Frist's N.H. trip could be step to White House run

Mike Madden of The Tennessean reports that "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will speak to Republican activists next week in New Hampshire, home of the nation's first presidential primary, in what could be an early step in a 2008 campaign for the White House."

"The Tennessee Republican also is meeting with GOP fund-raisers in Ohio and Michigan this weekend, which could help him solidify the national financial base he would need to run. Both states were key battlegrounds in the 2004 campaign."

"These two trips, though, have political analysts and strategists thinking he's interested in seeking the Republican nomination for president — a possibility that Frist won't rule out."

''As for my long-term future, I have no idea what I'm going to do,'' Frist told The Tennessean's editorial board on Tuesday. ''Twelve years ago I never thought about being a U.S. senator. But when I come back home, I'll have to make some decisions.''

''Every insider in Washington, Republican and Democrat, thinks (Frist) is running for president — there's really no secret about it,'' said Stu Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. ''In this day and age, you really need to start running for the next race right after the previous one ends.''