Quotes of the day

“‘I’m not ruling it out. And that’s not a yes, but it’s definitely not a no,’ Huckabee told WHO’s Steve Deace.

“‘The honest answer is: I’m keeping it open as an option; I’m looking at whether or not there’s a pathway to victory,’ he added. ‘As I’ve told several people, I’m not jumping into a pool when there’s no water in it.'”

“When Huckabee sought the presidency in 2008, he had everything to gain and little to lose. He was an unemployed former governor without much name recognition who entered the race with low expectations. By the end of the campaign, he had emerged as a political force, a national celebrity with a cult following, and he landed a TV show and wrote several books. Now, looking ahead to 2012, things are a lot different. He’s earning good money for the first time in his life and people listen to what he has to say. Were he to run, he’d have to give up his Fox show, deal with the daily grind of the campaign, and once again open himself to more scrutinity and attacks. He’ll have to go through the process of explaining controversial past statements and defending his record, especially when it comes to pardoning violent criminals. And after all of that, it may be hard for him to improve upon his performance anyway. If he decided not to run, he could keep his television show and lucrative career, avoid being the subject of attacks, and still influence the race. His endorsement would no doubt be highly sought after, especially before the Iowa caucuses.”

“Ms. Palin’s search traffic, since the start of 2010, is roughly 16 times that of Mitt Romney, 14 times that of Newt Gingrich, 38 times that of Mike Huckabee, and 87 times that of Mr. Pawlenty. (It is about six times greater than these other four candidates combined.)

“Ms. Palin, in fact, draws almost as much search traffic worldwide as the man she would face if she wins the Republican nomination: Barack Obama. And her name is searched for about 30 percent more often than the President’s among Google users in the United States….

“All of this poses a dilemma for the other potential Republican contenders. If and when Ms. Palin declares her candidacy for the White House, it could consume much of the media oxygen literally for months. For that matter, if Ms. Palin declines to run for office, it could also be a huge story. And, of course, until her mind is made up, there will be plenty of articles that attempt to anticipate Ms. Palin’s decision.

“Does a candidate like Mr. Pawlenty, who seems likely to run for President, officially declare his candidacy now, in order to get out in front of Ms. Palin? Or does he wait, hoping that some sort of Palin Fatigue sets in?”

“‘Look at what’s happened over the past two years, and you tell me that we don’t have a more effective strategy than our peers,’ Palin aide Michael Goldfarb told RealClearPolitics. ‘Who’s been able to get their message out more effectively? Who’s had greater influence? And you tell me why we should play by the same rules that the press wants everybody to play by. It doesn’t make any sense.’…

“‘If she was out there making the case for bigger government and more welfare and universal health care in the same tone and in the same vein, she would be a hero of the New York Times editorial board,’ Michael Goldfarb said. ‘They don’t like what she’s saying. It’s not how she says it or the basis of why she says it. They don’t agree with her, and they see her as threatening, so what you get is this, ‘She’s not up to the job,’ and there are people in the Republican Party who will say that, too, because people have different preferences as far as leaders in the party and have different agendas. But out there in the real world, Republicans respect Sarah Palin and they listen to what she says, and she has a real impact. And that’s why she was the most coveted endorsement among Republicans in the last election.’…

“Palin’s challenges remain numerous as she comes to a decision on whether to run for president. If the answer is indeed ‘yes,’ one of her first big moves will be planning the official announcement of her campaign-a date that one Palin confidante privately agreed will likely come later in 2011, after her lesser known opponents launch their own runs and she can assess the field.”

KING: You debated her.

JOE BIDEN: Yes, we debated. There was not a harsh word. I mean, we have a fundamentally different outlook on the world, and I think that would be a really, a really interesting race.

KING: Would that be a race you’d like to take on?

JOE BIDEN: Well, you know, my mom used to have an expression, be careful what you wish for, Joe, you may get it. So I never underestimate anyone. But I think, in that race, it would be a clear, clear choice for the country to make, and I believe President Obama would be in very good shape.