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2012: Barbour to Iowa

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington last week.

BARBOUR: “In another sign that he's moving toward a presidential bid, Haley Barbour will visit Iowa next month,” Politico reports. “The Mississippi governor will keynote a March 15 dinner in Scott County, the first of a year-long series of Iowa Republican Party fundraisers aimed at bolstering county parties.”

Pushing back on a Time magazine story that said Barbour lobbied for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (or, as many Republicans call it, “amnesty”) on behalf of the Mexican government, he released a statement saying he rejected the claim that he supports “amnesty,” CNN reports. “Barbour's advisers also released a ‘fact sheet’ outlining what Vincente Fox, then the newly-elected president of Mexico, paid Barbour's firm $35,000-a-month to accomplish.”  

Catch this: Barbour said in a video to Human Events, per The Hill, "The main thing is to elect a Republican president in 2012. It's why we all need to work together — that unity is what we need that'll help us win, and that purity is not a winner in politics."

BUSH: In a new Fox News poll, President Obama would beat Jeb Bush 54% to 34%, according to Talking Points Memo.

DANIELS: “A tough, Arizona-style anti-immigration bill in the Indiana state Legislature has put Gov. Mitch Daniels — who is mum on whether he backs it — on a collision course with tea party activists who see it as a big priority and could have national implications for the Indiana governor in a GOP presidential primary,” Politico writes.

Rush Limbaugh attacked Daniels and CPAC.

But National Review’s Lowry praises Daniels, saying that unlike other CPAC speakers who threw their conservative audience hunks of red meat, “Daniels, in contrast, seems temperamentally incapable of unseriousness; he is the anti-panderer.”

GINGRICH: Gingrich will speak at Salem State University in Massachusetts on March 30, the Salem News reports.

HUCKABEE: “Former Arkansas governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was in Knoxville Monday evening,” Knoxville station WATE writes. “Huckabee was the keynote speaker at an event called ‘Celebrate Life' at the Knoxville Convention Center.”

PALIN: “A Democratic official points out that Sarah Palin's latest attack on the Obama administration's budget cuts is not quite accurate,” Politico’s Smith writes. “On Twitter, Palin writes ‘Here's how minuscule the White House's $775 million a year cuts are: less than 1/10 of 1% of this year's budget deficit,’ responding to an op-ed by Obama budget director Jacob Lew. But in his piece, Lew only picked three examples that added up to $775 million -- rather the administration's cuts are more in the rage of $75 billion.”

Palin’s paradox: Per the AP, “Her chips-fall-where-they-may attitude could attract a GOP primary electorate that, during last year's elections, showed a disdain for Washington and the Republican Party machine. Even so, her allies recognize they must encourage their unconventional Republican to embrace parts of a traditional campaign because there are realities to running for president, like turning out voters.”

ROMNEY: “Mitt Romney spent Valentine's Day in Las Vegas, speaking to business groups and supporters in preparation for his likely White House run,” the Las Vegas Review Journal reports. He had lunch with about 40 Republicans including former first lady Dema Guinn, her sister-in-law and local Republican women’s leader Betty Rumford.

The Boston Globe’s Johnson has some details of the speech. Romney touted that he would be a friend to the business community if elected; he explained his support for a similar health-care plan in Massachusetts to what got passed last year in Congress this way: “You learn from experiments. Some parts worked well; some didn’t;” and then he claimed he wasn’t a politician: “Romney went on to focus on what he saw as differences between the public and private sectors, often referring to ‘they’ in government and saying, ‘I’m not really a politician yet. I have to get elected at least twice to be a politician.’”

(Um, Romney may not have been elected twice but he’s lost twice -- once to Ted Kennedy in 1994 for the Senate and, of course, for president in 2008 -- in addition to serving as governor of Massachusetts for one term.)