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Obama’s campaign expects a close race in 2012, “unless it’s Palin or Gingrich”

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Newt Gingrich

The Republican presidential field is taking shape quickly today: Mitch Daniels has officially dropped out (blaming his mean ol' wife), Tim Pawlenty officially announced his candidacy, and Newt Gingrich continues to vie for the "joke candidate" spot left open by Donald Trump. Meanwhile, despite a recent surge in the polls, the Obama campaign is fundraising like mad and preparing itself for a real fight

The latest development, in serious campaign news, is that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is officially making a 2012 bid. He kicked off his campaign in a good Republican fashion, by talking about the deficit and taking some cracks at Barack Obama. I'm sure we can look forward to a lot more speeches like this in the months to come. Mitch Daniels, once considered a serious contender, has dropped out, citing his four daughters' and his wife's unhappiness with the plan.  

And, just for fun, Newt Gingrich gave a speech where he called himself a Washington outsider, somehow overlooking the fact that he is a career politician and served over twenty years in the House of Representatives, (a well known Washington-based institution). He also tried to call himself a "people's candidate," just a little while after defending his half-million-dollar bill at a jewelry store.

Given Newt's dedication to goofiness, and the fact that Pawlenty has the charisma of a rock (nobody watched his big speech, since it happened at the same time that our slick President was chugging a Guinness), it looks like it's going to be a Romney / Obama race. Which means we get to talk a whole lot more about health care.