To be sure, the White House maneuvering at the gathering was far more subtle than it was at the meeting four years ago in Florida, when hopefuls openly jockeyed for backers. It's a reflection of the fact that most if not all Republicans eying bids plan to wait until next year to formally announce whether they'll run.
Still, for both Barbour, Mississippi's governor, and Pawlenty, Minnesota's governor, the meeting was a chance to boost their profiles while reveling in an election cycle in which Republicans won many swing states that will be critical in the next election. Among them: Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Others mulling a run for the GOP presidential nomination also were attending, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Two more mentioned as possible future candidates — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the incoming RGA chairman, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, also an Indian-American — were on hand as well, though both have ruled out 2012 runs.