Gov. Barbour Out, GOP Ponders 2012 Field

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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced he will not run for president in 2012, admitting that he lacked the, "absolute fire in the belly" that is necessary for a presidential run.

"I will not be a candidate for president next year," the two-term governor said a statement, adding that he wasn't ready for a "10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort."

However, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, announced that he will begin taking steps towards a run for the White House. Paul is a favorite of Libertarians and Tea Party supporters. He placed fifth in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

Members of the GOP are also watching Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Barbour friend and a fiscal conservative who has shined a spotlight on rising budget deficits and national debt.

"All eyes will be on Daniels. It's a clear path for him if he wants to run," said Doug Gross, an Iowa Republican.

The Republicans still lack a clear front runner. Most of the candidates are largely unknown to Republicans.

The most recent Associated Press-GfK poll indicated that only half of all Republicans were satisfied by their choices and a third were dissatisfied.

So far, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who lost the nomination in 2008, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, have set up presidential exploratory committees allowing them raise money for full-fledged campaigns.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to make his campaign official as early as next week.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have also left the door wide open to their candidacies but have not made their plans public.

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