Thune Expects 2012 Decision Next Month, Barbour Considering

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 27, 2011   |   12:34PM   |   Washington, DC

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota says he will decide by the end of next month whether he will mount a bid for the Republican nomination for president to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

The pro-life senator is joined by pro-life Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is also considering his own potential presidential bid.

Thune joined conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday and said he will determine by the end of February whether he will join what could be a crowded Republican field seeking the GOP nod. Thune has won the respect of his Senate colleagues, who is installed in one of the top leadership roles as the Republican Policy Committee Chairman, but he would have to overcome very low name identification in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire and throughout the country.

“I’ve told people I don’t have a definite timeline or deadline out there,” Thune told Hewitt.  “But it strikes me, at least, for somebody like myself who’s not known, and would have to work a lot harder at getting known, that sometime in the next month or two, but for sure probably at the end of next month, we’d have to let folks know our intentions.”

Thune has reportedly spoken with 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain about undertaking a presidential campaign and he has won praise from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who suggests his colleague should consider running.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told South Carolina Republicans on Wednesday he is “seriously thinking about” a presidential campaign. He was in the third most prominent primary campaign state to meet with Republican activists and, according to The Hill, said the meetings went well.

“I thought [the meetings] went well. We from our part of the country have a lot in common with this part of the country,” he said.

“I’m seriously thinking about running for president but won’t make a decision until April,” Barbour said, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. “I’ve got to get my budget done in Mississippi. I’m going to complete my obligations to the people of Mississippi before I run for anything else.

“Nevertheless, part of the decisionmaking process is having the chance to meet old friends and to meet others who are involved in our party,” he added.

Barbour is pro-life and has a pro-life record as governor, but he upset pro-life advocates when he advocated a “truce” on abortion similar to the one Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels put forward last summer. Barbour also said pro-life issues would play no role in the 2010 elections even though Obamacare and its taxpayer funding of abortions motivated strong pro-life turnout and helped elect the largest pro-life majority in the House of Representatives in the history of the chamber.

“Any issue that takes people’s eye off of unemployment, job creation, economic growth, taxes, spending, deficits, debts is taking your eye off the ball,” Barbour said in September.

“But if somebody goes to campaign for governor candidate x, I would hope that somebody would stay focused on the issues that matter to the campaign: jobs, the economy, taxes, spending, debt, deficits,” Barbour continued. “You run down rabbit trails, you’re wasting— you’re using up valuable resources that could be used to talk to people about what they care about.”

Barbour is concluding his time as governor, making it more likely he would be open to a presidential bid.