Last week, it was reported in Politico that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was leaning against running for president. On Thursday, Carl Cameron of Fox News reported that Thune is leaning against running for president. So, update your Facebook statuses: John Thune is probably not going to run for president, unless he does, in which case, he will. I conducted an independent investigation into the matter and the 2012 Speculatron Magic 8-Ball confirms, "Ask again later."
A week ago, Manu Raju and Jonathan Martin spoke to Thune, who told them that he was enjoying his Senate responsibilities, and anyway, did you read "Game Change," because who wants to subject one's wife to all of that nonsense? On Thursday, Cameron spoke to ... well, actually, I haven't any idea who he spoke to. "GOP generals and rank and file," are the sources for whatever this speculation is. (They complain that Thune has been absent from the fray.)
The major issue appears to be the lack of "groundwork" that Thune has laid for a potential run, including a dearth of fundraising:
At the end of last year Thune's senate and political action committee coffers contained about $8 million dollars.
Not unrespectable for a first term senator. But that is a far cry from the $100 million many believe must be raised in the next eight months to vy credibly for the republican nomination and the presidency. Republicans have a special place in their hearts for Thune, who ousted former democratic senate majority leader Tom Daschle in 2004.
But Thune has not signaled to big money and shot-calling Republicans that he will be counting on them, nor have they volunteered much unsolicited encouragement.
(Presidential candidates tend to raise a lot of money once they have identified themselves as candidates. Presumably, entering the race would enhance Thune's fundraising. For the moment, Thune is on what The Hill describes as a "long-winded deflection.")
"Smart, conservative, likable, handsome, tall, Thune has all the ingredients but has not added himself to the mix," says Cameron, in a description that seems unnecessarily unkind to Haley Barbour.