Charlie Cook, looking at the recent NBC/WSJ poll, writes: “One potentially useful exercise is to sort the candidates into brackets. If you add up the Romney, Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman votes in the July survey, it totals 34 percent, basically one out of three Republican primary voters. Add up the Bachmann, Perry, Paul, Cain, and Rick Santorum voters, the more conservative of the two brackets, and it’s 44 percent. Gingrich always goes his own way, so it’s hard to assign him and his 8 percent to either bracket. Fourteen percent of Republicans don’t express a favorite in this field.”
HUNTSMAN: The New York Times: “Jon M. Huntsman Jr.’s campaign manager has resigned less than a month after Mr. Huntsman began his bid for the Republican presidential nomination… The manager, Susie Wiles, who had helped Rick Scott, a Republican, get elected governor in Florida last November, will be replaced by Matt David, the campaign’s communications director, officials said.”
The Times adds that “Wiles reportedly clashed with [senior adviser John] Weaver over the last month as the campaign got under way, according to people familiar with the private interaction between the two.”
PAWLENTY: On the campaign trail yesterday, Pawlenty said, per NBC's Morgan Parmet: "We've learned some other things along the way since President Obama's been a candidate. You can't put somebody in the Oval Office who hasn't had executive experience leading a large enterprise and driving it to conclusion under difficult circumstances with a public component to it. He was a college professor. He was a community organizer. He was in the United States Senate long enough to have a cup of coffee before it got cold and then we put him in the oval office and made him the leader of our nation and wonder why it didn't work. We don't want to make that mistake again."
Meanwhile, “ABC Sports may slap presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty with a cease-and-desist letter for improperly using its footage in a political advertisement,” the Des Moines Register reports. “‘It’s a violation of our copyright and exclusive proprietary rights,’ said Louise Argianas, director of rights and clearances for ABC Sports. The struggling Pawlenty campaign launched ‘The American Comeback,’ a television commercial with a down-but-not-out theme, in Iowa on Wednesday. The 30-second spot uses TV footage from the so-called “Miracle on Ice,” the hockey game in which the U.S. team beat the supposedly invincible Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics.”
ROEMER: “Former Louisiana Gov. Charles “Buddy” Roemer kicked off his Republican presidential campaign Thursday in Hanover, N.H., where the state’s ‘Live Free or Die’ motto pairs well with his campaign slogan, ‘Free to Lead.’”