Politico: “A presidential primary favorite is emerging among the ranks of congressional Republicans: none of the above. Interviews on both sides of the Capitol have revealed widespread concern about the lackluster quality of the current crop of candidates and little consensus on who Republican senators and House members would like to see in the race.”
BACHMANN: Michele Bachmann will make two stops in Iowa today as part of a lecture series organized by conservative group The Family Leader, the AP reports. Ron Paul will also speak at a Family Leader event at Dordt College, rescheduled from earlier due to poor weather.
BARBOUR: Speaking at the Spartanburg GOP convention, Haley Barbour praised House Speaker John Boehner’s steady positions during this round of the fight over government spending cuts, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal writes. “‘Compromises don't usually get people to stand up in their chairs and do flips,’ Barbour said. ‘I thought Boehner did very wisely. He took this as far as he could go. He made real savings, real cuts. And now, he's ready to move on strategically to the debt ceiling.’”
Barbour was mum on whether he thought Florida should be punished if it goes forward with an early primary, the St. Petersburg Times writes. “‘I'm going to run in the Florida primary whenever they have it,’ Barbour said, declining to give a yes-or-no answer. ‘And I'm going to run in the Florida primary if I run for president. I'm going to run to win the Florida primary whether they have any delegates or have as many delegates or twice as many delegates or no delegates. So it's up to Florida, what they want to do.’”
DANIELS: The Washington Post profiles Max Eden, a Yale senior who started an initiative to draft Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to run for president, and notes some of the other politicians for whom draft campaigns have been set up. “The Draft Daniels movement may be furthest along, but at least a dozen groups have set up Web sites and are circulating petitions to draft various candidates into the 2012 race, from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.).”
HUNSTMAN: Jon Huntsman has added another primary-state commencement speech to his agenda, according to Fox News. Huntsman will give the graduation address at the University of South Carolina on May 7, having already RSVP’d to Southern New Hampshire University’s commencement on May 21.
PALIN: She praised Donald Trump’s “investigation” of President Obama’s birth certificate: “More power to him. He’s not just throwing stones, you know — from the sidelines. He’s digging in there. He’s paying for researchers to know why President Obama would have spent $2 million to not show his birth certificate. So more power to him," she said on FOX, per The Hill.
PAWLENTY: “Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty won the straw poll vote of conservative activists at this year’s Pennsylvania Leadership conference,” PoliticsPA writes. “Among the 189 votes in the first ballot, Pawlenty outperformed Tea Party-linked businessman Herman Cain who came in second, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, third.”
Pawlenty will appear at International Market Square in Minneapolis on May 18 for a “VIP event,” Fox writes, suggesting it could be the day the former Minnesota governor formally announces a presidential bid.
Republican presidential candidates like Tim Pawlenty, who became the first candidate to ever announce an exploratory committee via Facebook message, are looking to recreate, and try to surpass, President Obama’s success with online fundraising and social networking in 2008, the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes.
ROMNEY: The Hill notes that Mitt Romney has no public events scheduled for next week, and that the only engagement on his public calendar is an appearance in New Hampshire at the end of April for a summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity.
Perhaps a reason for the empty schedule: Democrats in Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire plan to celebrate Tuesday’s fifth anniversary of Massachusetts’ universal health care law with mock birthday parties in honor of former Gov. Mitt Romney, who passed the law in 2006, according to the Boston Globe.
SANTORUM: Santorum won the straw poll at the GOP convention in Greenville County, South Carolina on Saturday, Politico reports.