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Palin? Jeb Bush? Ghosts of candidates past reemerge as votes near

Is Sarah Palin flirting with the presidential race again? Might Jeb Bush be the GOP's white knight? And shouldn't Democrats give Hillary Rodham Clinton another chance?

'Tis the season. The silly season, that is, at least as far as the race for the White House goes.

With just two weeks before we finally see votes cast in the 2012 race, it seems some just refuse to accept that the field of candidates is settled.

Among them, apparently, is Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee.

Palin was asked in an interview set to air this evening on the Fox Business Network whether it was too late for her to consider running for president next year.

"It's not too late for folks to jump in. Who knows what will happen in the future," she said, according to an advanced copy of her remarks.

Palin is a paid contributor to the Fox cable news networks, and is reportedly trying to land another reality show deal.

Donald Trump already has a reality show, and coincidentally refuses to rule out his own candidacy as an independent if he is unhappy with the ultimate Republican choice. He's gone on just about every news show willing to book him to say so.

From the conspicuous timing department comes Jeb Bush. As polls show that Newt Gingrich, the most recent GOP frontrunner, appears to have lost some steam, the former Florida governor has penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that has some Republicans hoping it's a sign that he is now leaving the door open after having definitively ruled out the possibility.

"Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?" Bush asks.

"Can you still get on the ballot in enough states to spare us from Mitt Romney?" some Republicans can be heard asking back.

But Republicans aren't alone in such flirtations. In a Politico op-ed, pollsters for two former Democratic presidents call on voters in New Hampshire to write-in Clinton's name in the state's Jan. 10 primary.

"Clinton pulled off a stunning New Hampshire primary victory over Obama during the 2008 primaries. There is every reason to believe that, as a write-in candidate, she would get a substantial number of votes in the Granite State next year," Patrick Caddell, who worked for Jimmy Carter, and Douglas Schoen, a former Bill Clinton pollster, wrote.

Schoen is now also working for Americans Elect, an effort that seeks to land an independent candidate on the general election ballot.

These whimsical notions come as most Americans say they just can't wait for the election to end. A Gallup survey found that just 26% of respondents can't wait for the campaign to begin, while 70% say they can't wait for it to be over. Independents and seniors tended to be the most eager to see the election come and go.

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