CNN Deputy Political Director
(CNN) - If every end results in a new beginning, then the start of the next race for the White House begins now.
With the midterm elections barely behind them, the dozen or more possible contenders for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination no longer have to keep up the charade that all of their activity on the campaign trail over the past couple of months was solely about helping fellow Republicans this year and had nothing to do with the next race for the White House.
Among those considering presidential bids who were criss-crossing the country were Mississippi governor and Republican Governors Association chairman Haley Barbour, who made a five-day, 13-state swing in support of GOP gubernatorial candidates; former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who campaigned for Republicans in 25 states since August; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who made a seven-day eight-state tour; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who finished up a 12-state, two-week tour.
Other potential White House hopefuls on the campaign trail this fall for fellow Republicans: Sen. John Thune of South Dakota; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, now a talk-show host; Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who also ran for his party's last presidential nomination; and former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
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