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GOP hopefuls angle for advantage, Obama goes for secret donations

As Republican presidential hopefuls position themselves, party leaders look for more “responsible adults” to run. Meanwhile, Obama’s campaign will solicit secret donations, which he once criticized.

By Staff writer / May 1, 2011

Former Minnesota Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty greets audience members at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation's "Presidential Summit on Spending and Job Creation" in Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

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The candidates for president in next year’s election are maneuvering for position as the inevitable winnowing and bankroll-building accelerates.

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Since only a few have taken the formal steps necessary to run, by “candidates” we mean the prominent names cited by that oracle coined years ago by columnist Russell Baker: “The Great Mentioner.”

In that category is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, whose protestations of disinterest have been issued regularly for months.

But Daniels made news this week when he signed legislation that ends government funding for Planned Parenthood in his state and bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He also signed a bill that ties public school teachers’ pay and promotion to effectiveness in the classroom, not just seniority – which, of course, is opposed by teachers’ unions, a strong part of the Democratic base.

Sounds like Daniels is moving in the direction of embracing social issues – something he earlier declared there should be a “truce” on while the federal government sorts out its budget and deficit woes.

Another factor is that his buddy Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has just pulled out of the race, and in the eyes of many observers this has freed up Daniels to run – not to mention the Barbour connections and fund-raising abilities the former chairman of the Republican National Committee could bring to a Daniels campaign.

Moving on to a few others, several were in the kick-off state of New Hampshire this past week.

“Five possible contenders, including three considered in the top tier, hacked away at President Barack Obama before enthusiastic conservatives, but aimed no barbs at each other,” reports the Associated Press. “All of them deplored higher taxes, government regulations, and Obama's 2010 health care law. They generally differed more on style than policy, a tactic that may change in coming months.”

Those in the Granite State were former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and pizza magnate Herman Cain.

Mike Huckabee kept himself in the news with a speech to the National Rifle Association blasting Obama on the economy as well as guns. For politicians with national ambitions and an eye on Jewish voters and Israel, it never hurts to mention the Holocaust, as Huckabee did.

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