DeMint, Grassley sizing up 2012 hopefuls for key endorsements

DeMint backed Romney in the 2008 presidential primary – but said he’s got “an open mind” about 2012.

“He’s obviously near the top of my list, he’s a good quality candidate, and we’ve got others who are looking at it,” said DeMint, who also is getting encouragement from some conservative activists to run for president.

Palin, for one, has never talked to DeMint before, even though they hail from the same part of the ideological spectrum and are considered heroes of the tea party movement.

“We’ve never spoken, but she left me a nice message, and I believe she’s done more for the Republican Party than anyone since Ronald Reagan,” he said…

“Pence would be a great candidate — he’s a good balanced guy, solid conservative, I don’t know if Thune is really thinking about it or not, but we got a good group out there,” DeMint said.