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2012: Newt embraces Lean Six Sigma

BACHMANN: Stu Rothenberg says it’s time to reassess what he calls his “knee-jerk reaction” that a member of the House can’t win the presidency. After all, it’s happened just once – back in 1880, when James Garfield won. And only two other times have members won major party nominations, both in the 19th Century. “But with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann expected to enter the GOP race, and growing speculation that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) might also eventually jump in, it’s time for me to reassess,” Rothenberg writes in Roll Call today.

GINGRICH: Newt Gingrich yesterday signed a pledge from the grassroots organization Strong America Now, which encourages businesses to apply a business model that is supposed to increase efficiency. He signed it “in anticipation of the group’s deficit protest and information event ‘Deficit Free America Summit’ on June 18th in Des Moines, Iowa, the Nashua Telegraph reports.

PALIN: The Sarah Palin camp hits back at Michele Bachmann adviser Ed Rollins for criticizing Palin as not serious, The Hill reports. “Michael Glassner, the chief of staff at Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC, said that Rollins has a history of making foolish comments. ‘Beltway political strategist Ed Rollins has a long, long track record of taking high profile jobs and promptly sticking his foot in his mouth,’ Glassner said in the statement.”

PAUL: Freshman New Hampshire state Sen. Jim Forsyth, who the New Hampshire Union-Leader calls a “rising state conservative leader,” will chair Ron Paul’s campaign in the Granite State, the Union-Leader reports.

PAWLENTY: “Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty secured a major endorsement in the early primary state of South Carolina on Wednesday, picking up the support of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson,” CNN reports. “Wilson will serve as co-chairman of the former Minnesota governor's campaign in South Carolina.”

Forbes columnist Leonard Burman shreds Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan, calling his plans for sustained 5% annual growth and the reduction or elimination of tax rates “fantasy tax policy.” More: “There is one more difference between fantasy sports and fantasy tax policy. The fantasy sport player is just some jock wannabee with a computer. Tim Pawlenty could be the next president.”

Pawlenty’s wife Mary is hitting the campaign solo, Politico writes. She’ll deliver he keynote speech at a Nashua Area Federated Republican Women luncheon on June 20, honoring tea-party congressional candidate Jennifer Horn as woman of the year.

Politico notes that former G.E. CEO Jack Welch praised Pawlenty last night on Piers Morgan’s show on CNN, saying Pawlenty is “starting to intrigue the hell out of me.” When asked by Morgan who on the Republican side interested Welch, he said, “If you had asked me that a month ago, I would have said, well, Mitt Romney might be the best guy, et cetera. The most obvious guy. But everything (I’ve seen) Tim Pawlenty say in the last month appeals to me.” (Here’s video.)

PERRY: While aides continue to insist that Rick Perry is not eyeing a presidential run, the signs are beginning to show that he might be, the Wall Street Journal writes. “Republican operatives in Washington and elsewhere say they have received calls recently from prominent Texas GOP donors seeking advice on how Mr. Perry might navigate a late entry into the field. It was unclear whether Mr. Perry or anyone on his team had instigated the calls.” One hurdle for Perry if he does decide to run? His two top campaign aides both signed on with Newt Gingrich, the Journal says.

ROMNEY: Making a swing through Michigan, Mitt Romney has to defend his opposition to a federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, but he told the Detroit Free Press that he’s “not worried” about his position. He said he agreed with some of the steps Obama took, including running the companies through a structured bankruptcy. “‘What I suggested was they shouldn't just write a check,’” he said.

Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) slammed Romney yesterday for not supporting the auto bailout, the Detroit News reports. “Motor City hospitality dictates a Michigan message to Mitt that our struggling families, entrepreneurs and workers think Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are not rivals, they're running mates,” McCotter, who is considering a presidential bid, said in a statement.

Romney will visit Atlanta, Georgia on June 16 for a fundraiser, the AP reports. State Attorney General Sam Olens is among the co-chairmen for the event.

SANTORUM: Rick Santorum signed the anti-tax pledge from the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform with group president Grover Norquist standing by, the AP writes. Santorum said signing the pledge was a “minimum” and while he offered no specifics said, “We need to have pro-growth oriented taxes to get this economy up and going.”

Santorum will be back in Iowa on Saturday for a homeschooling conference – his 16th trip to the state this election cycle, according to the Des Moines Register.