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2012: Gotta have faith (and freedom)

The Hill previews the Faith and Freedom Conference in DC: "A cadre of GOP presidential contenders will be in Washington on Friday and Saturday to attend one of the campaign’s first major cattle calls since the field has taken shape. The Faith and Freedom Conference, a conservative gathering hosted by Christian activist Ralph Reed, will host several of the candidates hoping to capture the GOP nomination."

BACHMANN: "Potential GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann took a jab at Tim Pawlenty Thursday for expressing openness to an individual health insurance mandate as Minnesota's governor," The Hill writes. "I think it will concern the voters," she told conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham.

GIULIANI: "Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said yesterday that he is pondering whether to run again for the presidency and will decide by the end of the summer. If he does run, he said, he would 'do it the right way’ this time and spend more time on person-to-person campaigning in New Hampshire," the Boston Globe says.

PALIN: Josh Green said this about Palin earlier this week: "[I]f Palin wants to win, there's a strong case to be made that she's going about it all wrong -- that she would be better off running a more traditional campaign."

"Trailed by a horde of media, an impersonator, and autograph seekers, Sarah Palin blitzed through Boston yesterday, touring several historic sites and cheerfully skewering Mitt Romney on his home turf on the day of his 2012 presidential campaign launch," the Boston Globe writes. "Then she drove to New Hampshire to court voters just miles from the farm in Stratham where Romney had made his big announcement hours earlier. All the while, the former Alaska governor turned reality television star insisted she was not running for president, at least not yet, and wished Romney well."

PAUL: Rep. Ron Paul took advantage of Mitt Romney’s announcement to release a fundraising solicitation to supporters, Politico’s Ben Smith reports. The email reads, in part, “I don't need 10 million dollars to match Mitt Romney. After all, I don't have to defend a liberal record as governor of Massachusetts. I don't have to defend passing a bill just as bad as ObamaCare or justify conflicting position statements. Mitt Romney does. So it's ok if he has a bit more money than we do. He's going to need it!” 

ROMNEY: "Republican Mitt Romney launched his second bid for the presidency yesterday by focusing almost entirely on jobs and the deficit, saying the country needs someone with a business background to fix the ailing economy overseen by President Obama," the Boston Globe reports, adding, "But illustrating the hurdles for Romney — a presumptive but shaky front-runner in an unsettled GOP field — other potential candidates snatched much of the spotlight on a day that was supposed to be Romney’s alone."

“In his remarks to a crowd gathered at a chili cookout in Stratham, New Hampshire, Romney attacked Obama for failing to create jobs, a lagging housing market, and high federal spending,” Bloomberg writes. “‘Barack Obama has failed America,’ said Romney. ‘When he took office, the economy was in recession and he made it worse and he made it last longer.’” 

The New York Times: “With 17 months to go, Mr. Romney has emerged as the front-runner for the nomination after reassembling a powerful fund-raising apparatus and an extensive campaign operation. But Mr. Romney’s potential Republican challengers have no intention of letting him anoint himself the party’s nominee. That fact that was made starkly clear on Thursday by sharp-edged comments from Sarah Palin and Rudolph W. Giuliani — both of whom are still mulling presidential runs — even as Mr. Romney was making his candidacy official.”