Ford O’Connell Discusses The 2012 GOP Presidential Field At The Hill

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, who worked for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said that while the field is beginning to come together, the decisions of several candidates on the sidelines will help define the primary slate.

“I think it’s starting to gel, I just think that some of the people aren’t in the race,” said O’Connell.

The eventual Republican nominee will come from a pool of candidates “with credible executive experience who can speak to multiple issues headlined by the economy, and who can answer the 3 a.m. call,” he said, naming Huckabee, Huntsman, Daniels, Romney and Pawlenty as contenders who fit that description. Only two have taken formal steps toward running.

O’Connell said that the field likely won’t be finalized until the Ames, Iowa, straw poll in mid-August.

“They all need to be in the field if you are fine-tuning the message to beat Obama,” he said.

Read more from Michael O’Brien and Jordan Fabien at The Hill

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