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2012: Explaining Barbour's no-go

BARBOUR: The New York Times on Haley Barbour’s decision not to run for president: He “had hired a campaign manager, lined up influential Republican activists in early-voting states and secured commitments from donors across the country, but he surprised them all on Monday by announcing that he was abandoning his effort to join the Republican presidential race… Mr. Barbour said he lacked the ‘absolute fire in the belly,’ that a candidacy would require.”

Politico on why Barbour pulled the plug: "[E]ven as he was taking all the usual steps – calling donors, visiting early states, hiring operatives – there were signs that the Mississippian wasn’t all in. As he traveled the country testing the waters over the last few months he had begun privately using the same phrase to describe his intense exploratory schedule: he called it his 'death march,' a Republican who heard Barbour use the term recalled."

"Barbour did it in light-hearted fashion, a way to break the tension, but the Republican who heard it found it revealing and wasn’t surprised when the Mississippian begged off.

A member of Barbour’s inner circle said the governor had also offered disclaimers in his conversations with advisers. 'Every time we had discussions, he’d emphasize that, "I’m not there yet and I might not get there,"' said this adviser."

The take by NBC's Michael Isikoff: “Haley Barbour ultimately decided not to run for president after concluding that Barack Obama will be too tough to beat in a general election race, according to two Barbour advisors familiar with the Mississippi governor’s decision making. Barbour ‘wanted to run, he would have loved it,’ said one of the advisers who asked for anonymity. But while he saw a path to winning the nomination, the Mississippi governor and his closest advisors became gun shy when they looked at his prospects of prevailing against Obama and a likely united Democratic party behind him in the general election, the advisers said. ‘It would have required an inside straight,’ the adviser said.”

More from Isikoff: “The hard-headed analysis by Barbour and his top advisers about the difficulties of beating Obama could be depressing news for other GOP candidates preparing to mount a campaign for president. But in Barbour’s case, it was complicated by his own potential political baggage -- a career Washington lobbyist with a southern drawl who has been under fire in the past for making remarks that were criticized as racially insensitive. Both were problems that ‘would have to be managed,’ said one of the advisers.”   

The New York Post: “Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday that he will not run for president in 2012 -- a surprising move from the well-connected former lobbyist who had already hired staffers in key states and toured the country meeting with state Republican leaders.”

GINGRICH: Newt Gingrich was paid $300,000 to consult the ethanol lobbying group Growth Energy in 2009, the Washington Post’s Cillizza notes, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

PALIN: Levi Johnston is coming out with a book this fall called, "Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs."

PAUL: “Texas Rep. Ron Paul plans to announce the formation of a 2012 presidential exploratory committee at an event in Iowa” today, the AP writes.

PAWLENTY: NBC's Lauren Selsky notes that Pawlenty said this on FOX last night, when asked about his standing in the polls: "These early polls don't mean much, as you know they're mostly name ID polls. Only about half the people who are Republicans in the country even know who I am, and if these polls were an indicator of future success, our friend Rudy Giuliani would be president today."

“Tim Pawlenty ripped into President Barack Obama’s energy policy Monday, saying he's failed to seize opportunities to drill for domestic energy sources.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes. “‘This is a president who has sat on his hands as it relates to drilling,’ Pawlenty told Chicago's "Don Wade & Roma" radio show.”

ROMNEY: “Live by the op-ed, die by the op-ed,” writes the Boston Globe of the lesson Mitt Romney probably learned after criticizing President Obama in an op-ed for “one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.” More from the Globe: “The former Massachusetts governor found that when you virtually limit your media exposure to written columns, as opposed to unrestricted media questions, you can control your message — but you also leave no one else to blame when there's trouble.”

Politico writes that Mitt Romney encouraged Donald Trump to jump into the presidential race yesterday, when he said on Fox that Tump is “a terrific guy and I wish him the very best… I hope he runs, come on in, the water's fine."

SANTORUM: Rick Santorum told the Des Moines Register that he believes medical care will be reduced for disabled children under President Obama’s health care law: “In socialized medicine countries, where is what Obamacare is and leads us, children with these types of disabilities simply are not given the access to care.” He used the example of his daughter who was born with a genetic abnormality: “I look at how society with socialized medicine treats children like Bella, and children like Bella don't survive,” he said.

TRUMP: Now Donald Trump is questioning if President Obama deserved to be admitted to Ivy League schools -- an insinuation some might see tinged with race. “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records. … "I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard. We don't know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president."

Trump will visit New Hampshire tomorrow where he will make approximately eight stops, the New Hampshire Union-Leader’s DiStaso reports. Among those stops are a press availability at Pease International Tradeport and a small fundraiser for the state GOP in Portsmouth.

‘I would do anything for love’… Meatloaf says he’d campaign for Trump.