(CNN) – As the 2012 primary season begins to take shape, political observers are beginning to wonder whether the four potential candidates who work as commentators for Fox News will forgo their large paychecks to run for the nomination.
On Monday's edition of John King, USA, Chief National Correspondent John King laid out the stakes: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum all serve as contributors for the network. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also hosts a weekend show there.
Gingrich has acted as a contributor on Fox since 1999, while Santorum joined the network in 2007. Palin began contributing to Fox in 2010, and Huckabee has been on the air since 2008.
All four would be likely be required to step down at Fox if they ran for the presidential nomination pursuant to Federal Election Commission regulations, which would mean giving up salaries (some of which may top the $1 million-dollar mark) and an established platform to reach a large audience of Americans.
For some of the candidates, like Huckabee, the Fox salary constitutes a large bulk of their income. Others, like Sarah Palin, rely additionally on paid speaking appearances.
CNN Political Contributor Cornell Belcher, also a Democratic consultant, said the platform the Fox News' jobs provide helps the Republican candidates establish themselves before a supportive audience.
"I've got to tell you, Fox is more supportive of Republican candidates than the Republican National Committee," Belcher said. "They're bankrolling this."
Earlier this month, Huckabee defended the Fox News arrangement in an interview with CNN.
"The one thing about Fox that people miss is that there really is this big wall between the news guys and the program guys," Huckabee told King. "I mean I'm on the program side, I don't pretend to be objective. I'm not. But I would say our news guys, they're objective."
Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation inside and outside Washington.
Good day and it’s a fascinating one at home and overseas. There’s an old rule in politics: Know your audience. President Obama clearly had that in mind today when he had the nation’s governors to the White House. Republicans hold 29 governorships, and at least a few of them have 2012 presidential aspirations. So the joke about making yourself at home – but not too at home – was a good way to break the ice, before the president stirred the debate about dealing with public employees unions and then made a significant policy announcement on health care. The president says he will support speeding up by three years the window for states to opt out of the federal health care law, but only if they have their own plan to cover most of their citizens. On the one hand, it is proof the president has to give ground now that the GOP controls the House and so many state capitals. But the move also gives the president new leverage to directly challenge his Republican critics to prove they have a better way to expand access.
Overseas, much tougher talk from the Obama administration and other allies regarding Libya increase pressure on the regime. But it also forces tough conversations about what options come next if Gadhafi refuses to yield power. Those options contain military contingencies. These next few days are critical. Erick notes in his 3rd observation that others have been more muscular that the United States in their response so far. Mario’s focus is completely on the domestic front today.
Enjoy your day. – John King
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– The Senate will take up the continuing resolution to keep the government open . . . at some point. Right now it is going to hit patent reform.
– The OMB is unwilling to testify at a subcommittee hearing at the request of Congressman Dennis Ross. The hearing is on a pending pension crisis at the U.S. Post Office. This could heat up.
– The British will establish a no-fly zone over Libya. A post American Century?
Talk Show Host and Online Editor of MyLatinoNews.com Mario Solis-Marich:
– And the Winner Is: A film about the economic meltdown, “Inside Job”, receives honors for Best Documentary in front of a giant faux-gold Oscar, banksters receive bonuses and key appointments, and the middle class receives the blame and the bailout bill.
– Silent Picture: Indiana’s GOP Governor proposes Jan Brewer type death panels for the entire country, yet not a single tweet or Facebook manifesto from Sarah Palin.
– Best Short Film: The longevity of Wisconsin Governor Walker’s political career shrinks as the local police join the ever growing crowds in the capitol building.