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Huckabee Insider Says Barbour Not Seeking Endorsement

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Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate (AP Photo)

Sources close to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are denying reports that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is seeking an endorsement from him for the 2012 Republican nomination.

A Huckabee insider tells Fox News there are "quite a few people" close to both potential 2012 presidential candidates who talk often, but that's it.

Reports surfaced this week that Huckabee aides met with Barbour counterparts, but a source says, "As far as I know, none of the aides has had any sit-downs on either side."

Huckabee hasn't even decided whether he will jump into the fray, making any endorsement negotiations premature. "He has certainly not made a decision yet on whether or not he'll get in the race," the source said, suggesting he'll likely make an announcement in June or July.

At least one Republican strategist thinks Huckabee's decision could have a huge impact not only on Barbour but on the entire GOP field. "If Governor Huckabee decides not to run, that puts Iowa in play," GOPAC President David Avella said in a phone interview. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.

"Strategically, it's smart for Governor Barbour - and really any of the presidential candidates - to court Governor Huckabee for his support. Particularly for Governor Barbour ... it would help enhance his social conservative credentials to already go along with his pro-business, pro-free-market persona."

The biggest factor in whether Huckabee will run is not financial, despite the fact he would lose his job as the host of "Huckabee" on Fox News. While his 2008 run did stretch personal finances to the limit, the Baptist minister enjoys greater name recognition and fundraising power. Huckabee's reservations, rather, are faith-based. The insider said Huckabee has always been driven by whether he felt a spiritual calling to run for office and whether a "path to victory" was apparent.

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