Senator John Thune Tops “The Herd” of White House 2012’s Potential Vice Presidential Picks for Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today, in it’s final installation of the series, White House 2012 offers a look at Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Born: January 7,1961(age 49), Murdo, South Dakota

Spouse(s): Kimberly Thune

Children : Brittany and Larissa

Residence : Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Alma mater: Biola University

Religion: Evangelical Christian

` Political Career :

  • Served as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Abdnor.
  • Was an appointee of President Ronald Reagan to the Small Business Administration.
  • Was appointed Railroad Director of South Dakota by Governor George S. Mickelson and served from 1991 to 1993.
  • From 1993 and 1996, he worked as a member of the South Dakota Municipal League.
  • In 1996, Thune was elected to South Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won reelection in 1998 and in 2000 was reelected with over 70% of the vote. Thune supported term limits and promised to serve no more than three terms in the House.
  • Keeping his pledge, Thune instead ran for the United States Senate, challenging Senator Tim Johnson in 2002. Democrat ran scandal which saw Party officials pay for on Indian reservations placed the results of the election in doubt. But Thune decided not to mount a legal challenge by filing any objections and accepting a questionable and close loss by 524 votes (0.15%).
  • Between 2002 and 2004 Thune worked as a lobbyist for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad.
  • In 2004, he again ran for the Senate, this time challenging incumbent Tom Daschle, at the time the United States Senate Minority Leader and leader of the Senate Democrats. It is rare for for the Party’s legislative leaders to lose an election but after overcoming Daschle’s early 7 point lead, Thune defeated Daschle by 4,508 votes.

John Thune sits on the following committees:

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Thune is an attractive, young, conservative with heartland values that would be a big help to a candidate like Mitt Romney.  Yes, I know we have had seemingly similar people who fit that same description, but John Thune is no Dan Quayle.  The only drawback in picking Thune is the fact that South Dakota is going to go Republican in the presidential election no matter what and even if the G.O.P. did not have a lock on South Dakota, the benefit that comes with the advantage of Thune being that state’s favorite son is a miniscule 3 electoral votes.

But if the basis for chosing a vice presidential running mate is that of someone who he is capable of being President at a moment’s notice, than there is no reason for a Republican not pick Thune.  He is a solid conservative, not perfect, but solid, and he is well spoken, levelheaded, quite friendly, knowledgable on the issues and his legislative record is one which is rich in common sense solutions that most conservatives and common sense Americans would find quite appealing.   Add to that the regional appeal that Thune has and what you have is someone who is an almost perfect vice presidential nominee.

Part of the importance of Thune’s Midwest appeal is the neighboring swing state of Iowa, a state President Obama won in 2008.

In 2012, John Thune is much more popular among Iowa voters than is the President.  It is a fact that the Romney campaign used quite well after Thune became an early supporter of Mitt Romney and began campaigning with Romney in Iowa during the state’s presidential caucus.  Thune’s regional appeal could help make two typically solid blue states, Minnesota and even Wisconsin, far more competitive than they might be without Thune on the ticket.

Aside from the possible effects that John Thune could have on the electoral college, the two term conservative Senator meets all the basic criteria that Mitt Romney seeks.  Most important is Romney’s level of comfort in his running mate.  Like Romney, John Thune is firm, methodical, deliberative, not abbrassaive, and non-controversial.    This makes Thune a a safe choice for Romney among the conservative base that still doubts the depth of Romney’s committment to the conservative ideology.  Yet at the same time, John Thune lacks the ire of the left that would make him the type of lightning rod for their hatred that others such as Chris Christie or Michelle Bachmann would be.  That lack of hatred which is often exhibited fby the left means that the addition of Thune to the G.O.P. ticket will not provide the left with the degree of motivation that would be required to use Thune as a distraction from the issues.

