This Week In Fake Presidential Candidates

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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 we're pretty sure is definitely going to run — guys like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and libertarian former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who will reportedly announce next week.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Ron Paul

  • 85%

In another sign that he'll be the Paul that runs this year, Ron quietly created a "testing the waters" account, which allows him to raise money that can later be used in a presidential bid. "He remains undecided on what his plans will be," says an aide, probably lying, "but as a final decision draws closer, his team has put the pieces in place for him to flip a switch and hit the ground running if he decides to run for president.”

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

  • Michele Bachmann

  • 82%

Bachmann told Fox News last night that she's "moving in [the] direction" of running and pointed out, correctly, that she raised more than any other pseudo-candidate in the first fiscal quarter. What started out as possibly a prank is now looking pretty serious.

Photo: Steve Pope/Getty

  • Rick Santorum

  • 82%

This week, like Paul, he formed a "testing the waters" account, taking another step closer to an embarrassing and disappointing presidential campaign.

Photo: John M. Heller/Getty

  • Newt Gingrich

  • 76%

Gingrich probably won't take part in the first debate of the primary campaign season on May 5, his spokesman declared this week, because the debate's organizers are requiring participants to have at least formed an exploratory committee by April 29. "It is highly unlikely that we will meet the criteria to participate," the spokesman said. "Specifically, the April 29 requirement does not fit within our time line." Ah yes, the timeline ... the one that keeps moving.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Haley Barbour

  • 72%

People seem pretty certain Barbour is going to run, but he's polling terribly and, despite being really, really Southern, "hasn’t yet developed any traction" in South Carolina, according to Politico. Nevertheless, Barbour said in New Hampshire this week that he'll make up his mind by the end of the month. There's no shame in admitting you have no chance, Governor.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

  • Herman Cain

  • 64%

The Missouri News Horizon reported this week that former pizza-chain CEO said he was "very close to announcing his bid for the Republican nomination for President," for some reason.

Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

  • Jon Huntsman

  • 59%

HorizonPAC, the political action committee run, for now, by Huntsman supporters, signed up John McCain's former South Carolina political director and registered an offshoot PAC in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, in a reminder of Huntsman's vulnerabilities, the Daily Caller got its hands on some love letters he wrote to President Obama, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton in 2009.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

  • Donald Trump

  • 57%

It's been another busy week for Trump. A new national poll shows him now easily leading the GOP pack, he's suggested that he would run as an independent if he doesn't get the GOP nomination, and he also seemed to be pretty excited about disclosing his financial details, telling Time, "Let me put it this way, the numbers will be far greater than any numbers you have ever heard about me."

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Buddy Roemer

  • 50%

The former Mississippi governor (twenty years ago) has raised $54,990 so far. It would be quite the quixotic campaign, to put it lightly, but he seems like the type of guy who might be up for one of those.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Mike Huckabee

  • 40%

The Huckster has reportedly been "holding a string of about a half-dozen meetings with donors or bundlers in New York, primarily from the finance industry, over the past 6 weeks," according to Politico. Perhaps Huckabee has been heartened by polls that consistently show him in first or second place in the GOP field, and the strongest opponent against Obama. A spokesman, though, still maintains that Huckabee won't make a decision until the summer.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Mitch Daniels

  • 30%

Many Republicans continue to pine for Daniels, a Serious Person, to enter the race. He says he's getting "closer," but he also told an Indiana paper that the "odds are" he will "likely end up supporting" another Republican in the race.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

  • Sarah Palin

  • 20%

It's remarkable how quickly Palin has faded in both the public consciousness and in the polls — she came in fifth place in the latest national PPP poll — which is perhaps why she's going to make an increasingly rare speech at a Wisconsin tea party tax-day rally this weekend. For what it's worth, Glenn Beck doesn't think she'll run.

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

  • Rudy Giuliani

  • 8%

If Giuliani was serious about pretending to run for president, he'd give a commencement address at a random school in New Hampshire or Florida, instead of at Cornell.

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty

  • Rand Paul

  • 3%

Every time Paul the Elder takes a step toward a run, Paul the Younger, who has said he won't run if his dad runs, takes a step away from one.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty

  • John Bolton

  • 2.8%

There was once again no news this week on Bolton's potential run, and we remain completely unconvinced that he'd waste precious mustache-grooming time on a campaign for president.