John King, USA

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February 28th, 2011
10:09 PM ET

Republicans jockey for 2012

(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."

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  1. Cornelia Wylldestar

    Dear John King, Hurrah for your leading the debate yesterday. HUrrah, Hurrah, for confronting NG on his behavior. I am a woman of a "certain age" who was active in Democratic politics in Massachusetts for many years, as was my father before me. I KNOW what I am talking about.

    Newt Gingrich is a SERIAL PHILANDERER and has been his entire life. He left wife #1 when she was suffering from cancer; he left wife #2 for a younger woman; who know what his accommodations are with his present wife #3. He is a hypocrite. I have no doubt he became a Catholic to get votes! I appreciate your FEARLESS, and OBJECTIVE Journalism, keep up the good work.

    There are many serial philanderers in our society, a minority are women. People who practice this lifestyle are NOT WORTHY to run for the presidency of the U.S. For the moment, NG turned the audience to his own ends, but I have confidence that his lack of morals, in human relationships; his lack of ethics in BUSINESS relationships will ultimately come to light.

    Once again, thanks for your conduct during last night's debate and for your relentlessly, authentic reporting every day on CNN.

    Dr. CW

    January 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |