It may be months before Republican voters actually get the chance to determine who their nominee to be.
But President Obama's re-election team can't wait that long to get their opposition research team going; they've already winnowed the Republican field down to the three GOP candidates they most fear, according to Sam Youngman of The Hill. An excerpt:
Only three Republican candidates for president are listed on the wall of President Obama's new campaign headquarters — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.
Seven Republicans debated each other in New Hampshire on Monday night, but the handmade wall sign here in Chicago might give a better glimpse of the men who most worry Obama...
An aide said the Obama campaign and DNC are keeping tabs on more candidates, but the list gives a pretty good sense of whom Obama's team thinks its candidate might face this fall.
Pawlenty seems less likely after his lackluster performance at Monday evening's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire.
A separate point: If anyone should be disappointed by how that debate turned out, it should be Obama and his re-election team.
They have to be hoping for a knock-down, drag-out Republican primary fight which results in a tattered nominee to face a president whose party appears united behind him.
That didn't happen at Monday night's debate which turned out to be a mutually respectful affair. Which, again, is bad news for Obama's re-election team.