FILE-Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington in January.
BACHMANN: Michele Bachmann will be making her first trip to New Hampshire on March 12, the Manchester Union-Leader reports. "We're told the primary focus of her visit will be to help the New Hampshire Republican Party under Jack Kimball's new chairmanship, most likely in a series of small fund-raising events," the Union-Leader writes.
BARBOUR: The Washington Post wonders, given Barbour’s recent and repeated perceived gaffes on race, whether he should do more than simply point to his record when defending himself against accusations of racism: “The question for Barbour and his advisers is whether -- given the amount of attention the issue of race has already drawn in his not-yet-announced presidential campaign -- he needs to give a broader speech on race that seeks to address the questions once and for all.”
Barbour “will be in Kentucky [today] to meet with a group of coal operators who have a history of digging deep to help bankroll politicians friendly to the mining industry,” the AP reports. “Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett confirmed Tuesday that Barbour is scheduled to meet with up to 50 mining executives Thursday morning. Barbour would be the first potential 2012 presidential candidate to reach out to the coal-rich state.”
CHRISTIE: “New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Wednesday he sees an opportunity to run for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination in 2012, but is not going to take it,” Reuters writes. “‘I'm not stupid,’ Christie said in response to questions after a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. ‘I see the opportunity. I see it. That's not the reason to run.’”
“With just one impressive speech, Chris Christie put three full days of CPAC speakers to shame,” Politico writes. ‘He has an electricity around him wholly absent around other candidates,’ said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. ‘Even when they put on their best possible speech at CPAC, they still put people to sleep. Like or dislike Chris Christie, you could not fall asleep during that speech.’”
DANIELS: Roll Call’s Kondracke practically endorses Mitch Daniels: “Daniels lacks the charisma of a movie star, and he can’t throw a football 90 yards. But he is a Ronald Reagan-Jack Kemp ‘growth’ conservative. And he did win re-election by 18 points against an Obama tide. It could just happen.”
FILE - Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks at a news conference in Iowa last week.
PAWLENTY: “Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s investment of time and money in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, appears to be drawing dividends,” the St. Cloud Times writes. “The latest WMUR Granite State Poll shows Pawlenty in a third-place tie with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee among potential Republican presidential candidates in 2012.”
“Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2012, urged Florida lawmakers on Wednesday to approve a bill to make it easier to fire public school teachers,” the St. Petersburg Times writes. “‘I would have given a lot to have a bill like that on my desk,’ Pawlenty said, recalling a similar bill vetoed last year by then-Gov. Charlie Crist.”
More: "After his speech, Pawlenty refused to say when the state should hold its presidential primary. Scheduled for January, Pawlenty joked he would see many Minnesotans in Florida then. But it's too early for national Republican leaders, who want it pushed back to March. 'I don't purport to give other states advice on how they run their elections or their primaries. That's up to them,' Pawlenty said."
SANTORUM: He’s “heading to Naples on Friday as part of the Ave Maria University School of Law’s series of speakers,” Sunshine News reports.
Per NBC’s Kevin Hurd, Santorum is suggesting everything may not be "A-OK" on Sesame Street, if the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gets the axe in President Obama's 2012 budget. The Hill reports on a Santorum-FOX interview, in which the former senator talked about the reaction he got when supported cutting the CPB while in Congress. "It wasn't necessary anymore," he said. "Well, the Barney contingent came out and the Sesame Street contingent came out, and these are programs that are popular among families and so they hit you pretty hard."