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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So much for the Haley Barbour Watch...

now that the Mississippi Governor has withdrawn from the race. How does that affect other potential candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination ?  Alexander Burns assesses the impact of Barbour's retreat in THE POLITICO...

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Now, it’s not clear whether any Republican not named Romney will be able to capture the broad establishment support and cash that would have gravitated naturally to Barbour.

If Daniels enters the race, Republicans say, his friendship with Barbour and his own long D.C. track record would make him the favorite to win over the class of political professionals who have proved so influential in past GOP presidential primaries.

But there’s no guarantee Daniels will run for president — or that if he does run, he’ll be able to capture 100 percent of Barbour’s support in Washington and across the country.

“There’s a political class in Washington and around the country that, if Haley was going, they were going to be with him,” explained Tom Reynolds, former New York congressman and former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman.

“If Mitch Daniels is going to run, he is the greatest beneficiary of Haley not running,” said Reynolds, who now works at the law and lobbying firm Nixon Peabody. “If Mitch Daniels doesn’t run, it will get sprinkled across the entire campaign field.”

“He may be more influential as a power broker than as a candidate,” said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a former RNC chief of staff. “Many Republicans, including me, will be influenced by his endorsement of a GOP presidential hopeful.”

Veteran Republican fundraiser and onetime George H.W. Bush adviser Fred Malek had a specific job in mind for Barbour: “If I had anything to say to the eventual nominee, I would ask them to make him their campaign chairman.”

Anderson, the former RNC political director, suggested that the road to the 2012 GOP nomination — already running through Des Moines, Manchester and Columbia — has a new stop.

“Every other Republican candidate better get a reservation at the King Edward Hotel and the Mayflower CafĂ©, because they all need to get to Jackson and stay as long as [Barbour] wants to talk,” he said.

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