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President Pence? Congressman Considers Strategic Move for Possible 2012 Race

Indiana Republican Congressman Mike Pence is reportedly considering stepping down from leadership post as House Republican Chairman, a step that suggests the GOP Rep is preparing for a possible bid for president of governor in 2012. Politico reports:

Pence, a darling of the conservative movement, would leave the leadership job with a blunt explanation to colleagues that he can’t commit to a two-year term in House leadership, a source familiar with his deliberations told POLITICO Tuesday.

Pence believes it would be inappropriate to stay at the GOP conference post — the No. 3 spot in the House Republican hierarchy — unless he could stay through 2012, the source said. Pence also believes that he can be a more effective conservative voice if he is free of the responsibilities that he would have in leadership of a House Republican majority. ...

Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd said the Indiana congressman’s “sole focus remains on winning back the majority in Congress and believes that speculating about who will occupy what leadership position in the next Congress is 'looking past the playoffs’ and out of place.”

Like many Republican front-runners in the 2012 election, Pence has stayed mum on the possibility of a run.  He recently was the winner of a presidential straw poll at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, which puts him in contention with names like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

On Wednesday he begins the 2010 Mike Pence Road Team Bus Tour, a three-day ramble around the Hoosier state that will have him making 15 stops for more than a dozen statehouse candidates and four congressional hopefuls — Marlin Stutzman, Todd Young, Larry Buschon and Jackie Walorski. Contrast that with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is in Memphis; Tupelo, Miss.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and several stops in the New York City area between now and Friday.

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