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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – And then there was one; maybe two.
I’m talking about Republicans still flirting with the idea of running for the party’s presidential nomination even though it’s very late in the process.
Sarah Palin says she’s still considering that option; Rudy Giuliani apparently is also thinking about it.
My instinct tells me neither is likely to jump in.
Among the earlier no-shows: Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.
So with Chris Christie out, that means we now know the Republican field. One of those candidates you’ve seen on the stage at the various debates will almost certainly challenge President Obama.
We obviously don’t know if it will be Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry or one of the other candidates, but a lot of the establishment-type Republicans appear increasingly ready to accept Romney as the safest bet. To them, he seems to be the most electable.
Still, that is by no means a done deal.
A lot can certainly happen in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida and beyond.
There’s also a chance that there will be a serious third-party candidate. Yes, I’m not ruling that out.
Let’s not forget that Ross Perot was doing very well back in 1992 against George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton until the Texas billionaire abruptly pulled out, and then, almost as abruptly, came back in.
Third-party wild cards this time could include Trump, Michael Bloomberg and maybe even Ron Paul. The Texas congressman insists he’s running as a Republican, but he certainly has a strong following among libertarians. Let’s not forget he ran as the official Libertarian Party candidate in 1988.
And if you’ve watched the debates and heard his interviews, you know he is increasingly the sole Republican presidential voice on several hot-button issues, including pulling out immediately from Iraq, Afghanistan and other bases around the world. He has most recently raised the question about whether Obama should be impeached for ordering the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
I’ve covered many presidential contests over the years. This one will be fascinating. Between now and November 2012, we are all in for a wild ride.
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