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this week in fake presidential candidates

This Week in Fake Presidential Candidates

Hey, did you hear who's maybe running for president? Everyone. At least that's what seemingly each and every Republican politician wants us to think these days. And why not? Just say you're "thinking about it" or "keeping your options open," and the media will suddenly lavish attention on you as if you really matter. But not everybody does. Each Friday until the primaries truly begin, we'll look at which of these prospective candidates are more likely or less likely to actually enter the race, along with a prediction of the likelihood that they throw their hat into the ring. Excluded from this rigorous scientific analysis: any candidate that Intrade believes has at least an 80 percent chance of running (guys like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Rick Santorum).

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Ron Paul

  • 79.5%

The Texas congressman said this week that he's "getting awfully close" to launching a presidential campaign, but he'll decide for sure in about a month. Meanwhile, son Rand, who is also contemplating a run if Ron doesn't pull the trigger, says, "I get every indication from looking at his schedule and hearing what he’s doing that I think he probably will [run for president]." It's kind of strange that Rand needs to speculate like the rest of us, but okay.

Photo: John M. Heller/Getty

  • Newt Gingrich

  • 78.7%

Gingrich signed up to give a speech in the early primary state of New Hampshire on April 20, and on Monday at Saint Anselm College, according to a (completely overlooked?) report by the New American, he "confided he is '99 percent' certain that he will make the run for the oval office."

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

  • Michele Bachmann

  • 77.4%

A few days after hiring Mike Huckabee's former Iowa campaign director, Wes Enos, Bachmann touted her vast experience thusly: "I've studied a number of, a wide berth of topics."

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

  • Herman Cain

  • 61.3%

Cain told the Christian Post this week, "I can tell you right now that we’re still moving forward, but it’s still not a slam dunk at this time." Such uncertainty, despite bragging about winning what he refers to as "three nonscientific straw polls."

Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

  • Jon Huntsman

  • 55%

Huntsman has signed up to give the commencement address at Southern New Hampshire University in May — a school that would be completely random for him were it not located in New Hampshire — three weeks after he resigns as U.S. ambassador to China. Speaking of China, Huntsman made some "unusually critical" remarks in a speech in Shanghai this week on Chinese human-rights violations. No China-coddling for Huntsman!

Donald Trump

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

  • Donald Trump

  • 42%

Trump may have been pretending before, but a national poll that places him in a close second behind Mitt Romney, and a New Hampshire poll that does the same, basically leaves him without an excuse not to run at this point. Another indicator that he might actually run, for real: The Trump Organization bought the domain www.trump2012.com, although that costs what, $10?

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Mike Huckabee

  • 35%

By signing up with Bachmann, Huckabee's Iowa director in 2008, Wes Enos, may be sending a signal that his old boss isn't running this time. Although, if Huckabee was running, Iowa would be his to lose again: A recent poll showed him comfortably leading the field among likely caucus-goers.

Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty

  • Mitch Daniels

  • 32%

The Indiana governor may not have the charisma of a president, but he could very well have the seriousness of one, and that seriousness will be on full display when he gives a big speech on education at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on May 4.

Sarah Palin

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

  • Sarah Palin

  • 22.4%

It didn't seem possible, but somehow, Palin's favorability numbers keep getting worse and worse. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, only 23 percent of Americans said they had a favorable opinion of Palin, compared to 53 percent who have an unfavorable opinion — the highest it's ever been in the poll. The same poll put her in fifth place in the GOP field, and with Bachmann likely eating up much of the same voters, Palin really has no reason to get into this race anymore.

Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

  • Rudy Giuliani

  • 10.1%

Over the weekend in Arkansas, Giuliani claimed, "If I think that I can help by being a candidate, then that would probably persuade me to do it. But if I can help by supporting another candidate, then I’d probably do that.” His deadline for deciding? Basically never.

Rand Paul

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty

  • Rand Paul

  • 5.8%

See Paul, Ron. Dad is looking increasingly likely to run for president once again, and Rand has said he won't run if his dad runs. By the basic laws of logic, Rand is probably not going to run.

John Bolton

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty

  • John Bolton

  • 3.2%

We're pretty sure nothing happened with Bolton over the past week. Until he announces he is running, and/or shaves off his walrus mustache, we remain totally unconvinced.

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Photo: Getty Images