2012 Campaign Starts in 3, 2 . .

Today’s meeting of the Republican Governors’ Association has, not surprisingly, been greeted with speculation that the party’s 2012 presidential nominee is likely in the room.

Facing the prospect of being out of power at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for the first time since 1992, Republicans are looking to their governors to fill the leadership vacuum. Speculation has centered on the telegenic Palin despite her tumultuous two months on the national political scene. She likely would have competition for a possible 2012 bid from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — all in attendance at the three-day meeting.

Alaska’s once-again full time governor, Sarah Palin, for one is trying to tamp down talk that she’ll be among the contenders.

In a series of national television interviews, Palin did not rule out seeking the presidency, saying, “It’s crazy to close a door before you know what’s even open in front of you.”

Asked about the 2012 talk at a news conference Thursday morning, Palin said, “I, like all of our governors, we’re focused on the future. The future for us is not the 2012 presidential race. It’s next year and our next budget, and the next reforms in our states and in 2010 we’re going to have 36 governors’ positions open across the U.S. That’s what we’re focused on.”

The most sensible reaction:

“Anybody here tonight that has thought about the 2012 presidential election needs to keep their eye on the ball,” Barbour, a former Republican Party chairman, told a reception for the governors and their supporters. “We don’t need to talk about 2012.”

Although, sadly, fundraising probably needs to start no later than February.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. markm says:


  2. Anderson says:

    Y’all outside Mississippi, help me out:

    Does ANYONE in the GOP think that Haley Barbour is a serious candidate for the White House?

    Besides Barbour himself, that is?

    Please explain. Thanks!

  3. James Joyner says:

    Does ANYONE in the GOP think that Haley Barbour is a serious candidate for the White House?

    My sense is that he’s competent and he increased his reputation along those lines with Katrina. But, no, I’ve never thought of him as presidential timber. And having been a successful lobbyist is a likely disqualifier as a practical matter.

  4. Brett says:

    They should probably wait until late 2009, then begin by setting up their exploratory committees. That gives them two years until the primaries seriously begin to get their campaign houses in order, and allows them to see what they might be up against in Obama.

  5. just me says:

    I don’t know him that well other than that he is a governor.

    I would never say he can’t be a serious contender-after all the response to Bill Clinton running as his name was floated was “Bill Who?”

    I find Bobby Jindal and Pawlenty a bit more interesting at this point-but to be honest I would love to have a break from presidential politics for at least 2 years.

  6. sam says:

    Palin did not rule out seeking the presidency, saying, “It’s crazy to close a door before you know what’s even open in front of you.”

    Good Lord — She’s channeling W!

  7. John425 says:

    I will donate to any “Palin for Higher Office” campaign!!!

  8. tom p says:

    It is rather obvious that the next GOP for president will come from the Gov Mansions(what rising star from congress? McConnell? no way, too much a creature of the Senate, Boehner? a LOSER, Newt? He was kicked out…) That said, as I have said before, Obama has merely to be competent to be re-elected. That will not be good enough for a GOP candidate (from the outside looking in). A low bar, for sure, but Bush set it.

  9. fester says:

    I would think fundraising for an official committee will take a while longer to be set up. My guess is that there will be a couple of leadership PACs formed/expanded that have massive interest in Iowa and New Hampshire issues (can’t think of any single issue there that is common between the two states) which would be a good justification for plenty of bad corn dogs over the summer county fair season.