Thune is a productive legislative leader, and a bright youthful, inoffensive, consistently conservative consideration for Vice President and is certainly on Romney’s shortlistt.  In recent days, Senator Thune has admitted that he has met with Beth Meyers, the woman heading up Romney’s search for a running mate, but he has not confirmed whether or not the Romney campaign is still vetting him.

However; I maintain that because of Thune’s overall record, his personal attributes, the unlikely acceptance of other individuals who may be up for the job, and the circumstances confronting Romney in the existing political environment, I believe John Thune is probably the person most likely to be picked by Romney.  While he may not excite the ticket with a sense of history and diversity because of his color, gender or lack of a Hispanic background, all o which would help bolster the G.O.P.’s much needed support from various blocs of voting groups, he is a competent and reliable selection who can offer a degree of balance that Romney needs in order to keep together his conservative base, motivate fiscal conservatives, and still be able to compete for the pivotal independent votes that will be needed to win the presidency.

Thune was considered a possible presidential candidate and even gave the idea of running for president some serious thought of his own until he decided against it in late spring of 2011.   But running for Vice President is a different story, and if asked to run, I really don’t see Senator Thune refusing the nomination.  Being Romney’s running mate will be a no risk proposition for Thune that will produce high yields for his political future.  Having been reelected to the Senate in 2010, Thune will not have to give up his senate to run for Vice President and if a Romney-Thune ticket did happen to lose in 2012, Thune will continue to serve in  the Senate and he will do so as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.  That scenario dovetails quite well with Thune’s support for term limits.

When he served in the House of Representatives, Thune limited himself to three two year terms.  Now as a Senator, it is safe to say that he will limit himself to two six year terms.  As such, a run for President would be the perfect next step.  So for Thune, there is no reason to say “no” if asked to be Mitt Romney’s running mate

Thune is a productive legislative leader, who is youthful, bright, inoffensive, consistently conservative, and a good man in his own right.  Thune is certainly on Romney’s shortlist and if the nomination of the Vice President becomes contentious, John Thune would be the perfect compromise candidate.  And for all the right reasons.

Pros:

  • Thune is positioned well to attract independent voters
  • Can appeal to younger voters
  • Helps Romney in the Midwest, specifically Iowa, Minnesota, and possibly even Wisconsin
  • Thune has the capacity to be the articulate and credible attack dog that the G.O.P. will need on the ticket
  • Thune was a strong opponent of certain economic recovery and stimulus spending bills in 2008 and early 2009 and subsequently voted against many of those measures
  • Thune has played a leading role in formulating energy policy and was instrumental in passing a comprehensive energy bills in 2005 and 2007

Cons:

  • Although Thune now states he is disappointed in the way the money from the first  Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 was spent, Thune did vote for it
  • Thune may be vulnerable to attacks based upon distortions of his work as a lobbyist for for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
  • Thune does not help to guarantee Republicans that they will any of the electoral rich states like Ohio or Florida  that may be pivotal in the Electoral College.
  • Thune’s support for earmarks that went to South Dakota will be exploited by the left

Assessment:

Thune is one of the more relatively exciting safe choices that Romney can make.  He is a relatively young, fresh political face, with a fairly solid conservative record and he can help Romney appeal to independent voters and voters in several upper Midwest state that Romney could use help in.  Since 2011, I have felt that John Thune is Mitt Romney’s most likely choice for Vice President.  Thune is a perfect fit for Romney in the sense that Thune is a comfortable match for Romney.   With names like Rubio and Daniels supposedly out of the running because of their claims to not want the job, unless Romney is prepared to make a bold choice and pick a running mate that could be viewed as a game changer, I believe that Thune is more likely to picked by Romney than other so-called safe choices such as Ohio’s Rob Portman or Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.

