Tales from the Trail

Haley not ready to pick 2012 Republican favorite

An endorsement from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, could give a boost to the  Republican presidential candidate of her choice.

But in an interview with CNN on Thursday she said it’s too soon to pick a favorite in the campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.

“What I have told everybody is now is the time where we need to weigh in on asking them the hard questions,” she said. “This is the time we really need to be doing a lot of the listening to what their details are and what their specifics are and waiting to weigh in until we can really see what the full platform looks like.”

Asked whether she thinks Sarah Palin should run, Haley said she would welcome the former Alaska governor to the race, just as she has the other Republican contenders. Palin’s endorsement of Haley in South Carolina’s 2010 Republican primary helped raise the future governor’s profile.

Palin  is closing in on a self-imposed September  deadline for deciding whether to enter the presidential race — and still giving no hint about when she’ll announce her decision. “Still contemplating whether I should jump in there or not,” Palin said on Fox News Thursday night.

Palin’s take on S&P downgrade

“Many commonsense Americans like myself  saw this day coming,” Sarah Palin says of the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating and the fallout in the markets.

In what reads like an economic policy statement, the former Alaska governor and possible presidential candidate says she is “surprised that so many people seem surprised by S&P’s decision.”

“Weren’t people paying attention over the last year or so when we were getting warning after warning from various credit rating agencies that this was coming?” she said in a lengthy posting on her Facebook page.

Washington Extra – Breaking glass

The new IMF chief is an accomplished negotiator, an international relations expert and a European finance minister.

The newly elected managing director also made history, and it had nothing to do with credentials. Christine Lagarde in 2011 becomes the first woman to head the IMF.

This is also the year when two women might start vying for the 2012 Republican nomination for president — Michele Bachmann is running, Sarah Palin has yet to reveal her intentions.

Palin sees U.S. economy as “sinking ship”

Fresh off her “One Nation” bus tour that may or may not have been a precursor to a 2012 presidential campaign, Sarah  Palin on Sunday likened the sputtering U.S. economy to a sinking ship.

“It’s very noble of President Obama to want to stay at the helm and maybe go down with this sinking ship,” said Palin, who herself  resigned as Alaska governor in 2009 with more than a year left in her first term.

“I prefer, many Americans prefer, that we start plugging the hole, that we start powering the build pump and start getting rid of this unsustainable debt that is sinking our ship. We don’t have to go the way of the Titanic,” Palin said in a  Fox News interview.

Mitt Romney launches 2012 presidential campaign

It was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s day in New Hampshire, but the presidential hopeful ended up sharing the spotlight with a potential rival.

Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” family bus tour just happened to roll into the Granite State on Thursday — the same day  as Romney’s  big announcement.  The former Alaska governor  says the timing of her arrival was just a coincidence.

Romney  formally tossed his hat into the ring to compete for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination under clear blues skies at a New Hampshire farm. The main event was an informal cook-out where the candidate  served up chili and charges that “Barack Obama has failed America.” The former Massachusetts governor blamed the Democratic president for high unemployment,  home  foreclosures and other economic woes, highlighting Obama’s main weakness.

Palin says tour is “not about me”

Is Sarah Palin running for president or isn’t she?

If  the former Alaska governor and Republican superstar knows the answer  to that question, she’s not saying.

And her silence has  speculation running rampant  over the meaning of her  family’s East Cost  bus tour of historic sites.

Is it  a dry-run for the 2012 campaign or just a brilliant burnishing of the Sarah Palin brand?

Let’s fight…

The overnight news of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s resignation sets up a global battle over who will succeed him in the IMF’s glass-and-steel headquarters in Washington. But, of course, that’s not the only fight in town.

The bipartisan group of budget negotiators now known as the Gang-of-Six-Minus-One is expected to meet today to try to salvage hopes of a budget compromise after a shouting match over Medicare sent Republican Senator Tom Coburn to the exit door.

Medicare is the third-rail political issue that recently had Republicans showing signs of retreating from House Budget Chief Paul Ryan’s Republican reform plan. Critics call it a blueprint for privatizing the federal government’s healthcare program for the elderly.

Un-Common culture war over rapper’s visit to White House

The White House is standing by its rapper.

Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., who raps under the name Common, will appear Wednesday night as scheduled at a celebration of American poetry and prose at the White House, despite criticism from Sarah Palin and other conservative political figures about  some of his lines, including a song praising a man convicted for killing a police officer and this 2007 rhyme about former Republican President George W. Bush: “Burn a Bush ’cause for peace he no push no button/Killing over oil and grease/no weapons of destruction.”

The former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate linked to an article on the conservative “Daily Caller” website and tweeted “Oh lovely, White House…”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama does not approve of all of the Grammy-winning rapper’s violent or vulgar lyrics, but believes there is much more to the work of the  ”socially conscious hip-hop artist.”

And then there were two… Republicans exploring presidential bid

Two Republicans have now stepped up to the plate! Well, technically they have stepped up to the plate to consider stepping up to the plate. USA-POLITCS/REPUBLICANS

Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are the first to declare their intentions to explore a possible run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Opinion polls show they have their work cut out for them.

The two Republicans who topped the list of potential candidates that Republicans would likely support for the party nomination were not Romney or Pawlenty in a new  CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

Bachmann is tops in GOP “intensity”

RTR2JTAS_Comp-150x150House Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann may not rate highly with Republican hierophants like George Will. But some Republicans seem to have an intense liking for her none the less, according to a new Gallup poll.

The Gallup survey of more than 1,500 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents shows Bachmann with a 20 percent “positive intensity” rating among 12 potential GOP White House wannabes. That’s second only to Mike Huckabee’s 25 percent rating. And it’s worth noting that Bachmann was recognized by only 52 percent of the respondents, so there may be room for improvement.

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor with a disarming nice-guy persona, has polled strongly among Republican voters for some time. But the results seem encouraging for Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican who has only recently emerged from relative obscurity on the back of the Tea Party movement.