Quitters Remorse Settling in for the GOP's 2012 Dropouts

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When Mike Huckabee told his cable news audience that his heart wasn't in running for president in 2012, he might have had his fingers crossed behind his back. "Everything is still open," Huckabee said in a speech at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. "I haven’t closed doors. I found long ago that that’s not the smart thing to do." One open door, the Associated Press reports, is the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket. But he still thinks it's going to be tough for anyone to beat President Obama, which is one of the reasons he (sort of) opted out of the race.

Huckabee isn't the only one who has quitter's remorse. Donald Trump told Good Day New York Wednesday that "I could absolutely run as an independent, and maybe I'd be better off." Referring to Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial plan to overhaul Medicare, Trump lamented, "I'm looking at the way the Republicans are running themselves, and frankly I think you're better off doing it as an independent, I really do, there's so much baggage with the Republicans, what they're doing." He also said Sarah Palin, with whom he shared pizza Tuesday night, wants him to run. Maybe as her running mate! "She didn't ask me [to be her No. 2] but I'll tell you, she's a great woman, a terrific woman, and a great friend," Trump said. The Alaskan said of a Palin/Trump ticket, "That sounds exciting! Sounds unconventional!"

Haley Barbour is taking on a more Rocky-esque tone. "I'm 63 years old. It's not very old," Barbour said at a Boys State speech Tuesday. "I'm not planning on retiring." He dropped out of the presidential race last month, and his second term as governor of Mississippi expires soon, but he'll never quit.

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Then there's Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who counted Laura Bush among his fans, taking on the wistful tones of a high school sports hero with his glory days behind him. When asked if he could have beaten President Obama if he hadn't decided to stay home in May, Daniels responded, "Yes, I think so. I mean, no one can know."

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, isn't so much expressing regret as trying to rewrite history. She commissioned a glowing biopic from conservative director Stephen K. Bannon to focus on her accomplishments as Alaska governor, a job she quit with a year and a half to go. The title of the film? The Undefeated.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.