Bloomberg News: “Barack Obama raised $59 million for his presidential campaign during the first half of 2007. To match that, prospective Republican challengers to his re- election would need to take in roughly $590,000 a day until June 30 if they entered the race today.
If there’s one characteristic that links all potential Republican presidential candidates, it’s that they all have at least one flaw that, if not handled with care, could derail the candidate, the AP writes.
Major GOP fundraisers are thus far holding out on their donations, USA Today writes, noting that only about 60 of the more than 530 party leaders who bundled money for John McCain’s ’08 general election bid have donated to the federal campaign accounts of the 2012 potential presidential candidates.
BARBOUR: Haley Barbour gets profile treatments from both the Washington Post and the New York Times, which look at the governor's attempts to overhaul his former image as a Southern lobbyist with a few too many pounds on his frame. "Americans want a president who can get things done and solve the problems that are making their lives less good than they could be,” he told the Post. “I’m a lawyer, a politician and a lobbyist. That’s a trifecta. But I think the voters are interested in other things.”
And the Times' headline: "A Proud ‘Lobbyist’ and ‘Southerner’ Weighs ‘President.’" In an interview for the piece, Barbour revisits his controversial comment that it was not "all that bad" when he was growing up during the civil rights era, explaining it thusly: "'If someone had asked me about the racial situation in the segregated South when I was growing up,' Mr. Barbour said, 'I would have said that while people at the time didn’t know -- this was all they knew -- they realized ultimately that it was indefensible.'" And in WaPo, asked about the race question, Barbour "bristled" and responded: "The only people who ever asked me about it are reporters."
Also, check out this point about the difference between Barbour and other GOP candidates in how they discuss the current president. Writes The Times' Zeleny: "The indictment that Mr. Barbour lays out against the president is different from the early approach of many likely rivals. He does not suggest that Mr. Obama favors a European socialist governing style (as Newt Gingrich argues). He rarely makes jokes at Mr. Obama’s expense (as Tim Pawlenty does). He does not say Mr. Obama was caught flat-footed by protests sweeping through the Middle East (as Mitt Romney asserts)."
It’s a credit to Barbour’s team that they were able, by the way, to get big profiles of him in the Times and Post -- the day after Pawlenty’s exploratory announcement. Barbour, on the other hand, hasn’t declared yet. Just three Republican have (in order) -- Herman Cain, Buddy Roemer, and Pawlenty.
DANIELS: The Indiana governor has a book deal, but says it has nothing to do with a potential presidential run.
GINGRICH: Newt Gingrich now has the support of both the current governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, and his immediate predecessor, as former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said he would Gingrich if he ran for president.
The Hill points out that Gingrich congratulated Tim Pawlenty over Twitter on his formation of an exploratory committee to run for president: “@timpawlenty Congrats. You were a MN Gov, You'd be a great Pres candidate. @CallyGingrich and I look forward to seeing you and Mary soon,” Gingrich tweeted. (Notice, he got in yet another Callista mention…)
Gingrich has arranged for two more visits to New Hampshire coming up: March 30th, for media interviews and private meetings with key Republicans, as well as a speaking engagement at Salem State College. Then on April 4th, Gingrich will be back with an appearance at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
HUNTSMAN: “Diplomacy, vision and long-term planning tend to be the hallmarks of Huntsman's leadership style, according to a handful of Utah activists interviewed by RCP for this story. And it underscores why Obama effectively deported him to China,” Real Clear Politics writes. “The 50-year-old Huntsman has a sparkling résumé, and his record as a former governor of Utah is rife with credentials that would make other fiscally conservative governors with national ambitions salivate. In fact, his four-and-a-half years in charge of the Beehive State were seen by some as so successful that, along with two Democratic governors, Tim Kaine's Virginia and Christine Gregoire's Washington state - the Pew Center on the States listed Huntsman's Utah as one of the nation's three best-managed states in its 2008 Government Performance Project report. This doesn't necessarily endear him to conservatives.”
PALIN: Sarah Palin kept a low profile on her trip to Israel, the AP writes, “changing her schedule at the last minute and leaving sites before reporters could catch up with her.”
Conservative writer David Frum says that Palin made a mistake for a potential presidential candidate -- booking her trip to Israel through a Christian tour operator, rather than the Republican Jewish Coalition, which took George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour to Israel, as well as many other presidential hopefuls. “The RJC's board of directors includes four people who have served as national finance chairs for the Republican Party -- the party's "fundraiser-in-chief." Eight board members have run major donor groups within the GOP and 18 members served as state finance chairs for George W. Bush's re-election in 2004. It also includes some less distinguished figures -- me, for example,” Frum writes.
PAWLENTY: “Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota became the first major Republican to enter the 2012 presidential race, announcing an exploratory committee on Monday that formalizes an ambition that has been steadily building for more than a year,” the New York Times writes. “In a two-minute message that was set to music, Mr. Pawlenty did not specify how he would address entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, but he introduced himself as a candidate with working-class roots who would focus on lifting the economy, creating jobs and limiting government intervention in business.”
The Des Moines Register’s take: “Referencing his working-class upbringing in a blue-collar Twin Cities neighborhood, Pawlenty said he identified with everyday Americans struggling through a slow-moving economic recovery.”
Can Tim Pawlenty win? Money and visibility will be some of his steepest obstacles. The New York Times lay out what it sees as his five challenges.
The Washington Post writes of Pawlenty's pluses: "[T]he former governor carries less obvious baggage than some of his better-known opponents. Aides said Monday that he will seek to portray himself as a bridge between the fiscal and social conservatives within the party. And, aides said, Pawlenty has shown that his ability to appeal to independents would make him the strongest potential candidate against President Obama in the general election."
“Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty kicked off the ‘exploration’ phase of his 2012 presidential run Monday evening with a tele-town hall, where the governor cast himself as Republican Party uniter,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “‘I think I’m going to be unique in the field to be able to deeply and genuinely appeal across that whole spectrum,’ Pawlenty said of the different conservative factions. ‘It’s fair to say that many of them [other candidates], and maybe all of them, really will primarily appeal to just one of those categories, maybe one-and-a-half of them, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to cover the full spectrum like I can.’”
“Few minorities are featured in Tim Pawlenty's presidential announcement video, and, as it turns out, most of them were taken from Getty stock footage,” the Atlantic’s Good writes.
Here was Pawlenty on FOX last night, the only media he did following his announcement.