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2012: The flirts

“There’s an unusually high number of presidential flirts this year — that is, they say or hint that they might, but they probably won’t,” writes The Hill’s Heinze, singling out Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie.

BOLTON: Former UN Ambassador John Bolton is only entertaining a run for the presidency because of his “frustration at the lack of serious foreign policy thinking in the presumptive Republican field,” the Washington Post writes. “Although Bolton happily joins fellow GOP hopefuls in bashing President Obama’s response to the recent upheaval in the Arab world, that turmoil has revealed another political reality: The Republicans are all over the map.”

GINGRICH: At an event in Milwaukee to promote his documentary, Newt Gingrich told the crowd that “had he not left the House of Representatives in 1999 he wouldn't be in a position to make a run at the GOP nomination for president because now ‘I've had a chance to renew my energy and thoughts,’” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes.

HUCKABEE: Mike Huckabee and blogger Andrew Breitbart will headline the “Family Arena” show on May 1st in St. Charles, Missouri, the St. Louis Tribune writes.

“Mike Huckabee continues to generate the strongest favorable reactions from Republicans who recognize him, with a Positive Intensity Score of 26,” Gallup notes. “Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann follow, with Positive Intensity Scores of 20. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain are at 19, and Sarah Palin is at 18.”

“Sources close to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are denying reports that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is seeking an endorsement from him for the 2012 Republican nomination,” Fox News writes.

HUNTSMAN: Huntsman’s campaign in waiting tells The Daily Caller that it will avoid focusing resources in Iowa, citing “a huge disadvantage” when it comes to fundraising, infrastructure and time, according to a Republican strategist aligned with the campaign.

PAWLENTY: Pawlenty said he thinks the U.S. is headed for a double-dip recession. "I think we're headed for a double-dip. That's my personal view," Pawlenty said on Fox, per The Hill.

ROMNEY: Former New Hampshire GOP Chairman John H. Sununu, who was always expected to endorse Romney, is already arranging high-level private meetings for the prospective candidate, NH Journal reports. “According to more than one source, Sununu arranged a dinner meeting at the Bedford Village Inn earlier this month between Sununu, Romney, Romney’s wife and Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid... McQuaid was harsh on Romney during the 2008 New Hampshire primary. His paper endorsed Sen. John McCain and criticized Romney repeatedly.”

In an interview with Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor with whom the Massachusetts health and human services department worked closely to develop then-Governor Mitt Romney’s health care coverage plan, the Washington Post writes that Gruber thinks it’s “sad” that Romney is running away from the plan, which Gruber says “gave birth to one of the greatest pieces of social legislation in our history,” President Obama’s health care reform legislation.

A survey of Republican heavy-hitters reveals that the majority of “Insiders” think Mitt Romney is the favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination, the National Journal writes. “’Romney still has fundamental advantages no one else has going into this race even with carryover questions from 2008,’ said one Republican Insider. ‘Probably the shakiest GOP front-runner in modern history, but it’s still his to lose,’ said another.”

SANTORUM: In an interview with a Laconia, New Hampshire radio station, Rick Santorum “said the Social Security system would be in mulch better shape if there were fewer abortions,” the AP writes. “He says the system has design flaws, but the reason it is in big trouble is that there aren’t enough workers to support retirees. He blamed that on what he called the nation’s abortion culture. He says that culture, coupled with policies that do not support families, deny America what it needs — more people.”