Tea party champion Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina dismissed speculation that he might seek the GOP presidential nomination on a "Fox News Sunday" appearance today. “Right now, I have no plans to run for president,” said DeMint. Advisers to DeMint have noted that the South Carolina presidential primary has always been critical in determining the party’s eventual nominee and that he would at least consider the possibility of running. “DeMint’s popularity is the highest level it’s going to be at,” said GOP South Carolina political consultant Luke Byars who served as DeMint’s state director from 2005 to 2009 and remains an adviser. “All the options are on the table.”
Asked if he thought he was too conservative to win the presidential election, DeMint replied, “I don’t think I’m far to the right at all.” But he added that he was “looking for someone who has the courage and leadership abilities” to turn the country around.
On NBC's "Meet the Press," former House GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich said that he would make a decision about running “around February,” and that if he did decide to seek the presidency he would probably announce in “late March.” Gingrich said he expected a full Republican field of 12 to 15 candidates, and he predicted “you will not know who the [GOP] nominee is until very late in the spring of 2012.” Gingrich added that President Obama remains personally popular and that he would not be easy to defeat. “This president has enormous capacity” to recover politically, said Gingrich. He cautioned that Obama “is not beaten.”