind the 2008 cycle, for which all of the candidates had announced their intention to run by the end of January 2007. Now the question is: How long is too long to wait, particularly as Obama’s approval ratings have risen in recent polls?”

DANIELS: Former Vice President Dick Cheney praised Mitch Daniels as a potential 2012 candidate during an interview with NBC’s Jamie Gangel: “I’m intrigued for example by, oh, someone like Mitch Daniels. I like Mitch because he's got a breadth of experience, as OMB Director for example, because he's run a major of a big corporation, he's run a think tank -- Hudson Institute -- he's now been governor of Indiana, and he's done in Indiana what I think we need to do at the national level.”

HUCKABEE: “Mike Huckabee and his top advisers insist that he's thinking seriously about running for president, but he's doing little to put together the sort of organization needed to mount a campaign,” Politico writes. The latest evidence: Chip Saltsman, his campaign manager in 2008 and one of his closest confidantes, has accepted a job as Chief of Staff for freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.)… [But] Saltsman said his taking the job should not be read as an indication about Huckabee's intentions.”

PALIN: Per Real Clear Politics, “Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has tasked her aides with quietly gauging her level of support for a potential presidential campaign by making inquiries to a select pool of likely allies and grassroots activists in Iowa.”

Republicans want Palin to be more presidential if she runs for president.

PAWLENTY: “Republican Tim Pawlenty dished out $34,000 to state-level candidates and conservative groups in Iowa during the final 2010 push,” the AP reports. “His late-election contributions to candidates and groups were double the amount made by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the same period.”

PENCE: “Some South Carolina lawmakers are looking forward to the 2012's presidential election -- so much so they've asked U.S. Representative Mike Pence to seek the Republican nomination for president,” WLTX writes. Seven state representatives and four state senators have started a Facebook page and a Twitter account “for what they call a grassroots campaign.”

ROMNEY: Time magazine profiles Romney and his emerging 2012 bid.

Although Romney criticized his opponents in 2008 for not spending more time in Iowa, “as he appears to be preparing to launch a second presidential bid, Romney has largely avoided the state,” Real Clear Politics writes. “After a debilitating second-place finish in the 2008 caucuses, Romney has visited Iowa only twice since President Obama was elected, and he does not have any additional trips to the state currently scheduled.”

SANTORUM: In an interview with the Christian News Service -- and it’s on camera -- Santorum was asked about President Obama’s views on abortion and said he found it “almost remarkable for a black man to say, 'we're going to decide who are people and who are not people.'"  (Here’s the video.)

The Manchester Union-Leader reported that Rick Santorum has chosen veteran Republican activist Clara Monier as the chair of his New Hampshire political action committee.

It's Santorum's second New Hampshire hire this month,” The Hill points out. Santorum earlier announced Mike Biundo as the PAC’s director.  

NEW HAMPSHIRE: “On Saturday, January 22, ABC News and WMUR-TV are teaming up for a first ever ‘straw poll’ sanctioned by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee to see just what kind of buzz these 2012 candidates have among the party faithful,” WMUR reports.

TEXAS: Ron Paul’s thinking about a 2012 Senate run