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2012: A busy day in New Hampshire

BACHMANN: Politico writes of the rivalry between fellow Minnesotans Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty: “While both are card-carrying Republicans, they are members of different GOP tribes, never at war but not exactly at peace either. Now the congresswoman and the former governor are on a crash course that could shed revealing light on an already distant and awkward relationship—testing the Minnesota Nice ethos.”

CHRISTIE: “It’s too early to say the Iowa GOP mission to draft in-your-face New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run for president was unsuccessful, two team members said Wednesday,” the Des Moines Register says. “The Iowa businessmen said Christie is savvy enough to understand the implications of scheduling a visit to Iowa in July, just three weeks before the crucial straw poll here.”

Christie “is catching grief for taking a state helicopter to his son's high school baseball game,” the AP writes. “While state police helicopters cost $2,500 an hour to operate, State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said that giving Christie a lift did not cost taxpayers anything extra because the pilots need to put in flying time anyway to keep their skills sharp.”

The New York Times: “Woe to the politician who claims to be fiscally responsible, in touch with regular folk, and turns out to have some pricey habits. Think Newt Gingrich and Tiffany, John Edwards and haircuts, Sarah Palin and clothes — and now, Chris Christie and helicopters.”

DEMINT: A spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) walked back the senator’s comments, earlier yesterday that he was considering a presidential bid. According to CBS, the spokesman Wesley Denton said, “Sen. DeMint is focused on his job to stop the reckless spending in Washington and helping to elect more principled conservatives to join the fight in the Senate.” 

The Daily Caller reports that a source close to the senator said DeMint “would pray about it because it will literally take an act of God to get him into the race.”

HUCKABEE: At a lecture at the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service, Mike Huckabee said he wouldn’t rule out accepting a spot as a vice presidential nominee, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. “I haven't closed doors because I found out long ago that that's not a smart thing to do. Then you try to figure out how to open them when they come knocking. I'm not looking for anything, I'm content with what I'm doing. That's what I plan to do,” he said.

HUNTSMAN: National Review Online outlines Jon Huntsman’s critiques of President Obama’s stimulus plan – not that he didn’t support it, but that he thought it should have been bigger, targeted differently, and included tax cuts. And as governor of Utah, he said that the GOP was wrong in its opposition to the program: “I don’t even know the congressional leadership. I’ve not met them. I don’t listen to or read whatever it is they say because it’s inconsequential — completely,” he told the Washington Times in 2009.

PALIN: Sarah Palin’s bus tour will take her to New Hampshire’s Seacoast tonight, where she will participate in a clambake with a number of New Hampshire Republicans, the New Hampshire Union-Leader’s DiStaso reports.

PAWLENTY: Tim Pawlenty is trying to win Iowa the traditional way: one voter at a time, the New York Times notes. “It may not be known for months whether Mr. Pawlenty and other candidates taking a traditional route in the party’s nominating contest — a word-of-mouth campaign that spreads through organization — will ultimately be rewarded or left behind. But there was a growing sense among party activists interviewed here over two days that the presidential campaign needed to be treated with a greater seriousness and urgency.”

ROMNEY: Per the AP, “Mitt Romney is opening his first formal day as a 2012 Republican presidential contender with a direct challenge to the man he wants to replace and is pitching himself as ready to repair the nation's struggling economy. ‘Barack Obama has failed America,’ he says.

The Boston Globe: “Mitt Romney will begin to engage voters more directly and offer more specifics on policy after his formal entry in the race for the GOP presidential nomination today, his advisers say…  After a lengthy precampaign buildup that has been light on public events — and even lighter on policy proposals — Romney’s strategists are promising specific plans to curb spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Those plans, they say, will be rolled out in the coming weeks or months.”

The Wall Street Journal writes that Mitt Romney’s formal entrance into the presidential race in New Hampshire today may be overshadowed by near-simultaneous appearances by Sarah Palin, who appears in Boston around the same time Romney will take to the stage in New Hampshire, and then later visits the state herself, and Rudy Giuliani, who will headline a GOP fundraiser in Concord, NH. 

Is Romney the 2012 version of McCain? Politico: "Mitt Romney couldn’t be more different than John McCain. But as he begins his long-anticipated presidential campaign in New Hampshire Thursday, the similarities there are hard to miss. Like McCain, who defeated him there four years ago, the former Massachusetts governor has a gold-plated organization stocked with New Hampshire primary veterans, enjoys universal name identification and owns a bank full of political goodwill stored up through repeated visits and TLC lavished on all manner of state representatives, county commissioners and sheriffs."

"There’s one big difference, however. Unlike the Arizona senator, Romney isn’t suffering through a summer spiral downward. Just the opposite: he’s on a torrid fund-raising pace, is driving a consistent economic message and, perhaps most important, he’s hitting all his marks as some of his most formidable challengers struggle to penetrate a news cycle focused on potential candidates as much as those who are actually running."