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Presidential Derby

April 28, 2011 - 6:00pm

Fox News released a poll taken from April 25 until April 27 that had former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts topping the field of possible Republican candidates. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas was right behind Romney with 17 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took third with 9 percent, with businessman Donald Trump in fourth with 8 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich tied for fifth with 7 percent. Businessman Herman Cain took 4 percent, with three candidates -- former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and two Minnesotans, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- right behind him at 3 percent. Gov. Mitch Daniels took 2 percent, and a host of candidates -- former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, activist Fred Karger and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama -- followed with 1 percent The same poll found President Barack Obama with 53 percent favorable ratings compared to 44 percent unfavorable numbers as he gears up to run for a second term in 2012 Trump did not fareas well in the poll. His numbers stood at 33 percent favorable and 57 percent unfavorable. However, Trump did better among Republicans, with 46 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable numbers

Obama is turning to Matthew Barzun, currently serving as the U.S. ambassador to Sweden, to head up his 2012 finance team. Barzun, a veteran of the 2008 campaign, was credited for Obamas success in 2008 with developing a strong showing among small donors The Obama team also brought back some more familiar faces on Friday for their Internet outreach efforts. Joe Rospars was named chief digital strategist and Michael Slaby was named chief integration and innovation officer. Both of them worked on Obamas team in 2008 While it has not gotten much attention, with Obama naming Gen. David Petraeus to head up the CIA, a potentially important piece was removed from the 2012 chessboard. Petraeus had received favorable views and notice as a possible Republican vice presidential hopeful throughout last year

No Republican candidate has been working the early states more than Santorum. The former senator from Pennsylvania plans to spend Monday making his 13th appearance in the Hawkeye State. He is scheduled to speak in Iowa City, Pella and Sioux Center on Monday Keep an eye out on South Carolina on Thursday when a number of the dark-horse candidates are looking to take part in a debate in Greenville. Paul, Santorum, Moore, Pawlenty and former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana are scheduled to attend, and Cain is expected to also take part. Karger is trying to get in but is facing resistance from debate organizers While Gingrich has already launched an exploratory committee, he has yet to officially announce his bid. According to media reports, Gingrich should make a formal announcement this week

Ralph Nader, who has made numerous attempts at the presidency as either an independent or third-party candidate, is starting to raise his profile. Nader looked into the political crystal ball last week, insisting that Obama was a favorite to win a second term in 2012, but called for a liberal to challenge Obama in the Democratic primaries. Asked for names of a potential challenger to Obama, Nader mentioned Texas writer and activist Jim Hightower Wayne Allyn Root, who was former U.S. Rep. Bob Barrs running mate in 2008 on the Libertarian ticket and is a favorite to win the partys nomination next year, has also been raising his profile, throwing jabs at Obama. While Root has been harsh on some of the Republicans, he does have kind words for Trump as a businessman and a job creator Arizona passed a law including vice presidential names on the general election ballot. This makes North Dakota the only state that does not include vice presidential candidates on the ballot.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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