BACHMANN: Rep. Michele Bachmann had a closed-door meeting with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley before they appeared together at a Tea Party rally on the steps of the state house, CNN reports. Bachmann said they “talked about 2012 and the tremendous opportunity that there is here in South Carolina,” while Haley said Bachmann did not ask for her support.
She also told CNN that she didn’t think she would be eligible for the May 5 presidential debate in South Carolina because she may not announce an exploratory committee before the debate.
Bachmann told the AP that she might write a book to introduce herself to voters.
BARBOUR: Jim Dyke, an aide for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s political action committee, pushed back on a Politico report from yesterday which said that the lobbying firm founded by Barbour, BGR, was involved with a PR campaign on behalf of Arabic news network Al-Jazeera beginning in 2005, Real Clear Politics says. While Dyke did not deny BGR worked on behalf of Al Jazeera, he said that by 2005, Barbour had already left the firm and was in his second full year as governor.
Barbour had surgery to relieve minor back pain, the AP reports.
HUCKABEE: Freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) said he would support Mike Huckabee if the former Arkansas governor ran for president, The Chattanoogan reports.
Politico’s Morning Score notes that Radio Iowa reported yesterday that Danny Carroll, a former Iowa state legislator who co-chaired Mike Huckabee’s Iowa caucus campaign, said he would support former Alabama judge Roy Moore if Moore ran for president in 2012.
HUNTSMAN: Jon Huntsman’s advisers are planning to make a big play in South Carolina if Huntsman decides to run for president, CNN writes. Richard Quinn, a Columbia-based strategist who is working for Huntsman’s “campaign-in-waiting” Huntsman PAC, said Huntsman official would “plant a flag” in the Palmetto State despite his past work for the Obama administration and his support of same-sex civil unions.
The Wall Street Journal considers who might have leaked two complimentary letters Huntsman sent to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama: “The range of potential leakers is small, namely: the White House, in cohoots with Mr. Clinton, via the Democratic National Committee; the state of Utah, assuming copies were left behind in the archives; or Mr. Huntsman himself. Each would have had very different motives.
PALIN: Sarah Palin’s actions this week, including a fiery speech in Madison, Wisconsin and a revamped website, demonstrate her desire to stay in the public spotlight, Politico reports. “After a period in which most of the coverage about her related to either her tangles with the media or falling poll numbers, expect to see more such public appearances where she can take the offensive. Palin and her team recognize that, with Republicans like Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump crowding into their space, that's the way to remain in the mix.”
ROMNEY: On Hannity's radio program, Romney seized on the S&P news to whack Obama. "The Obama presidency was downgraded today," Romney said. "And people recognize that this president is playing chicken with the U.S. economy. And the reason that I’m looking at this race, and everyone has their reasons, but the reason I’m looking at this race is I have a 25-year career in the private sector, I know how jobs come and how they go, and I want to create more jobs for the American people and get our economy on track again.”
TRUMP: Congressional Republicans in Trump's home-state delegation are getting Donald Fatigue, The Hill reports."'I don't know if he needs this to boost his ratings or what, said Rep. Peter King, the New York delegation's senior Republican, of Trump's flirtation with a 2012 bid. 'But I know he enjoys being on the national stage.'"
Politico's Roger Simon puts a magnifying glass over the theory that Trump is simply shilling for birtherism to get his Tea Party bona fides before abruptly dumping the theory and taking a more serious approach to pursuing the nomination. And he's not buying it. "First, Trump is not too smart to believe in birtherism. Politically, Trump is a dope," Simon writes.