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2012: Christie 'giving serious thought' to getting in

The Democratic-leaning group Priorities USA Action is hitting the Republican 2012ers on education: “During this month’s Republican presidential debates, the candidates have instead argued over who would do the most to eliminate nationwide education standards and reduce federal funding for education. Mitt Romney opposed attempts to decrease class size, Rick Perry attacked the Race to the Top Program, and most candidates proposed abolishing the Department of Education.”

More: “But the Republican shift on education policy is not mirrored by changes in polling. In fact, the American public remains overwhelmingly committed to government investment in education as a national priority. Republican statements in opposition to small class sizes, the Race to the Top program and the Department of Education are broadly outside mainstream American views.”

BACHMANN: Bachmann told NBC News that her campaign is "on pace" with its fundraising objectives -- and said her campaign will "probably be reporting even more" than it has in the past, NBC’s Jamie Novogrod reports.

CAIN: The Wall Street Journal’s Henninger writes, “Herman Cain is a credible candidate. Whether he deserves to be president is something voters will decide. But he deserves a serious look.” Then again, his campaign said yesterday that Cain won’t campaign in Iowa until November (!!!).

CHRISTIE: “After months of hedging, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is giving serious thought to jumping into the ring for a GOP presidential run -- and could make his decision next week, The [New York] Post has learned. The announcement may come as soon as Monday, said sources familiar with Christie’s thinking. The renewed consideration about a White House run came after prodding this week from some Republicans he idolizes, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former President George W. Bush, sources said.”

The Post’s editorial page continues to push his candidacy: “We hope it’s a go. The GOP needs a strong candidate if it is to capitalize on its opportunities next year. Chris Christie made a persuasive case for himself in California Tuesday night. It’s pretty clear that Republicans want to hear more -- and we suspect strongly that America does as well. Ramp it up, governor.”

The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger also reports: “Gov. Chris Christie is seriously rethinking his months of denials and may launch a campaign for the White House after all, a source close to the governor said.” Another point: “In addition, the Governor’s wife, Mary Pat, no longer objects to a presidential run, according to an adviser to the governor. … [A] few months ago former first lady Barbara Bush called Mary Pat to assuage her concerns about life in the White House, the adviser said.”

George Pataki wants Christie to run.

GINGRICH: How bad is Gingrich’s fundraising number going to be? A reporter asked this yesterday: “With the fundraising quarter coming to a close, what….” That prompted this response from Gingrich: “See, I knew you couldn’t resist. I’m not going to answer you. I think you should, you should really go home and think about why you would even ask that today.”

The AP: “Hoping to revive his flagging bid for the Republican presidential nomination, former House speaker Newt Gingrich is calling for an overhaul of the way Americans pay taxes, buy health care, and contribute to Social Security. Gingrich mapped out the 10-point plan, which he’s calling The 21st Century Contract with America, in a speech at a Des Moines insurance company yesterday.”

PERRY: “Republican kingmakers in Iowa say that support for Rick Perry has weakened as he struggles to gain traction among social conservatives and proponents of border-control reforms,” The Hill writes.

ROMNEY: “Mitt Romney is on pace to raise between $11 million and $13 million for the latest fund-raising quarter, a haul that would be much lower than the $18.2 million he brought in during the previous three months, according to a person familiar with the campaign’s finances,” the Boston Globe reports. “Romney’s strong performance in a trio of recent debates had helped his fund-raising by motivating his supporters, but it was not enough to move some of the fence-sitters over to his camp, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the campaign has not publicly released its numbers yet.”

The Romney campaign did not confirm the number. Spokesman Ryan Williams, echoing comments made to the Boston Globe by other campaign officials, told First Read to expect Romney to “raise considerably less” than the first quarter. “The first reporting period is usually the best finance report for a campaign,” Williams said. “We are going to raise considerably less than what we did in our first reporting period, but we will still meet our finance goals for this quarter. Unlike other candidates, all of the dollars we raise will be for the primary. Rick Perry is a brand new candidate raising primary and general election dollars, and as the governor of a large state and former RGA chair we suspect he will lead the Republican field in fundraising for this quarter.”

Romney will be interviewed on Mike Huckabee’s show to air this weekend. “The two men have had a tense relationship since 2008, when a surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses by Mr. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, upended a carefully designed plan by Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, to win the state that year,” the New York Times writes.

During the lead-up to the caucuses in 2007, they traded increasingly hostile barbs.

Romney says Amtrak should be privatized. (Over to you, Mr. Vice President.)

SANTORUM: “News Corp., the station’s parent company, paid Santorum $239,000 to contribute to Fox News in 2010 and the first half of 2011, according his personal financial disclosure report out Thursday,” Politico writes, adding, “The former Pennsylvania senator made almost $350,000 in the political punditry business during that time, thanks to his other previous gigs as a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and fill-in host for Bill Bennett’s conservative radio show.”