Howard Kurtz: Fox Is Crossing Its Fingers Newt Gingrich Will Jump Into the Race by May 3


Some Fox News executives are beginning to get annoyed at one of their stars, Mike Huckabee, for flirting heavily with a presidential run while still staying on their payroll, reports Howard Kurtz. The news channel already jettisoned potential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for getting too officially attached to the 2012 race, and with Huckabee leading in some recent polls, some wonder whether it's time to be rid of Huckabee too. ("Your source is full of it," Huck told Kurtz. "Fox has been very understanding and they know and I know that if I take steps to be a candidate [ask for money, support, or set up a committee], then I will step aside. That's been understood from the beginning.") But buried at the end of the story is another tidbit of gossip.

Fox also finds itself in a dilemma as the sponsor of what would be the first GOP presidential debate, scheduled for May 5 in Greenville, South Carolina. There are, as of now, all of two candidates who meet the criteria, which includes forming an exploratory committee and averaging at least 1 percent in five national polls. They are Tim Pawlenty and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, which would not exactly make for smashing ratings. Mitt Romney hasn't committed. Haley Barbour just dropped out. The lack of declared candidates is making the Fox face-off look awfully premature ... While Fox had set the eligibility deadline for April 29, the network has quietly switched it to May 3, just two days before the debate. The reason, insiders say, is to allow Gingrich more time to decide whether he's going to commit to a presidential campaign—and, if the answer is yes, be included in the event.

That can't be a nice feeling, having the success of your event depend on whether Newt Gingrich, of all people, gets serious and commits to a presidential run.

Fox News Pushes Mike Huckabee on 2012 Decision [Daily Beast]