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One from the “12 in 2012” series this week on Fox News Special Report. Here is a profile of South Dakota Senator John Thune and a look at his ambitions regarding the 2012 Presidential Election.

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A South Dakota diner on opening day of hunting season is an easy way for John Thune to work a room. Where the owner and patrons talk health insurance or President Obama’s agenda, Thune can recount his battle on the front lines in the Senate.

Thune says he fights to try to prevent the horror stories he hears at home about the rising price of insurance and the difficulties of employers trying to provide it.

“These decisions get made in Washington, and everybody thinks they’re being made in a vacuum,” Thune told Fox News. “These are hardworking people trying to make ends meet. That’s reality for a lot of Americans.”

For Thune, getting out of Washington means open prairies and hunting with his buddies. It also means returning to his hometown of Murdo, S.D., a one light town — and a blinking light at that — with a population of 679, according to the welcome sign.

Thune’s parents still live in his boyhood home where Thune grew up, as quarterback of the football team, star of the basketball team and a track star who still holds the school record for the 800.

If — as expected — he runs for president, supporters say it will be in part because of the small town, Midwestern appeal that screams America.

Another part will be his tenacity, demonstrated in part by his ability to take down former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

I see Thune more as VP material given the uphill battle he will have in igniting voters and getting name recognition. I’m not saying Thune isn’t a strong conservative and wouldn’t make a good President, he’ll just have a tougher time fighting the already nationally known “upper tier” candidates.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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