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Presidential Politics Trumps the Midterms

Sarah Palin waves as she arrives to speak at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Friday, April 9, 2010. AP

Even with the hotly contested midterms that could change the power grid in Congress, 2012 presidential election handicapping is still the big show. The election is two years away, so there is plenty of time for major surprises on the race, including the highly unlikely possibility that President Obama says that one term is enough.

Publicity hungry Donald Trump said he might throw his hat in the ring. "I can tell you this - for the first time in my life, I am absolutely thinking about it," Trump said of his presidential aspirationson MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday. He could create a reality show like "The Apprentice" to capitalize on his run for the White House, giving his campaign staff goals and firing those who don't meet them, and then finally firing himself.

Sarah Palin looks and acts like a candidate, but she is not saying anything more than if no one else great steps up, she will.

"A reason to run [for President] is if nobody else were to step up with the solutions that are needed to get the economy back on the right track and to be so committed to our national security that they are going to do all that they can, including fighting those on the extreme left who seem to want to dismantle some of our national security tools that we have in place," Palin said, in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News.

Palin also has a reality TV show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," debuting just after the November midterm elections. Palin and family members will be traversing the state -- salmon fishing, hiking and chatting with the locals during the eight episode run. The reality show will allow Palin to craft of view of herself that appeal to voters should the queen of the Tea Party decide to abandon the lucrative life from the sidelines.

A recent Gallup poll found that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Palin are leading the pack for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Romney, who is barnstorming the country endorsing GOP midterm candidates, was at 19 percent and Palin at 16 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hosts his own talk show on Fox, came in at 12 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 9 percent. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is also seen as a potential GOP candidate.

In a straw poll at the conservative Values Voter Summit last month, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence received 24 percent of the vote, followed closely by Huckabee, who told the crowd, "I think it's going to be a great time for us to convene those death panels and finally offer a lethal injection to the kind of arrogance" seen in Washington.

On the Democratic side, thelatest chatteris about who will be Mr. Obama's vice presidential running mate in 2012. Speaking to CNN's John King, "Obama's Wars" author Bob Woodward said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden could swap jobs.

"Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012," Woodward said. "President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the 2008 primaries and, so they switch jobs, not out of the question." The White House vigorously denied the switch scenario.

The outgoing Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger says that all the jockeying for the GOP nomination will be a process for picking a loser.

"I assume that Obama will get a second term in office," Schwarzenegger told Der Spiegel, citing weakness in the field of Republican candidates.

Of course, one never knows what will happen in an election. An independent could enter the race and change the dynamics of the race. Few thought that Sen. Barack Obama had a chance to become president two years before the November 2008 election, when well established names such as Hilary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, Mark Warner, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, Russell Feingold and Al Gore were in mix.

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