Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the head of the Republican Policy Committee, is considered a potential presidential candidate. If he starts making trips to neighboring Iowa, the first caucus state, he can count on the support of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), who tells National Review Online that he considers Thune to be the GOP’s “strongest” 2012 contender.
“I just picture him standing up next to Obama,” Inhofe says. “He’s taller than Obama, he’s the same age as Obama, he’s better looking than Obama, and he’s articulate.”
Thune, who is best known for toppling Democratic minority leader Tom Daschle in 2004, smiles when he hears about Inhofe’s praise, but tells us that he’s focused on the midterms.
“I’m a big fan of Jim Inhofe,” Thune says. “He is an incredibly principled guy and I’m flattered that he would say that. He has been a great encouragement to me since I got to the Senate.” Still, he says, “we are looking to get through the 2010 elections. People will probably start making noise about the next one, but until we get through [November], I don’t think anybody will get out there very far.”