This Week in Fake Presidential Candidates

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Hey, did you hear who's maybe running for president? Everyone (except for Haley Barbour). At least that's seemingly what 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.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Ron Paul

  • 93%

Paul formed an exploratory committee and unveiled his Iowa leadership team on Tuesday. He says he'll decide "before June," which means a whole month of fake indecisiveness.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

  • Michele Bachmann

  • 87%

Bachmann is scheduled to make her fourth appearance in Iowa on May 26, which means she'll either be running by then or still "mulling things over." We're going to go with running.

Photo: Steve Pope/Getty

  • Rick Santorum

  • 86%

Santorum sounds like he'll form an exploratory committee soon so that he can participate in the May 5 Fox News debate, which will have a thrilling lineup of Tim Pawlenty and of a bunch of dudes who can't possibly win.

Photo: John M. Heller/Getty

  • Newt Gingrich

  • 80%

Though Gingrich's camp says he won't have formed an exploratory committee in time to qualify for the Fox debate, it does sound like he's running. "He has outstanding contractual obligations, and once we fulfill them, we'll be ready," a spokesman said yesterday. Gingrich said to watch Facebook and Twitter next for "all the information you need" about his plans. Maybe it won't just be a new deadline this time.

Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

  • Jon Huntsman

  • 62%

The Huntsman has landed: Huntsman returned from China earlier today, and his post as ambassador expires at midnight. Because of some pesky laws, he (supposedly) hasn't talked to anyone in his campaign-in-waiting about whether he actually wants to run, but "top aides say they believe Mr. Huntsman is returning home to challenge his boss for the White House."

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

  • Herman Cain

  • 61%

We're guessing that eventually Cain will gracefully bow out, probably for a reason other than his zero percent support in the polls.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

  • Donald Trump

  • 61%

Trump keeps saying that when he finally announces his intentions, we'll all be very surprised, and since not running would not be a surprise to anyone, we have to assume he's actually going to run.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Mike Huckabee

  • 50%

What the hell is going on with this guy? On Wednesday, word was he's not running. Now reports indicate he's still "seriously" considering it, that "there is a growing sense that he's leaning toward another run for the White House," and that he's been trying to work out a strategy. At this point we're just totally confused, so we're putting this at an even 50 percent.

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Buddy Roemer

  • 45%

Though he's expected to debate next week, he's apparently having trouble paying the $25,000 entry fee. Like Cain, we hope he'll come to his senses soon and drop out. There has got to a better way to spend your time, Buddy.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Mitch Daniels

  • 32%

Daniels is close friends with Haley Barbour, who dropped out of the running this week, so, as stupid as this seems, the feeling is that he's more likely to run now that his buddy is out. Whether or not he signs Indiana legislation banning funding for Planned Parenthood will be a good indication of whether or not he cares what GOP primary voters think of him.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

  • Sarah Palin

  • 22%

Who?

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

  • Rudy Giuliani

  • 10%

"At this point, I’m not actively considering it, but I have the door open, ” Giuliani said this week. Considering how little effort it takes to "actively consider" something, that's a sign that this door isn't really as ajar as Giuliani would like us to think.

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty

  • Rand Paul

  • .8%

The only way Rand is running is if something horrible happens to Ron in the next few months.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty

  • John Bolton

  • 0.6%

If Bolton appears one day without a walrus mustache, he will rocket up to 6 percent.