A WASHINGTON source is reporting that Haley Barbour, the Republican Mississippi governor, has “left the door open” to a candidacy for president in 2012. In political jargon, Barbour, once the Republican national chairman, is sending a coy signal that he may very well run if the planets line up in his favor. It’s smart politics. He’ll keep everybody guessing that he might be the 25th or 50th potential Republican candidate in the race and lobbyists and donors will tread carefully around him the next year or so in the outside chance that the will be in the presidential pack.
The former New York Times columnist Russell Baker once called it the great mentioning game. And you have little chance of winning a free lunch at McDonald’s if you are not at least mentioned on all of the Sunday morning talk shows, particularly by George Will on a good day. Newt Gingrich also says he might run if things don’t change. He had better hope that they do inasmuch as President Obama’s latest ABC News poll numbers gives Barack a startling 72 pct. “favorability” rating with Americans. Against congressional Republicans, he leads 61-24.