2012 field expands

On Tuesday, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman officially jumped into the 2012 race for the White House.

He wasn’t the first, and he won’t be the last.

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Many Republicans are frustrated. They believe President Obama is beatable, but don’t think any of the declared candidates can deny him a second term.

In 2008, Obama stunned the political establishment by beating then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and easily triumphed over Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJoy Behar torches Ivanka Trump over emails: 'How dumb' can she be? Stephen King calls Trump a 'chickens---' Trump stokes new unlikely feud MORE (R-Ariz.). But 2012 won’t be 2008.

There is a lot of chatter about Obama raising $1 billion this time around, which would be about $250 million more than 2008. That’s a tall order, especially with liberal activists and union officials vocally expressing their disappointment with Obama. 

Regardless, Obama will be a tough out, and GOP kingmakers are desperately trying to convince prominent Republicans to jump in the pool.

Some have resisted, perhaps eyeing a 2016 bid, including Reps. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPoll: Trump easily defeats potential GOP rivals in hypothetical primary matchups Ethics panel calls on House, Senate leaders to act on anti-sexual harassment bill The Hill's Morning Report — Are Pelosi’s Democratic detractors going too far? MORE (Wis.) and Mike Pence (Ind.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioUS opposes Russian nominee to lead Interpol Senators push back on Russian official's candidacy for Interpol president The Hill's Morning Report — Are Pelosi’s Democratic detractors going too far? MORE (Fla.), South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Bipartisan Senate bill would penalize illegal robocalls Hillicon Valley: Russian-linked hackers may have impersonated US officials | Trump signs DHS cyber bill | Prosecutors inadvertently reveal charges against Assange | Accenture workers protest border enforcement work | App mines crypto for bail bonds MORE (S.D.), a rising star in the GOP, earlier this year ruled out a run for president. On Monday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said on C-SPAN that the senator was rethinking that decision. On Tuesday, Thune said he definitely isn’t running. 

If you’re confused, you’re not alone.

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Days after the 2006 election, candidates were announcing their bids for 2008. Now candidates are more cautious, with pundits predicting that a GOP hopeful could get into the contest as late as this fall.

Possible GOP candidates for 2012 include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In all likelihood, there are at least a couple more out there who are privately mulling a run. 

From 1996 through the 2012 contest, there has been at least one senator, or former senator, representing one of the parties in the presidential general election. This year, a lot of the attention is on the House candidates running for president: Reps. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannYes, condemn Roseanne, but ignoring others is true hypocrisy Bachmann won't run for Franken's Senate seat because she did not hear a 'call from God' Billboard from ‘God’ tells Michele Bachmann not to run for Senate MORE (Minn.) and Ron Paul (Texas). 

The Hill reported on Monday that Perry is being urged to mount a bid by members of Congress. It’s possible that Perry, a Tea Party favorite, could beat Mitt Romney, who is a vulnerable front-runner.

But late entries to the presidential race have flopped in recent cycles, most notably Wesley Clark in 2004 and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) in 2008. 

The field is far from set, and there will be plenty of time to handicap the race — after Labor Day.