The representative from Minnesota is a leading figure in the anti-establishment Tea Party movement that helped Republicans win the House of Representatives from Democrats last year.
CNN quoted a source close to Bachmann as saying she planned to file papers to form a presidential exploratory committee by June, so she can participate in early Republican presidential debates.
First elected to Congress in 2006, Bachmann rose to prominence in the Tea Party movement during the 2010 midterm election, with her outspoken attacks on the Obama administration.
The governor of Indiana generated a lot of enthusiasm in conservative circles with a speech in which he compared the U.S. fiscal situation to the “red menace” the United States fought during the Cold War.
“The second worst outcome I can imagine for next year would be to lose to the current president and subject the nation to what might be a fatal last dose of statism. The worst would be to win the election and then prove ourselves incapable of turning the ship of state before it went on the rocks, with us at the helm,” he said.
Daniels is considered a highly competent manager and all-around smart operator. He cut his Washington teeth as budget director for Republican President George W. Bush.
But Daniels lacks pizazz in a party that needs an energetic performer, although he gave a well-received comical speech at the Gridiron Club’s dinner of skit and song in Washington before an audience of reporters and VIPs.
Daniels is to make up his mind on whether he will run in April, when the Indiana legislative session ends.
The former speaker of the House of Representatives was the main architect of the 1994 Republican congressional election victory and author of the “Contract with America” political manifesto. But the Georgian ended his 20-year congressional career after Republican losses in the 1998 elections.
Gingrich remains a leading conservative figure, political pundit and accomplished fund-raiser. He strode into the Conservative Political Action Conference to the tune of the “Rocky” movie theme, “Eye of the Tiger” and offered a blistering critique of Obama.
Gingrich told a conference call of key supporters that he hopes to announce a presidential bid in May at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, helped the state rebound from Hurricane Katrina while neighboring Louisiana struggled. He was the party’s national chairman before moving to the Mississippi governor’s mansion and was also chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
A sound-bite machine with a Southern drawl, he is popular with reporters. He drew criticism with a magazine interview in which he said he did not notice much about the civil rights movement while growing up in his Deep South state. He seemed to be trying to rectify recent comments by proposing a civil rights museum for his state.
A decision is likely in April, when his state’s legislative session is finished.
Distinguishing himself as a conservative who is “not angry,” the former Arkansas governor used a mixture of anti-abortion, anti-gay politics and regular-guy charm to win the 2008 Republican Iowa caucus against better-known candidates.
A Baptist minister with strong ties to conservative Christian groups, Huckabee continues to poll well in Iowa and has been considered a potential presidential front-runner in 2012.
But he is also dogged by controversy from decisions granting clemency to convicted criminals in Arkansas, including a felon who later allegedly killed four Washington state policemen and died in a gun fight with a Seattle officer. Huckabee is on a book tour, fueling speculation he might run.
His decision could be months away.
Huntsman annoyed the Obama White House by declaring his intention to resign at the end of April as U.S. ambassador to China and let it be known he is considering a race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Like Romney, Huntsman has roots in Utah and is Mormon. A former governor of Utah, Huntsman is a moderate Republican, which may make it difficult for him to win over conservatives who play a giant role in the nominating process.
Huntsman has a campaign-in-waiting in Horizon PAC, a political action committee that launched a new website and is seeking donations. It has hired veteran Republican operative John Weaver, McCain’s senior adviser in his 2000 presidential campaign.
He is to decide when he returns from China at the end of April.
The New Jersey governor drew national attention as a corruption-busting U.S. attorney who won convictions or guilty pleas against scores of public officials. He has since proved a popular governor in a traditionally Democratic state, despite strong stands against abortion and gay marriage.
On a visit to Washington, Christie railed against deficits and debts, and criticized both parties. But he said he did not think he was ready to be president and did not plan to run in 2012. Still, speculation persists.
Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; editing by Mohammad Zargham