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Republican Presidential Field Keeps Shifting


We're joined now by NPR's Cokie Roberts to hear how the field stands as of this morning. And good morning, Cokie.



MONTAGNE: Mike Huckabee, he won the Iowa caucuses last time around and has been running at or near the top of many polls among Republican voters. But he decided not to run. How does that affect the race?

ROBERTS: You know, Iowa - the person who wins in Iowa doesn't usually win the Republican nomination. So nobody is sure how this all sorts out. This field is far from settled, Renee. There's still lots of talk about Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, getting in. And now, as you said, Jon Huntsman taking a look.

MONTAGNE: Well, what about Huntsman, another former governor but without a huge national name, does he have a groundswell of people telling him he's really got to get in?

ROBERTS: The White House does seem more worried about those two men, though, Huntsman and Romney, than others running. Because I think they're worried that anybody who could convince voters that they could do a better job with economy has an advantage, if the economy stays bad.

MONTAGNE: Well, let's turn to the political fortunes of President Obama. He got a big bump in the polls after the killing of Osama bin Laden, which seems to have already evaporated. Will the president get any long-term benefit from that?

ROBERTS: But look, the economy is everything. Today we hit the limit on the debt ceiling and that debate in Washington goes on, Renee, as you well know. And we'll see how it plays out.

MONTAGNE: Well, just briefly, how much of that argument is political posturing and how much real?

ROBERTS: Oh, it's a great deal of political posturing. But this year, those posturers have a lot behind them, because Republicans have voters who are very interested in cutting the deficit. And the administration is very, very nervous about having a default, even for a day or two, because of the shaky economy.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Cokie Roberts, thanks very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cokie Roberts was one of the 'Founding Mothers' of NPR who helped make that network one of the premier sources of news and information in this country. She served as a congressional correspondent at NPR for more than 10 years and later appeared as a commentator on Morning Edition. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts was a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.
Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.