Quick Hits

Some other items making the rounds today.

The Iowa Republican polled 399 likely Iowa Republican voters on their preference come 2012. Former Arkansas Governor and current Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee finished on top garnering 22 percent while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished second with 18 percent. Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House from Georgia, finished "surprisingly well" in their view with 14 percent in third place. Sarah Palin finished fourth with 11 percent. Texas Congressman Ron Paul garnered 5 percent, while Pawlenty, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 1 percent. Former US Senator Rick Santorum garnered support in the poll but it did not surpass the one percent threshold. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Texas Governor Rick Perry did not register any support in the poll. Twenty three percent of those surveyed remain undecided.

Not mentioned above is Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico Governor, much to the chagrin of Andrew Sullivan who today has a post on the libertarian-minded Johnson entitled A Man Who Deserves to be Viable in 2012.

Down in the Palmetto State, Alvin Green said he is not quitting the race even after his indictment on a felony charge of obscenity. The Chair of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, Carol Fowler, issued a statement calling for Greene to resign from the race.

A panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has granted a stay preventing the resumption of gay marriages in California until at least the end of the year. The Ninth Circuit panel - Judges Edward Leavy, Michael Hawkins and Sidney Thomas - also expedited the case's appeal. During the week of Dec. 6, a separate, randomly selected panel of the Ninth Circuit will take up the request by Prop. 8 proponents to throw out Walker's ruling. More from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Obama Administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government, according to Congressional and administration officials. The New York Times has more on the story. This move is not likely to please many. On the right, any reapprochement with Cuba is too much. On the left as long as the embargo remains in place, it is just window dressing. Moreover, the US has no leverage to speak of. It is now Spain and Brazil that have been able to extract concessions from Cuba. In July, the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos secured the release of 52 political dissendents held in Cuban prisons.

Quick Hits

Some other items making the rounds today.

The Iowa Republican polled 399 likely Iowa Republican voters on their preference come 2012. Former Arkansas Governor and current Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee finished on top garnering 22 percent while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished second with 18 percent. Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House from Georgia, finished "surprisingly well" in their view with 14 percent in third place. Sarah Palin finished fourth with 11 percent. Texas Congressman Ron Paul garnered 5 percent, while Pawlenty, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 1 percent. Former US Senator Rick Santorum garnered support in the poll but it did not surpass the one percent threshold. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Texas Governor Rick Perry did not register any support in the poll. Twenty three percent of those surveyed remain undecided.

Not mentioned above is Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico Governor, much to the chagrin of Andrew Sullivan who today has a post on the libertarian-minded Johnson entitled A Man Who Deserves to be Viable in 2012.

Down in the Palmetto State, Alvin Green said he is not quitting the race even after his indictment on a felony charge of obscenity. The Chair of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, Carol Fowler, issued a statement calling for Greene to resign from the race.

A panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has granted a stay preventing the resumption of gay marriages in California until at least the end of the year. The Ninth Circuit panel - Judges Edward Leavy, Michael Hawkins and Sidney Thomas - also expedited the case's appeal. During the week of Dec. 6, a separate, randomly selected panel of the Ninth Circuit will take up the request by Prop. 8 proponents to throw out Walker's ruling. More from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Obama Administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government, according to Congressional and administration officials. The New York Times has more on the story. This move is not likely to please many. On the right, any reapprochement with Cuba is too much. On the left as long as the embargo remains in place, it is just window dressing. Moreover, the US has no leverage to speak of. It is now Spain and Brazil that have been able to extract concessions from Cuba. In July, the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos secured the release of 52 political dissendents held in Cuban prisons.

Jeb Bows Out, Thune Prepping While Santorum Heads to Iowa

Dubbed the "the candidate hiding in plain sight" and deemed by many especially among mainline conservatives and neo-conservatives as perhaps the best hope for the GOP to win back the White House, former two term Florida Governor Jeb Bush today quashed speculation that had been building in recent weeks that he was considering a presidential run in 2012.

The argument for Jeb Bush ran something like this: each of the other presumed front runners have obvious perhaps fatal flaws and thus only Jeb Bush can pull together the disparate threads of the GOP. Moreover, he has strong conservative credentials, is the only Republican ever to win two terms of the Sunshine state, has a political pedigree second to none even if tarnished by his older brother, can appeal to the all-important Hispanic population with his Mexican-born wife in tow, is perceived as less divisive on social issues who would thus appeal to independents, would do well in his home state that electoral vote rich battleground state that has often decided presidential elections and unlike older brother can speak in complete sentences.

Despite the growing speculation that he was at least considering a run in 2012, today when asked Louisville’s ABC affiliate WHAS following an event for Rand Paul if he was eying the White House, Jeb Bush was adamant. “I am not running for president,” he said.

Politico has more on Jeb Bush's denial of interest.

There's more...

Republican presidential prospects in Iowa for 2012

The decision won't be final until the Republican National Committee's summer meeting in August, but it appears likely that the Iowa caucuses will remain the first presidential nominating contest in 2012. This week the RNC's Temporary Delegate Selection Committee recommended adopting a rule that would allow only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to hold primaries or caucuses before March 6, 2012. Click here to read the rule, which would also require all states that hold nominating contests before April 2010 to award their delegates proportionally, rather than through a winner-take-all system that is typical for the Republican Party.

So, Iowa will continue to be a frequent travel stop for Republicans considering a presidential bid. It's been six months since I last discussed the prospects of likely challengers to President Obama in Iowa. New speculation is after the jump.

There's more...

Santorum Continuing to Test Presidential Waters

From The Hotline's Erin McPike:

Ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is headed to Palmetto Country next month for a two-day campaign swing.

Santorum, who has already visited IA, will stop in Spartanburg, Greenville and Hilton Head to campaign for Rep. Gresham Barrett (R), who is locked in a tough GOP primary for GOV.

[...]

Santorum has been openly toying with a presidential run in '12. He acknowledged that a trip to IA in late September was designed to gin up interest in his own political future.

Given the complete and utter rejection of Rick Santorum by Pennsylvania voters in 2006, it's pretty remarkable that he could believe he is a serious presidential competitor. Indeed, his 58.6 percent to 41.3 percent loss in his last reelection bid was the worst showing by a Senate incumbent since George McGovern lost his run for a fourth term in 1980 by a 58.2 percent to 39.4 percent margin. But if Santorum wants to make a go of it and Republicans do decide to make him their standard bearer in 2012, you're not likely to hear many complaints from those hoping for a second term for Barack Obama.

There's more...

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