Spin Cycle

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Rep. Peter King has been flirting with a run for president for nearly two years now, and he said on Friday that he'll decide whether he will actually do it in a month or so.

King's hand is being forced by Fox News and CNN, which last week issued rules saying only Republicans who have formally declared they are running and have filed the required paperwork will be considered to be in the GOP presidential debates they'll host in August and September.

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The two cable TV debate hosts also said they'll limit the number of participating candidates to 10, or possibly even eight, based on their strength in the polls.

"The main thing is you have to be an announced candidate," said King, the veteran Seaford Republican. Asked if he will run, he said he'll decide in the next month or so.

Among the factors King said he would consider include: "Will the money be there?" and "do I have the time and is it realistic."

King said he can't run for re-election and president at the same time, and he's got a full-time job as congressman so he can't move up to New Hampshire for three weeks to become better known, as Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator, told him he'd have to do.

Besides, he said, he's been testing the waters, not building a base. "I'll have no one working for me in New Hampshire, so there is no organized campaign at all," King said.

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And when it comes to poll numbers, well, most national pollsters don't even include him in their surveys. And when they do, King's number is negligible or zero.

Even in New Hampshire, where King has visited and been a featured speaker at GOP events -- most recently in April -- he hasn't moved the needle.

In a poll on 20 GOP presidential hopefuls released May 6 by WMUR radio and the University of New Hampshire, King came in third to last with an 8 percent favorability rating. Worse, the poll shows that over time his unfavorable rating grew as voters came to know him. His net favorability rating: 18 percent.

One thing that keeps King considering actually running is what happened to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who early on dropped out of the last race for the Republican presidential nomination in August 2011, only to see lesser-knowns such as Herman Cain become front-runners in late 2011 and in early 2012, something Pawlenty could have done.

"That's one of the things I am thinking about," King said.