John Thune says GOP should focus on electability in 2012

Holly Bailey

Is John Thune joining the chorus of potential 2012 candidates who argue the GOP should put electability above ideology?

In an interview with the National Review's Robert Costa, the South Dakota senator, who is still considering a 2012 run, doesn't quite endorse his potential presidential rival Mitch Daniels's call for the GOP to "mute" debate on social issues to focus on beating President Obama. But Thune does say the party should focus on electability when picking a nominee.

"As Republican voters think about who they want to nominate, it really ought to come down to which candidate can defeat President Obama," Thune said. "It really comes down to match-ups. Sometimes you have a very talented group of athletes. But at the end of the day, it comes down to who matches up best against your opponent."

Oh, and by the way, Thune happens to think he'd be an ideal opponent for Obama, offering a "great contrast" to the president's political philosophy. "When it comes to age and energy, all those sorts of things, I think it could be a great match-up," he added.

The South Dakota Republican, who has been teasing the press for weeks about a potential presidential bid, tells Costa that he's in the "final stages" of deciding on a run and that he'll announce his intentions soon.

(Photo of Thune: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)