Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Thursday night that he won't run for president following a primary cycle in which he's seriously raised his profile.

DeMint, whose work in a series of Republican primaries this cycle resulted in a slate of conservative Senate candidates, said he has no plans to run in 2012, and had words of praise for other potential candidates.

"No, I'm not going to run. I have no intentions, no plans," he said on Fox News. "But I don't want to think past 2010 right now."

While not exactly Shermanesque, DeMint's comments are more concrete than the previous statements the South Carolina senator's made about a bid to challenge President Obama two years from now. DeMint had said earlier this year that he wouldn't rule it out, but that he was disinclined to run.

DeMint's increased profile has some conservatives hoping he'll run. He, through his Senate Conservatives Fund, has helped support the crowd of conservative candidates running for Senate in Kentucky, Delaware, Florida and elsewhere — often in a break with his party's own leadership in the Senate.

DeMint's most recent victory — in the Delaware primary, where conservative Christine O'Donnell beat centrist Rep. Mike Castle — has some GOP leaders privately fuming that DeMint's actions had cost them a major opportunity to pick up a Senate seat.

But DeMint took the unusual step of heaping praise on some of the challengers he might face if he were to run, including the relatively centrist New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

"I've been a fan of Mitt Romney for a long time. Sarah Palin I think is great. Newt Gingrich has got possibilities," he said. "I mean, I kind of want someone like Gov. Christie, who tells it like it is, who's got a lot of fight."