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The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup

First Posted: 03/04/11 05:44 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

Oh, Newt Gingrich! For four presidential cycles you have been teasing us with the idea that you are running for president. I think that two ladies have been your potential "First Lady" during that time, and dude, seriously, have you thought about that? I mean, it's going to be really hard for you to talk about the "First" Lady, right? Whatever, you probably have a PAC that's specifically dealing with that issue, so I'll let it go.

But seriously, Newt, you got really close this time, didn't you? And damned if we weren't warned about your waffling ways but nevertheless bought into the notion that you might get this 2012 campaign party started in earnest. You'd think we'd learn. (Actually, I'm pretty sure you basically count on us never to learn.)

Hey, at least you didn't get yourself all Mau-Mau'ed up like Mike Huckabee, 2012's burgeoning "post-birther" genius. And you seem to be taking getting cut from Fox News' roster of candidates in stride. Your pal Rick Santorum is wondering why Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee aren't in similar straits.

John Thune leaves the Speculatron this week, to spend more time with the United States Senate. But we welcome a new and unexpected contender in his stead. For more of the candidates you should following, and the candidates that haven't yet figured out what they're doing, please feel free to enter the Speculatron for the week of March 4, 2011.

Haley Barbour
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Barbour went on the offensive against the White House this week, accusing the Obama administration of fostering policies "designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive." One complication: Barbour was speaking precisely the way you'd expect an energy lobbyist to speak.

Barbour also got tagged by Washington Post factcheckers after he spun a tale of BMW-driving "Medicaid queens":

Given that you have to be rather poor to get on Medicaid in Mississippi, it seems highly unlikely the state has many Medicaid recipients driving around BMWs, even used ones. Note that Barbour said "we have people" -- suggesting this is not a rare event.

The failure of Barbour's aides to provide any documentation for this claim is rather suspicious. At least Reagan's anecdote was based on a real, though poorly remembered, newspaper article. We would welcome further explanation from Barbour, but until then this qualifies as a whopper.


Barbour did manage to deftly fend off the revival of a past controversy. When the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, going back over Barbour's memories of Martin Luther King coming to Yazoo City to speak in 1962, reported that that the event never happened, the campaign was able to point out that Barbour simply got the year wrong.

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