The Fix: Eye on 2012

Sarah Palin’s Iowa problem

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin smiles as she is introduced during a public appearance at a Long Island Association meeting and luncheon in Woodbury, N.Y., Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) (Craig Ruttle - AP)
Sarah Palin 's lack of presence in Iowa is leaving local Republicans scratching their heads.

In August, the Fix wrote that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin had almost no presidential ground operation in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Six months later, as the presidential race begins in earnest, that's still true. She's held a few high-profile events in the state, but she hasn't had the one-on-one meetings with activists that other potential presidential contenders are lining up. She's avoided speaking invitations.

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Gingrich to start ‘exploring’ presidential bid

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) said Thursday that he will be exploring a run for the presidency in the weeks ahead.

While Gingrich is not yet opening an official exploratory committee, a spokesman said he is beginning the process of looking at a presidential bid.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at a news conference in Atlanta. Gingrich says he is launching a website to explore a run for president. His wife Callista is seen at right. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) (Mike Stewart - AP)

Gingrich went into more detail about his plans during a radio interview with Georgia talk show host Martha Zoller early Thursday. He said he will be launching a new website – – that will go up sometime this afternoon.

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2012 and the fight for second

A  new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows former governors Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and Mitt Romney (Mass.) in the lead, but the more telling data point may well be in the second choice numbers.

Asked for their first choice in the Republican presidential contest, Huckabee took 25 percent to Romney's 21 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 13 percent, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin 12 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul 6 percent and 3 percent for former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty .

Pressed for their second choice, all of the candidates lost support except for Palin, who bounced up to 14 percent, and Pawlenty whose support effectively tripled from 3 percent to 8 percent.

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