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2012: Daniels gets more attention

“A shift to foreign policy and national security seems to highlight how weak the current field appears on those issues,” Real Clear Politics writes. “On one end of the spectrum is Huntsman, who has held a number of foreign jobs, and on the other is Michele Bachmann, who has just a few years of experience in the House and has been prone to gaffes. The rest of the field is somewhere in between, but they tend to fall closer to Bachmann's level of experience than Huntsman's.”

A new Quinnipiac poll shows that no potential candidates in the Republican presidential field breaks 20 percent, according to Bloomberg. Mitt Romney leads the pack with 18 percent.

DANIELS: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said that he spoke to former President George W. Bush about running for president in 2012, although he said the details of the conversation were “between him and me,” Real Clear Politics writes of Daniels’ appearance on Fox on Tuesday.

NBC’s Jason Seher breaks down Indiana’s new education law, which Daniels will discuss in his speech today. The centerpiece of the sweeping reforms is expanding vouchers and school choice.  -The law also lowers obstacles to increasing the number of charter schools in the state. Another part of the education reform is changing how teachers are paid.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Daniels joked about how much fun it would have been to run against his friend, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who decided not to run. “‘I tell you what — you all would have had a little more fun, a few more laughs, if we were both in there. And it would’ve been very clean and upbeat, which I hope it will be, anyway,” Daniels said.

Daniels spoke to a group of reporters in New York City yesterday. NRO’s Ramesh Ponnoru’s takeaways: he’s not combative when criticizing Democrats or Republicans; he is passionate about cutting entitlements for the wealthy; and when asked whether he’s prepared to debate President Obama on foreign policy, he candidly answered, “Probably not.” 

The Daily Caller has this tough headline: “Mitch Daniels isn’t ready to be president

Noting that a presidential announcement could come on May 12, the Indiana Republican Party’s spring dinner, the Washington Post’s Cilizza publishes a list of Daniels’ inner circle.

NPR profiles Daniels, which it says was offered Dan Quayle’s vacant Senate seat in 1988, but turned it down.

HUCKABEE: Huckabee will speak at the Republican Leadership Conference in Louisiana in June, which according to Politico is the latest indication that he’s looking seriously at running for president.

HUNTSMAN: Jon Huntsman formed a federal political action committee, “H-PAC,” on Tuesday, his first concrete step toward a presidential campaign, CNN reports. A spokesman said he will not form an exploratory committee and will simply make a final decision early this summer.

PALIN: Sarah Palin spoke in Baldwin County, AL, last night, where she told an audience that she’d visit some of the tornado destruction in the state, WKRG reports. She also said she was anxious for President Obama to release pictures of Osama Bin Laden’s body “so the world would know that you don’t challenge the United States.”

PAUL: Predictably, Rep. Ron Paul says U.S. troops should come home from Afghanistan now.

PAWLENTY: Speaking in Ames, IA, Tim Pawlenty told the AP that he would devote the necessary “one-on-one” attention to the state that party activists expect.

Pawlenty told Radio Iowa yesterday that Republican presidential hopefuls should start campaigning against President Obama, according to Reuters. “You know, it's May and I can understand if people didn't want to start in December or January. I mean, in the past they've said, 'That's too early,' he said. “Well, you know, it's time.”

ROMNEY: Mother Jones interviews Bruce Keough, the 2008 director of Romney’s New Hampshire campaign who says he won’t rejoin in 2012 because “he’s no longer sure what Romney stands for.” “I don't think the voters are looking for somebody who's going to be recasting himself," Keough said. "They want somebody who's been true to a certain set of political ideals for a while."

SANTORUM: The Rick Santorum campaign announced its official formation of a presidential exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission, making him eligible for tomorrow’s South Carolina debate. In a statement, Santorum said, “The debate this Thursday is a unique opportunity to put forth ideas and solutions to bring our economy back on track, and with Osama bin Laden's death, I look forward to also discussing in depth ways to tackle our many national security challenges.”