Sunday, March 29, 2009

McCain's 2012 Name-Dropping on Meet the Press

Look folks, we're in the midst of the 2012 invisible primary right now. Whether you like it or not, prospective candidates are attempting to position themselves for a run at the White House in three years time. Part of what gets the ball rolling on future fundraising, consultant networking and valued endorsements is having your name mentioned in those discussions. If your name is being dropped in the context of a White House run it makes it much more believable than if it were not.

That being said, former GOP presidential nominee, John McCain, was on Meet the Press this morning and was asked about future leaders of the Republican Party. Here's the question from David Gregory and McCain's response (from the show's transcript):

MR. GREGORY: In terms of future leaders of the Republican Party, would you like to see Sarah Palin become president?

SEN. McCAIN: I’d like to see her compete. I think we’ve got some very good candidates: Jon Huntsman and–the problem when I run down these names, I always leave, leave out a, a name–Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty. There’s, there’s so many. There’s a lot of good, fresh talent out there.

Jindal and Pawlenty are not newcomers to this discussion, nor is Sarah Palin, for that matter. All were talked about as potential running mates for McCain last fall, and VP talk to future White House run is a logical extension. And though Huntsman wasn't in the VP chatter, his name has been bandied about as a darkhorse for 2012. FHQ has been quite high on the current Utah governor in our 2012 brackets discussions (see here and here), and as GOP 12 notes, McCain hasn't been shy about mentioning the governor (an early supporter of the Arizona senator's presidential bid ahead of 2008).

My question (and it is one I see the folks over at GOP 12 asked as well): You know who isn't being mentioned?

Mitt Romney.

But neither is Mike Huckabee. And that sets up an interesting dichotomy to the emerging GOP field for 2012. There's an old guard/new face split there. And that came into play with the seeding in FHQ's bracket yesterday. Among those top four Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich all represent the conventional wisdom on GOP presidential nominations: The next guy in line gets it. The bottom half (Pawlenty, Huntsman, Sanford and Crist) are the fresh faces. [Bobby Jindal fits here too.] Sarah Palin has elements of both groups. For his part, McCain seems to be a fresh face kinda guy. But having the former nominee of the party mentioning your name in the context of a presidential run can't hurt.

[For comparison's sake John Kerry during a similar point in 2005 was fielding more questions about his own potential 2008 run than offering his thoughts on alternatives. But McCain's age puts him in a unique position in that regard. He is more a Bob Dole circa 1996 than a Kerry post-2004.]

Recent Posts:
Elite Eight: FHQ's 2012 Presidential Primary Bracket

The 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (3/28/09)

Minnesota in 2012

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