For months Senator John Thune's name has been tossed around in discussions about possible GOP 2012 contenders, yet the Senator from South Dakota has consistently played it coy when asked about any possible presidential aspirations.
However, a few more heads will be turning in the political world when the senator takes to the air in New Hampshire, home of the first of the nation presidential primary. Thursday morning Thune will be a guest on WKXL, a radio station in the capitol city of Concord. This will mark the first time Thune has made a foray into the political discourse in New Hampshire.
Thune has also been invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington next February. CPAC is a traditional cattle call for conservative activists to get a look at the movement's presidential timber, especially in years directly preceding a presidential election.
If Thune really does have eyes on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue then as a Senator he has the disadvantage of having to cast actual votes. Votes that can later be scrutinized and sometimes distorted by rivals out on campaign trail. To that end, Thune seemed to take a swipe at his rivals during a senate floor speech on Tuesday.
Thune called it "easy... and possibly even politically expedient to stand on the sidelines and criticize" the tax deal cut between President Obama and Congressional Republicans. "Advocating against this proposal is no different than advocating for higher taxes," said Thune.
Thune's remarks could be read as a thinly veiled jab at Mitt Romney, who is thought by many political insiders to be preparing a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, penned an op-ed Tuesday in the USA Today highly critical of the tax proposal. "The future for taxes has been left up in the air," Romney wrote. "And uncertainty is not a friend of investment, growth and job creation... It is difficult to understand how our political leaders could have reached such a disappointing agreement."
Former Alaska Governor and Republican mega-star Sarah Palin also came out against the tax deal last week via twitter, which has increasingly become her preferred method of communication.
Sarah Palin is a Fox News contributor.
Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.