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Haley Barbour Jumps Into The Ray: The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup

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Did the 2012 race finally get real this week? Maybe just a smidge, actually! A week ago, Haley Barbour was staking out a position outside the coverage, but he jumped back into the fray in a big way this week. After a momentary hiccup that cost one Barbour staffer their job after sending out an email with bad jokes about the Japan tsunami, Barbour stepped forward and started engaging the debate. He aimed some barbs at the White House, but he also staked out unique territory among his fellow GOP colleagues by expressing skepticism about the War in Afghanistan, questioning whether or not there isn't substantial bloat in the Defense Department, and calling for caution on intervening in Libya.

And suddenly, we're interested.

The rest of the GOP field chose to be less bold this week, most simply participating in what The Plum Line's Greg Sargent sees as the voguish pastime among GOP presidential aspirants: sticking it to Mitt Romney. Elsewhere, the conservative smart-set began their "Stop Palin" campaign. Donald Trump, perplexingly, leapt on board the Birther crazy-train. And after a week-and-a-half of bleating out all sorts of crazy nonsense, Mike Huckabee took a week off from attention-getting. This was a smart move, obviously, because it's precisely what we advised him to do last week. That's right: heed the Speculatron. We see all, know all. (Actually, we're pretty much making it up as we go along, like everyone else.)

This week, we've elevated Herman Cain's status. And while we've decided to stand pat otherwise, it should be noted that Mitch Daniels and Jon Huntsman are starting to look like they won't be running in 2012. For more of this week's campaign trivia, please feel free to enter the Speculatron for the week of March 18, 2011.

The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup
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  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results