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2012: 'The Boss' whacks Christie

“Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, national polls of primary voters — even this far out from the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary — do have a reasonable amount of predictive power in informing us as to the identity of the eventual nominee,” the New York Times’ Silver writes on his FiveThirtyEight blog.

Right in time for April Fool’s Day, the NRSC launches President Obama’s “first ad” of the 2012 cycle, complete with hopeful themes and music (and a heaping spoonful of snark.)

“The conservative Daily Caller news site and two conservative nonprofit organizations will hold a Republican presidential primary debate this summer during the Conservative Leadership Conference in Las Vegas,” The Hill writes. “Daily Caller founder and Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson will moderate the July 10 debate, according to a press statement. Americans for Tax Reform and the Citizen Outreach Foundation will co-host.”

BACHMANN: Time writes about the rise of the “electric” Michele Bachmann from anonymous congresswoman to a GOP headliner, while also noting the challenges she might face as she continues laying the groundwork for a potential presidential bid: “She has burned through four chiefs of staff in five years, often preferring her own counsel or that of her close-knit family. She writes her own speeches and relies heavily on her husband and her oldest son, a Connecticut doctor, for advice. Such an arrangement usually makes for a rocky crusade. Ron Carey, a former Minnesota party chair who quit as her chief of staff last summer, says he will not support Bachmann despite their long friendship. ‘I agree with Michele Bachmann 99% of the time on policy issues,’ he says. ‘But just like Dorothy, I've been to Oz and I've looked behind the curtain.’”

CHRISTIE: Bruce Springsteen wrote a letter to the editor in the Asbury Park Press criticizing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his budget cuts. "Your article shows that the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty," The Boss wrote. That’s got to sting for Christie. Remember this? The New York Times reported in 2009: Christie “has attended 120 Springsteen concerts, in places as far away as Paris and London, and once ducked out of a Trenton fund-raiser — ‘Gotta go, another event!’ he said — and raced to Philadelphia, arriving at the Spectrum just as the band was cranking up ‘Badlands.’” (More than 120? Seriously?)

A new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie only six percentage points behind President Obama, Reuters says. Only Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney poll better against Obama, with Huckabee in a dead heat and Romney trailing the president by one percentage point, 43% to 44%.

DANIELS: The Hill writes up Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ appearance on Andrea Mitchell Reports yesterday, noting that he said he wouldn’t campaign on his record his governor but instead on “the future.”

GINGRICH: “Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) confirmed he will make a decision on a presidential bid by the beginning of May,” The Hill writes. “‘We're trying to finish out the exploratory process, and I think by the first week of May, we'll have done that,’ Gingrich told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday.”

ROMNEY: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised almost $1.9 million during the first three months of the year as he laid the groundwork for an expected presidential run,” the AP reports.

“A top Mitt Romney official told supporters on a conference call Thursday that the former Massachusetts governor is eyeing mid-to-late April to begin raising money for his eventual presidential campaign, according to call participants,” Politico writes.