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'll 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 Gary Johnson, who this week became the first candidate to announce he was definitely, 100 percent running.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Ron Paul

  • 87%

Paul said in Florida yesterday that he hasn't decided yet whether or not to run, but he'll make up his mind sometime in May. When asked if the candidacy of Paul-ish libertarian Gary Johnson will have an effect on his plans, Paul said “Probably not. It seems like he is making his own decision and I’ll make my own.” Johnson may eat a bit into Paul's base of support, but let's be honest, Paul isn't worried about actually winning anyway.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

  • Michele Bachmann

  • 85%

Bachmann may write a book soon, which is a requirement for all presidential candidates. It's right there in the Constitution.

Photo: Steve Pope/Getty

  • Rick Santorum

  • 84%

Santorum made a couple of hires in Iowa this week, and is making his twelfth visit to the state next week. The guy apparently thinks he has a chance.

Photo: John M. Heller/Getty

  • Newt Gingrich

  • 78%

One sign that Gingrich is running: He's not backing Paul Ryan's Medicare plan — the one with the Medicare cuts that will be really unpopular with old people once they understand them.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Haley Barbour

  • 72%

Despite continuing to have almost zero support in the polls, Barbour will return to New Hampshire on May 4.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

  • Herman Cain

  • 64%

Cain, who continues to travel around Iowa, recently admitted that "we haven't raised as much as we want to." He says he's "within weeks" of making a decision. If it's any incentive, Andrew Breitbart would climax everywhere if Cain wins the nomination, but that's probably not an incentive.

Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

  • Jon Huntsman

  • 60%

Huntsman keep saying things about human rights in China — this week, it's an ode to imprisoned dissident artist Ai Weiwei in Time. Maybe he's been pressuring China on human rights all along and nobody has really noticed, or maybe he's decided to up the rhetoric now to preempt accusations that he turned a blind eye to abuse in China while ambassador.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

  • Donald Trump

  • 59%

More and more, people think Trump could actually run. He's now regularly in the top one or two slots in national and statewide polls, and has even convinced skeptic Charles Krauthammer that he's actually serious about running and winning.

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Buddy Roemer

  • 48%

Honestly, who knows? It doesn't really matter anyway. No offense.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Mike Huckabee

  • 44%

Ed Rollins, Huckabee's campaign manager in 2008, thinks Huck will eventually decide to run. "Personally, it’s my sense that he’ll go for it this time," he said.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Mitch Daniels

  • 28%

Daniels will decide in a couple of weeks, but GOP political consultant Mike Murphy flatly predicts he's "not going to run.”

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

  • Sarah Palin

  • 25%

Nobody cares about Sarah Palin anymore. That's as good a reason for her to run as any, we guess.

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

  • Rudy Giuliani

  • 10%

Giuliani recently said he'd travel to New Hampshire a few more times to "see what the landscape is.”

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty

  • Rand Paul

  • 1%

Paul has already filed for reelection to the Senate for the race that won't happen until 2016.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty

  • John Bolton

  • 0.8%

We only keep Bolton on this list in the off chance that walrus mustaches suddenly come back in style in a huge way, perhaps if Justin Bieber grows one.