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Presidential Derby

December 13, 2010 - 6:00pm

Public Policy Polling (PPP), a polling firm with connections to Democrats, released a poll Tuesday that showed Ohio will be a battleground, even though President Barack Obama currently leads the four main candidates for the Republican presidential nod.

PPP had Obama edging former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by a single percentage point while the president was only 2 points ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama had larger leads over two other candidates, beating former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich by 6 points and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by 7 percent Romney came out swinging at the tax deal put in place between congressional Republicans and Obama. In an op-ed that appeared in USAToday, Romney slammed the deal for merely extending the tax cuts yet again instead of making them permanent U.S. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana is heading to one of the key battlegrounds for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Pence will be attending a fund-raiser in South Carolina on Wednesday, looking to help fill the coffers of the state GOP

While the rest of the leading Republican candidates do not have much experience in terms of foreign policy, Gingrich weighed in on Monday on the START treaty, urging Congress not to act on the matter for the moment. Gingrich penned an essay in National Review attacking the proposed treaty Despite lambasting the lamestream media, Palin will have Robin Roberts of ABCNews trailing her for a day -- a sign, say some pundits, that she is seriously considering running in 2012 ... From Texas to Massachusetts, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has been calling for a reintegration of faith in the public square, opposing John F. Kennedys promise in 1960 that his Catholic faith would not influence his decision-making. Santorums comments are getting some positive attention from the Catholic press. Santorums possible bid is starting to generate more mainstream media notice as well, including a front page story in Fridays Washington Post

Still no official word on where the Democratic convention will be held in 2012. The four cities in the hunt are Charlotte, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis. The Republicans announced earlier in the year that they would be holding their convention in Tampa Could Iowa be taken off the table in the battle for the Republican nomination? After a strong appearance on Fox News on Monday, there is now speculation that Iowa's own U.S. Rep. Steve King could be looking at taking a shot at the GOP nod. Back in 1992, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin ran for the Democratic nomination and the rest of the field skipped Iowa, which led to an easy -- but also irrelevant -- victory for the states favorite son Former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain looks ready to launch a bid for the Republican presidential nomination. A favorite of conservative activists, thanks in part for his work on the tea-party circuit, Cain has said he was praying over whether to launch a bid or not. Last week, Cain said he was close to setting up an exploratory committee. Cain ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2004 but lost out to Johnny Isakson

Liberals looking for an alternative to Obama in 2012 are striking out, as many leading progressive politicians are taking a pass at challenging the incumbent president. Activists are now trying to draft U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to run against Obama. A draft Sanders website has already been established to recruit him into the race and he's getting notice from a former presidential candidate who is actively looking for a progressive challenger to Obama. Ralph Nader praised Sanders in a column posted at his website on Tuesday, signaling the Vermont senators eight-hour speech ripping into extending tax cuts backed by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 ... After the deaths of former party nominees Earl Dodge and Gene Amondson, James Hedges, the tax assessor of Thompson, PA, looks like the likely candidate of the nations oldest third party, the Prohibition Party. The party will hold its convention in Cullman, Ala., in June 2011. There has been a Prohibition Party presidential candidate for every presidential election since 1872, when Pennsylvania temperance activist James Black was nominated.

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

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