The Fast Fix: Surprise candidate?

Chris Cillizza
The Fast Fix

Could a new candidate shake up the Republican race for the nomination?

There are 11 Republicans running for the presidential nomination in 2012. But some people in the party don't seem to think that's enough.

The names of New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan keep popping up even though both men have said time and time again that they aren't interested in the presidential race.

The continued search for Mr. Right is nothing new for Republicans. Back in 2008, there was huge excitement for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson who entered the race late -- casting himself as a savior for a downtrodden Republican party. He turned out to be a huge bust.

And it's not just Republicans who pine for the candidates they can't have. In the early days of 2008, there was constant chatter about the possibility of former vice president Al Gore getting into the race. And in 2004, retired General Wes Clark spent months listening to a steady drumbeat for him to get into the race and save Democrats from Howard Dean. He eventually ran -- but not very well.

The wandering eye of the current Republican party speaks to the concern that no one in the field -- up to and including Rick Perry -- is equipped to take advantage of the weakness of President Obama heading into 2012.

Given that neither Christie nor Ryan seem inclined to run, the desire for someone new in the race may go unrequited. The question then will be who in the current field can prove to skeptical GOPers that he -- or she -- have the goods to beat the incumbent next November.


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