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2012: The money hustle

Candidates next week will be shuttling around the country trying raise money just before the June 30th FEC filing deadline, “the first milestone,” the Washington Times writes, “when the candidates, aides and the press can compare who is best-positioned in the early money chase — and who is coming up short.”

“Republicans are starting to pay more attention to the candidates who hope to take on President Barack Obama next year, and so far that's been a good thing for Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty,” AP writes. “Not for Newt Gingrich. Overall, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows, Republicans are giving the field of challengers a so-so assessment as interest in the race increases. And, with growing doubts among Americans that Obama deserves re-election, Democratic interest in the GOP field is significant, too.”

BACHMANN: “New York retiree Phyllis Hornung has never been to Minnesota and has no ties to the state -- other than the steady stream of campaign donations she sends to Michele Bachmann,” the AP reports. “Almost every other month last year, Hornung sent the conservative Republican congresswoman a check for $25, or sometimes $75. ‘She captured my heart immediately,’ said Hornung.” The big picture: “The $350 that Hornung has donated is a tiny fraction of the $13.5 million Bachmann hauled in for her 2010 race — more than any other candidate for Congress. But donors such as Hornung are the main supply line for a fundraising machine that is humming as Bachmann begins her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.”

CAIN: The L.A. Times’ Malcolm writes: “Herman Cain may have found the perfect way to get media attention Wednesday: call the real journalists ‘stupid’ for believing the words that come out of his mouth, and deem the most popular faux journalist a racist for ... being a comedian.” What Cain said, "Don’t try to pass a 2,700-page bill.” And: "You and I didn’t have time to read it. We’re too busy trying to live — send our kids to school. That’s why I am only going to allow small bills — three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table." Cain contends, “Some of these idiotic reporters thought I was serious. The joke’s on them.”

GINGRICH: Gingrich said yesterday in Baltimore to the Maryland GOP, per Talking Points Memo: "No administration in modern times has failed younger blacks more than the Obama administration.”

Newt Gingrich will meet the Iowa Tea Party bus tour on Saturday in Indianola, IA, his campaign announced yesterday. But Gingrich “declined to purchase a lot today to participate in the Ames straw poll, a national spokesman confirmed in an interview with The Des Moines Register. The decision is not a reflection of a troubled campaign but rather an effort to run a more focused grassroots organization, said spokesman R.C. Hammond.”

Gingrich was on with Bill O’Reilly yesterday and defended his campaign defections, NBC’s Lauren Selsky reports. O’Reilly asked if he was surprised so many people quit, to which Gingrich said he “wasn't surprised, because we had a basic difference about strategy. … I think we're in a different environment, like 1980 and 1994, and we need a very positive, solutions-oriented campaign and one that goes directly to all Americans and is very different from a traditional political campaign.

Asked why they all quit, Gingrich said, “I think part of it is just that the route I’m taking is a hard route. It’s a route that says we're going to talk about very big ideas; we're going to use the Internet…. We had a fundamental disagreement about the approach to the American people and how you should structure the campaign. John McCain went through something like this in the summer of 2007 -- the way you should focus on it.” And he said his advisers apparently thought his book on American exceptionalism was “fluff.” “I happen to think that's integral to the 2012 election,” Gingrich said of talking about the topic. “The consultants all thought it was fluff, that it was irrelevant.”

HUNTSMAN: Business Week’s McCormick this central point, “Every Presidential candidate has political baggage. Much of Jon Huntsman's is made in China. It's not just the two years he spent as Barack Obama's ambassador in Beijing, which some fellow Republicans are using to question whether he's sufficiently conservative. As he launches his campaign, Huntsman will likely find himself having to answer a much tougher question from recession-weary voters: Why is the booming family business that made him rich creating thousands of jobs in Asia and the rest of the world instead of the U.S.?”

National Journal interviews Huntsman, and he says his decision to enter the race was a last-minute one and that as of six months ago he always intended to return to the private sector. “Huntsman emphasized that his intention to resign had nothing to do with his political ambitions. ‘Heavens no,’ he said. ‘Absolutely not… That was a last-minute decision.’” National Journal notes: “The question of when Huntsman started preparing for a White House bid is a sensitive one because federal law prohibits administration officials from engaging in politics.” And: “Huntsman declined to reveal the amount of his own money he had invested in the campaign, but put the amount at $1 million to $2 million ‘in rough terms.’”

The Louisville Courier-Journal also brings up the Immaculate Campaign: “The move should prompt other questions that go beyond whether it's good form for an ambassador to resign and run against the president that appointed him. An ambassador is prohibited from taking part in partisan campaigns, but the story goes that some powerful elves were busy building Mr. Huntsman's campaign that was ready and waiting upon his return. The newly minted candidate said he was shocked and humbled to find all that groundwork done. Voters are forgiven if their skeptics' meters hit tilt.”

PAUL: “Ron Paul is ramping up his travel schedule over the next week while promoting a sometimes-overlooked part of his platform: his opposition to abortion rights,” The Hill writes. “The libertarian-leaning Texas congressman will look to burnish his credentials with anti-abortion-rights voters when he speaks at the National Right to Life Committee’s annual convention on Friday in the Sunshine State.”

PAWLENTY: “With a key fundraising deadline looming, GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will spend nearly all of next week soliciting money from donors to fill his campaign coffers,” The Hill reports. “Between Monday and Thursday, the former Minnesota governor is scheduled to travel to New York City, Atlanta and Florida to make one last fundraising push before Thursday’s second-quarter filing deadline with the Federal Election Commission.”

A survey of the National Association of Evangelicals’ 100-some board members revealed that 45 percent of them would name Tim Pawlenty as their favored Republican candidate, versus just 14 percent for Mitt Romney, Christianity Today reports.

PERRY: Perry told McClatchy yesterday on his considering a bid for president: "I'm still giving it good cogitation," he said.

Another indication Rick Perry wants to run for president? His aides are contacting the organizer of a small 4-H fair in New Hampshire to inquire about setting up a booth at the fair, Real Clear Politics reports. The organizer, Republican consultant Fran Wendelboe, said, “My event is pretty small potatoes. You don't have someone call to inquire about renting a booth unless you're pretty sure that you may need to book one."

Perry got a lukewarm reception from audience members at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials yesterday, the Texas Tribune reports. “Perry’s appearance before the group in San Antonio came less than 24 hours before a House committee will meet to decide if one of the most divisive issues of the session, the “sanctuary cities” legislation, advances to the House floor for a debate. The timing did not appear to be lost on the crowd of more than 500. And if it was a litmus test for Perry, who is considering a run for the White House next year, it signaled the climb to woo Hispanics is currently an uphill one at best.”

ROMNEY: Mitt Romney is getting his own super-PAC, called Restore our Future PAC. The New York Times: “Citing a similar effort that recently started on behalf of President Obama and the Obama campaign’s vow to raise record amounts for his re-election, Mr. Romney’s campaign welcomed the help.”

Romney sat down with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to criticize President Obama’s economic policies ahead of the president’s visit to the city today to talk about manufacturing. “[I[s he proud of the 160,000 jobs lost in Pennsylvania since he was elected president?" Romney said. "Or the 51,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Pennsylvania?"

A little presumptuous? “Mitt Romney is planning to travel to London next month for a fund-raiser in one of the banking capitals of the world, soliciting campaign contributions from well-connected Americans abroad as he attempts to expand his fund-raising base across the Atlantic,” the Boston Globe reports.