More GOP candidates have been encouraged to enter the 2012 presidential race as plummeting approval ratings and an anemic economic recovery, along with frustration among Democrats have put President Obama in a vulnerable political position, The Hill reports.

Republican strategists and lawmakers believe that President Obama’s political weaknesses render him beatable in the 2012 race, according to journalist Alexander Bolton.

“In recent weeks, as economic news has continued to worsen, Republicans have begun to think that President Obama is not just vulnerable, but beatable,” Mark McKinnon, a former strategist to President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (Ariz), told The Hill. “And that’s why you are seeing candidates like Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki testing the waters.”

Bolton stated that Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign was successful due to his message about the economy, and Republicans should follow suit to win the 2012 presidential race. But lawmakers are split on who would be the best nominee.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) nominates Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s former mayor. “There are some other names out there — I think Rudy would be a good addition to the field,” Graham told Bolton.

“The president’s vulnerability on the economy and, potentially, on national security, depending on what he does in Afghanistan and how we deal with Libya, is real,” he said.

Members of the Texas delegation, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), wanted Gov. Rick Perry of Texas to join the race while he called last week’s primary debate in New Hampshire “bland.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) also supported Perry as a potential nominee.
“I know he’s seriously considering it, and I personally think that he’d be a great choice. I think right now, the Republican Party’s looking for a real leader to come out of the fray, and he has the narrative, in terms of creating more jobs than any other state,” McCaul told The Hill.

A Gallup poll on Tuesday revealed that Obama’s job approval rating dropped four points. The Obama administration may have downplayed a recent Labor Department report that stated that only 54,000 jobs were added in May and the unemployment rate increased to 9.1 percent by calling it “bumps on the road to recovery”—an idea that could drag on during his election, The Hill reports.

Republicans have always thought Obama was beatable, but now the GOP has taken the notion more seriously, according to Kevin Madden, the senior adviser for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign.

“People caught up in the day-to-day of polling and interpreting, they have become increasingly convinced the president is beatable,” he told The Hill. “That feeling has evolved among the political class, because they look at everything in six-month snapshots.”

However, some conservatives, too, are wary about possible presidential candidates for their party, prompting them to continue the hunt for a possible winner in 2012.

Romney was criticized by his colleagues for his abortion-rights support and a health care reform law he signed that was similar to the president’s healthcare legislation.

Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota’s former governor, was criticized over last week’s presidential debate for not confronting Romney over the Massachusetts health care reform law, The Hill reports.

GOP presidential candidates debated on June 13 for the first time at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.