While Pawlenty is a solid and safe choice, he has never been very popular and if his own campaign for the Republican presidential nomination proved anything, it is that voters couldn’t care less about him.  As for Rob Portman, his addition to the ticket does not necessarily guarantee that he will deliver Ohio to the the Republican ticket but it does help tie Romney to the Obama Administration because of Portman’s past position as the Director of the Office of management and Budget under Bush.  That combined with the longer history of accomplishment that Thune has over Portman in the Senate makes John Thune a vice presidential pick for Romney that has more potential and less baggage than Portman will.

Will Romney pick Thune?  I have no idea if that can be answered in the affirmative or the negative but I have a personal sense of things that tells me Romney is leaning towards making John Thune his running mate.

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Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Thune’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

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Recent Key Votes

More Key Votes

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Thune On The Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Click here for John Thune’s Facebook Page

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The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Mitt Romney Receives Important Endorsement in Iowa

Senator John Thune

Bookmark and Share    In a letter released by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, conservative South Dakota Senator John Thune has endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

Thune becomes the eighth incumbent Republican U.S. Senator to endorse Romney’s candidacy but Thune’s endorsement is probably one of the most important.  In addition to South Dakota being an influential neighbor Iowa, the state with the first in the nation presidential caucus, Thune is a favorite of social conservatives and his seal of approval on Romney does help to force some on the right, including evangelicals, to give Romney a second look, especia.ly in the areas that Thune is known to be a solid defender of…….faith, family and some of the issues Romney has been seen as soft on.  Issues such as abortion.

Earlier this year, John Thune was himself, widely viewed as a top contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.  But the Senator decided against making his own bid in 2012

Shortly before the email announcing the endorsement of Romney was released, the two men met in Iowa, where Senator Thune initially  announced his endorsement

Below is the email that was sent out to Romney’s supporters;

Mitt

Dear Anthony,

The next election will be the most important in generations. We can choose to continue on the same path with four more years of President Obama’s failed policies or we can choose a leader who has the needed experience to lead an economic recovery.
 
That leader is Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life in the private sector, as leader of the Olympics, as governor, and in this campaign that he will not back down from difficult challenges. His plans to revitalize the private sector and restore our country’s fiscal health are drawn from his 25 year career as a conservative businessman. Washington could use these commonsense principles at such a critical time.

I hope you’ll join me and stand with Mitt today.

Sincerely,
John Thune

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South Dakota Senator John Thune Declines a Run for President in 2012

Bookmark and Share The evolving Republican presidential field today takes another turn which takes one contender out of the running but leaves the door wider open for others to enter through.

Statement posted on Friends of John Thune Website

Today in a statement released by John Thune, the second term senator from South Dakota ruled out a run for President in 2012. According to the senator;

“At this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate,” he said in a statement released by his senate campaign organization.

“For months now, my wife Kimberley and I have received encouragement from family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across South Dakota and the country to run for the presidency of the United States. We have appreciated hearing their concerns about where the country is headed and their hopes for a new direction,” he said.

According to Thune his decision making process

“involved lots of prayer,” and throughout it he and his family were “reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight.”

The Senator explained why he chose to focus on his senate responsibilities rather than take on new ones by stating;

“There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now,” he said, explaining why he was choosing to focus on his current job, rather than seeking a new one.

Within the last month, John Thune has become the second major possible contender for President to decide against challenging President Obama in next years election. Just a few weeks ago, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was the first recent top tier name to decline a run for the Republican presidential nomination. Pence is said to have decided to run for Governor of Indiana instead. Incumbent Governor Mitch Daniels is termed limited and at the moment he has said he will make his own decision about a potential run for President in April, when his states legislative session is over.

Thune’s decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination, continues to leave lots of room for a favorite of social conservatives to occupy in the still developing field. Pence was seen a favorite among the socially conservative G.O.P. base and Thune was viewed as a possible acceptable alternative. Thune’s absence from the race leaves hope for others like Michele Bachmann and boosts the fortunes of people like Herman Cain, Mike Huckabee and even Sarah Palin, if they were to run.

