White House Counting on the Tea Party in 2012

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Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

No, President Obama doesn't think that tea partiers will suddenly accept that he's a Christian, natural-born citizen who loves America. According to Peter Baker's story in this weekend's New York Times Magazine:


Obama’s aides say they will most likely set up their re-election campaign around next March, roughly the same as when Bush and Clinton incorporated their incumbent campaign operations. They are more optimistic about 2012 than they are about 2010, believing the Tea Party will re-elect Barack Obama by pulling the Republican nominee to the right. They doubt Sarah Palin will run and figure Mitt Romney cannot get the Republican nomination because he enacted his own health care program in Massachusetts. If they had to guess today, some in the White House say that Obama will find himself running against Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.

Every presidential nominee plays to his or her base in the primaries and then slides to the center for the general election, but it'll be especially interesting to see how Republican candidates handle the dance in 2012 with the tea-party movement presumably pushing them even further to the right than usual. Of course, Obama's aides really are just guessing about Huckabee, like everyone else.

Education of a President [NYTM]