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2012: In the Hunt-sman

The Wall Street Journal explores efforts by prospective presidential candidates to gather fundraising allies, or bundlers, who commit themselves to gathering money from wealthy donors on a candidate’s behalf.

The Boston Globe has a timeline comparing the dates of 2008 candidates’ announcement of an exploratory committee, and those of the 2012 candidates so far.

The Washington Post’s Cillizza notes all the 2012 Republican candidates have their flaws.

BARBOUR: The AP tracks some of Haley Barbour’s controversial remarks regarding Mississippi’s segregationist past. “Even after apologizing and backtracking on certain remarks, Barbour has trouble striking the right note: Just days ago, the governor told The Associated Press he remembers little about the racial violence pulsating through the state and the South during his youth.”

DEMINT: The State Column: “South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint is reportedly considering a run for president in 2012. The South Carolina Republican, who ruled out the possibility of a run, is said to be reconsidering his decision in light of Rep. Mike Pence’s official withdrawal from the race. Additionally, news that Mr. DeMint will travel to Iowa on March 26 to address a conservative forum organized by Rep. Steve King is adding fuel to the fire over the possibility of a DeMint presidential run.

HUCKABEE: The former Arkansas governor is on his 15th trip to Israel. The Birmingham Star writes that Huckabee will visit the Israeli Knesset to meet with the Immigration and Absorption Committee.

HUNTSMAN: “The White House expects Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to China, to resign his post this spring to explore a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, top Democrats said,” Politico reports. “While Huntsman has no direct involvement in it, a group of operatives that could eventually comprise his strategy team has set up an entity called ‘Horizon PAC’ to serve as a placeholder for his political apparatus.”

THUNE: Politics Daily examines the qualities that may set John Thune apart from the rest of the pack of possible presidential candidates, and finds that they have more to do with who he isn’t than who he is: “Thune's generic conservative views, congressional career and intact marriage have kept him out of controversial territory.”

AP

Former Minnesota Gov. Republican Tim Pawlenty gets ready to sign copies of his book last week in New Hampshire. He is in Iowa today signing more books.

PAWLENTY: Pawlenty’s in Des Moines, Iowa, today signing his book. He was in Ohio Saturday and made two stops in Iowa on Sunday.

“If former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty decides, as expected, to run for president in 2012, he likely will talk about a unique national security qualification from 2007 in which he nudged an Indian company to drop its plans to invest in Iran,” RealClearPolitics’ McPike reports.

Tim Pawlenty “told a group of 400 conservative Ohio activists on Saturday that he accomplished a political feat that the Gipper never could,” Politico writes. “’Even Ronald Reagan couldn't win Minnesota,' Pawlenty said, referencing Reagan’s two landslide presidential victories. ‘That's how hard it is for a Republican to win in Minnesota.’” (However, T-Paw never won more than 47% in Minnesota, while Obama got 54% there in ’08.) 

Former Mass. Gov. and Republican presidential hopefull Mitt Romney at an event in Dallas last November.

ROMNEY: “Former Gov. Mitt Romney shared lunch Friday with a small-but-enhanced group of Massachusetts Republicans as he sought to build hometown support -- and tamp down potential backyard opposition -- while he progresses toward a second White House campaign,” the Boston Globe writes.

President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod “pointedly praised one of the leading contenders, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, in a way that spotlighted Romney's vulnerability within the GOP for signing a state health care law that parallels the new federal law in some ways. Romney ‘did some interesting things there on health care, you know,’ Axelrod said. ‘We got some good ideas from him.’”

Romney raised $1.6 million in 2010 through his five state-level political action committees, as well as $4.5 million through his national PAC, the Washington Post reports.

SANTORUM: “Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has brought on a veteran Des Moines consulting firm to serve as adviser to his political action committee,” the AP writes. He has signed up Concordia Group LLC, its president Nick Ryan and Jill Latham, a principal at the firm.