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John Thune’s Powerful Speech at CPAC

Bookmark and Share South Dakota Senator John Thune came before an energetic crowd of CPAC Republicans and delivered a potent address which called upon our nation and its leaders to confront hard choices which require us to make decisions.Thunes energetic sermon hit upon jobs, the budget, energy, national security, values, spending, the need for terrorists to be tried in military courts and stopping the growth of government. Thune described President Obama as a man who doesnt understand that success in America is not what our government can do for us, but what Americans can achieve. At one point when Senator Thune reflected upon a conversation with his wife Kimberly after his 524 vote loss in the 2002 senate race, he said something which sounded like it could be an indication that he will actually run for President. He said that in reflecting upon his 2002 loss, his wife hit on something which resonated with him. The point was that we have to be in the race. Of course he also said that we must be in the arena and essentially fight the good fight. So the reference to having to be in the race could have been a metaphorical one. But that conclusion is for you to decide when you hear for himself how he said it.Thune’s speech was one which showed the great promise that he possesses as a candidate, a legislator, and a leader. If he were to run for President, a decision he has said he will make at the end of this month, the combination of his skill, his record, his lack of baggage and the freshness of his face on the national stage, will make him a formidable candidate and easily a popular alternative for those voters who are not to excited about any of the names being considered for the Republican presidential nomination. All that he would need to become an and surprising front runner is money. If he can raise big bucks, he can make a big dent in the Republican nomination process.

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Republican Presidential Contenders React To President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share Under an atmosphere that frowned upon the slightest hint of disagreement much more than in State of the Unions gone by, many potential Republican candidates for President had reactions to the Presidents address whichshowed that they were not timid in their desire to make clearwhere theyparted ways withthe President.

The often abrasive John Bolton who threatens to run for President for the purpose of focusing the nations attention on to international threats to our security Tweeted;

With no foreign policy victory of his own & many failures, bizarre that Obama would take credit for restoring America’s leadership in world.

Leading conservative deficit hawk, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint sent out a Tweet stating;

Our debt crisis demands spending cuts, not a freeze. When a car speeds toward a cliff, you hit the brakes, not cruise control.

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence sent out the following the email that described the Presidents speech as frustrating. In it he also sent a post SOTU interview he did with PBS.

Dear Fellow American, In last night’s State of the Union address,




President Obama called on Americans to take control of our destiny and take responsibility for the deficit.
He outlined plans to increase American competitiveness through education, infrastructure and innovation. And he encouraged members of Congress to put their differences aside and work together to restore this country to prosperity and greatness.So how does President Obama plan to achieve this transformation? More spending!

You and I both know that more spending and more borrowing is not the answer to get the economy moving. To hear the President call for more of the same stimulus spending that failed to turn our economy around for the last two years was very frustrating. That’s why I hope you will stand with me as I call on our leaders to give the American people a new direction.

Sincerely,

Mike Pence
Member of Congress

On his Free and Strong America PAC web site, Mitt Romney had the following statement posted;

President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there. Under President Obama’s economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the President has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he’s still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can’t build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the President’s misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him.”

South Dakota Senator John Thune issues a press release in which he decalred:

“After presiding over a staggering 21 percent spending increase during his first two years in office, the President’s proposal to simply keep spending at its current level for the next five years is too little, too late. In just two years, the government has grown at 10 times the rate of inflation.

“The president called for new spending, although he repeatedly called it investment,’ but this is nothing more than increased Washington spending in the style of the failed stimulus. With a $14 trillion national debt that is growing at a trillion dollars every year, we should reverse the out of control spending we’ve witnessed the past two years and begin to save taxpayer dollars.”

