Thune: 2012 decision likely by end of February

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Wednesday evening that he'd likely announce his decision about whether to run for president by the end of February.

Thune, a dark-horse possible Republican candidate for president, said he'd probably have to decide on whether to run by the end of next month, if he wants to gain any traction in the race.

"I've told people I don’t have a definite timeline or deadline out there, but it strikes me, at least, for somebody like myself who’s not known, and would have to work a lot harder at getting known, that sometime in the next month or two, but for sure probably at the end of next month, we’d have to let folks know our intentions," Thune said on conservative talker Hugh Hewitt's radio show.

The South Dakota Republican has been considering entering the 2012 field, though polls show he's not particularly well-known among GOP primary voters.

Still, he's garnered praise from a number of prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who called him an "extraordinarily impressive individual" and said he hoped Thune would run.

Thune's timeline fits with that of most other Republican contenders considering a bid for the White House. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said Wednesday night that he has no firm date for entering the race, and most candidates appear set to formally declare their intentions in early spring.

To that end, Thune said he's not confirmed to the early May debate for GOP candidates, scheduled to be held at the Reagan presidential library.

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