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2012: Still searching for that white knight

“It’s been the recurring theme in the race for the GOP presidential nomination: A candidate enters with a splash, then quickly fizzles, leaving Republicans clamoring for a new white knight to hurtle them into the White House,” The Hill writes. It also reprises this editorial from the (Newark) Star-Ledger’s Kevin Manahan written a week after Perry declared: “Just wait until the country discovers that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is an empty pair of alligator boots with a grade-school understanding of economics who wants to appoint the Holy Spirit as head of Homeland Security. The Batphone on Christie’s desk will start blinking again.”

Perry still leads in a CNN poll 28%-21% over Romney among Republicans, but Romney fares better against Obama than Perry. He trails Obama 48%-47%, but Obama beats Perry by 5. (Via GOP 12.)

CAIN: Comedian Dennis Miller endorsed Cain.

CHRISTIE: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- besieged by Republican insiders to enter the presidential race since Rick Perry’s GOP debate meltdown -- takes the national stage tonight as feature speaker at the presidential library of party icon Ronald Reagan,” the New York Post writes. “Christie is on a four-day political trip that will take him to California, Missouri and Louisiana and that aides say was scheduled well in advance of the latest push to get him to run for the White House.”

HUNTSMAN: “Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) is celebrating a pair of recent polls showing him in double digits among New Hampshire voters as a sign that he is no longer a ‘margin-of-error candidate,’” The Hill writes.

PAUL: NBC’s Betsy Korona reports: After predicting his campaign is “on the verge of an explosion” on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Rep. Ron Paul drew chants and cheers from the crowd of 1,862 supporters (according to the campaign) that packed Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom Monday night. (First Read will have more on that appearance later this morning…)

PERRY: “A video released by the Perry campaign yesterday focuses on Romney’s initial claim that health insurance changes in Massachusetts would ensure that everyone gets portable, affordable health coverage,” the Boston Globe writes. “‘We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care,’ Romney wrote in the hardcover, published in 2010. In a version released in 2011, Romney deleted the phrase, ‘We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.’”

The New York Post describes Rick Perry’s attacks on Romney’s health-care plan yesterday as him “still smarting from a poor debate performance last week.”

Perry’s doing damage control in Iowa and South Carolina with tele-town halls, GOP 12 reports.

“Rick Perry’s candidacy may be on the rocks after his shaky debate and straw-poll defeat in Florida. But in Nevada, the state that hopes to hold the third GOP primary contest of 2012, he’s already accomplished a major feat,” Politico writes. “Perry may have singlehandedly saved the Nevada caucuses. Without even setting foot there, the Texas governor has racked up Nevada’s biggest endorsement – popular Gov. Brian Sandoval – and with it a team of some of the state’s top political operatives. Already, one poll has shown him beating Mitt Romney in the state where the former Massachusetts governor was supposed to be a lock.”

ROMNEY: The New York Daily News called Donald Trump’s comments on his meeting with Romney “faint praise.” Trump said, "It was a nice meeting. We had a good time."