Herman Cain issued a statement that described the state of the nation as“fragile” and claimed that when the President spoke of “investment” we heard “spending” and when he spoke of job creation, we heard “but not in the private sector”. http://on.fb.me/gXSmwL

Ron Paul was unimpressed and in an interview seen below, said that he really didn’t hear anything he liked. He stated that he heard nothing regarding any real new cuts but did hear about more government programs.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told theNBC’s Today Show that there were “some good things” in the speech, but the president missed an opportunity “to take the deficit more seriously.” Obama “showed no leadership on that,” .

Freshman Florida Senator Marco Rubio told reporters “I had hoped to hear the president outline real solutions to fundamentally tackle our national debt crisis and help clear the way for urgently needed job creation,” “Instead, we heard him talk about more ‘investment,’ which is what most Floridians I know would simply call more government spending.”

Michele Bachman provided her Tea Party response to the State of the Union which was addressed here in a previous White House 2012 post. While it had plenty of visual props and offered some compelling factual comparisons, her performance lacked the poise and effectiveness of Paul Ryan’s official Republican response to the State of the Union address. That speech which can be seen here, was quite effective and offered a convicncing rationale for the challenges that they will present to Democrats as he and his fellow Republicans try to approach fiscal responsibility in ways that differ from the President and his Party.

In general, Republicans all heard the same things in President Obama’s State of the Union. They heard little that would dramatically tackle our national debt, curb government overreach and spending and very little in the way of inititatives that would help improve the near term condition of employment and the stagnant economy.

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As John Thune Polls South Carolina, Mitch McConnell Urges Him To Run for President

Sen. John Thune flanked by Sen. Min. Ldr. Mitch McConnell

Bookmark and Share Just as unconfirmed reports claim that South Dakota Senator John Thuneis taking his own poll in the important early primary state of South Carolina,Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today revealed that he has urged South Dakota Senator John Thune to run for President. McConnell revealed his support inthe debut of Politico’s new “Playbook Breakfast” forum,an ongoingseries of eventstaking a look at the strategies our elected leaders are taking to move their legislative agenda forward.

During the interview, host Mike Allen asked the Minority Leader, who he saw as a rising star within the GOP. Without hesitation, McConnell answered “John Thune” Allen suggested that as a senator, Thune’sstar has already risen, but McConnell responded by saying that Senator Thune is “new to the American people”.

The Minority Leader called himself a big Thunefan and in addition to describing Thuneas a sharp, capable leader, he also spoke of just how formidable a candidate those who know him, know he can be. McConnell pointed to the fact that in the past election cycle, no one even dared to challenge Thune in his reelection bid for a second term to the Senate.

Thune first came to the Senate by defeating Tom Daschle, who at the time, was the senate’s Democrat Minority Leader.

McConnell’s remarks about Thuneare significant. Duringthe interview, helargelyavoided talk about 2012 and instead played up his desire to focus on getting things done during the course of the two years leading up to the presidential election. For this reason, McConnell dodged more than a few questions asked of him during the Playbook Breakfast interview. But when the opportunity to praise Thunepresented itself, McConnell jumped at the chance and volunteered his support for a Thune candidacy.

Making this even more notable is the fact that during the 2010 midterm elections, McConnell stated that his top priority is making sure that President Obama is not elected to a second term. Since then he has been tryingtosound less partisanand to put the focus on the issues more than the President, butlike a jury being warned by the judge to ignore the remark they just heard, we all know what he said and thatdefeating the President in 2012 is still a priority of the Minority Leader. So for McConnell to place a certain degree of faith in Thune’s ability to be the person who can defeat the President, is a pretty big deal.

McConnell’s remarks help fuel increasing speculation about Thune’spotential candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Thune has himself recently stated that he knows he must make a decision soon and helping to confirm that he is seriously considering it, Race42012reports that Thunehas been polling South Carolina voters with questions that include if they would vote for Thuneagainst President Obama, if the approve repealing Obamacare and if they are supporters of the Tea Party.

Meanwhile, oneof Senator Thune’s top fundraisers, Gregory Slayton,has been making calls of a different type in to New Hampshire on behalf of the Senator.

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