03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Scarborough For President? Mark McKinnon Floats The Idea On Hardball (VIDEO)

Joe Scarborough could be a great Republican presidential candidate in 2012, according to Republican strategist and media adviser Mark McKinnon.

McKinnon appeared on Hardball With Chris Matthews Wednesday to talk about Mike Huckabee's viability as a candidate in the 2012 presidential race in the wake of Sunday's shootings. After arguing that Huckabee could not and would not win the presidency, McKinnon floated the names of Republican leaders who he believes could compete against President Obama in 2012.

Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, is one of McKinnon's top picks. Before he was on TV, Scarborough was in Congress, representing Florida's 1st Congressional District. Scarborough, a Republican, served from 1995-2001.

McKinnon argues that Scarborough is an independent thinker with media savvy who can be called a "genuine conservative." Scarborough, McKinnon says, "appeals to people like me."

"I think there are a lot of Republicans out there that aren't happy with the prospective field out there. I think he surprises folks with the positions he takes. I think he's a genuine conservative, but he also takes moderate progressive positions, and he doesn't just drink the kook-aid on a lot of issues."

MicKinnon wrote a list of the top-10 Republican presidential contenders for 2012. Among McKinnon's four classifications of "The Unlikely," "The Improbable," "The Impossible," and "The Probable," MicKinnon listed Scarborough as "Probable."

1. Mitt Romney
2. Tim Pawlenty
3. John Thune
4. Mike Huckabee
5. Sarah Palin
6. Newt Gingrich
7. Haley Barbour
8. Rick Santorum
9. Joe Scarborough
10. Mitch Daniels
(Long shot: Michele Bachmann)


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During the 2008 presidential election, McKinnon made headlines for exiting Sen. Jon McCain's campaign staff after the Arizona senator won his party's nomination. McKinnon admired then-Sen. Barack Obama and said his departure would be best for McCain.