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Hotline Sort: Ranking The Contenders Hotline Sort: Ranking The Contenders

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Hotline Sort: Ranking The Contenders

4) A new Quinnipiac University poll out this morning shows a split among Ohio voters over the way Obama is handling his job. 47 percent approve while 48 percent disapprove -- a slight regression from late January, when 49 percent approved and 46 percent disapproved. He has a lot of work to do with independents: just 42 percent approve, while 50 percent disapprove. If the election were held today, Obama defeats a generic Republican 41 percent to 34 percent, according to the survey. 3) On Wednesday, we told you about two big personnel moves Romney made in New Hampshire. Now, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's (R) team is taking shape, as Sarah Crawford Stewart is going to be named campaign director of Pawlenty's exploratory committee in the Granite State, while Rich Killion will be the committee's senior adviser in New Hampshire. They have both worked closely with Pawlenty's PAC. 2) Romney has quietly launched a 15-city push to secure financial commitments from big-money "bundlers." Romney and top aides will meet today in New York with nearly 100 donors. Attendees are being asked to raise between $25,000 and $50,000 for Romney within 90 days. 1) Out this morning: the third edition of National Journal Hotline's Presidential Power Rankings. Romney and Pawlenty are still one and two, while Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) jumped up to take third. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) also is rising the rankings while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's stock has fallen. The rankings illustrate just how thin the Republican field appears right now. Barbour and Gingrich have started to organize for their campaigns but neither has had a successful month of press. But they have benefited by default as other potential contenders - like South Dakota Sen. John Thune - have decided not to run. Check out the complete rankings here.

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