The Fox primary: Politico reports on Palin vs. Rove vs. Huckabee vs. Gingrich
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From an October 31 Politico article titled "Next for GOP leaders: Stopping Palin":
Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin.
Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year's midterm campaigns.
There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting.
Top Republicans, from presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty to highly influential advisers such as Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, are said to be concerned she will run, and could win, according to the officials.
Rove, one of the few establishment types to raise flags publicly about a Palin bid, this week told Britain's Daily Telegraph that her upcoming reality show on cable TV could diminish her presidential standing. "I am not certain how this fits in the American calculus of 'that helps me see you in the Oval Office,'" Rove said.
Steele sounded a different note in a POLITICO interview: "I don't think that Sarah's too much worried about what Karl Rove's speculations are."
"If she runs, she runs right at the establishment," said a top adviser to a rival campaign. As witnessed in recent weeks, she would have powerful backup -- at least at the outset of a campaign -- among conservative media figures, especially Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
Palin wouldn't be the only anti-establishment candidate. Mike Huckabee, who had the highest favorability ratings among the possible GOP candidates in a POLITICO/George Washington University poll in October, is a strong possibility and, according to a recent New York Times story by Peter Baker, is the White House favorite to win the nomination, for whatever that is worth. Huckabee and Palin have hit Rove for tweaking the tea party activists, and it's safe to assume voters will hear a lot more tweaking in the months to come. Newt Gingrich, who has raised more money than any other GOP hopeful, will compete for this space, too, and recently told a confidant he needs to show more self-discipline if he really wants to run and win.