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Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has officially announced that he is retiring at the 2012 election, after three six-year terms in the Senate and four two-year terms in the House of Representatives -- a total of 26 years in Washington.

Kyl, who will be 70 years old at the time of the 2012 election, told a press conference in Phoenix that when he was first elected to the Senate in 1994, he had anticipated that he would serve only two terms. But when 2006 came around, and Republicans were not performing well politically, the party's chances of holding the seat had been a factor in his decision to run again.

"But there comes a time when you have to consider other things," said Kyl. "In the Bible it says, of course, that there is a time for every thing."

Republican sources have told TPMDC that among the likely candidates for the seat is Rep. Jeff Flake. Others could possibly run from the Arizona House delegation, such as Rep. Trent Franks or the recently-retired former Rep. John Shadegg.

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Sarah Palin appeared last night on Sean Hannity's TV show, where she was asked about Rick Santorum's comments that she was not going to CPAC for the reasons of financial opportunities and the responsibilities of motherhood. And while she almost let the whole thing go, she didn't hold back from tweaking her potential rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

Earlier this week, Santorum speculated about the reasons for Palin's absence from CPAC. "I have a feeling she has some demands on her time, and a lot of them have financial benefit attached to them," he said. "So I'm sure that she's doing what's best for her and her family."

What's more, he added, that unlike himself, she lives all the way in Alaska -- and is "the mother to all these kids." As Mediaite and others have pointed out, the strong social conservative Santorum is a father of seven children, two more than Palin's five.

Hannity reviewed part of Santorum's comments -- at first omitting the section about Palin being the mother of all those children.

"Okay, that's the first that I have actually heard what he had to say. And yeah, I think the reports were much worse than what he really said," said Palin. "I think some things maybe were maybe taken out of context. So I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that perhaps others would want to call him -- I'll let his wife call him that instead.

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Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) will hold a surprise press conference in Phoenix at 12 p.m. ET (10 a.m. local time), the Arizona Republic reports, to announce whether he will seek re-election.

The Republic notes that Kyl will make his announcement "amid speculation that he may retire." Kyl was first elected to the Senate in an open-seat race in 1994, after eight previous years in the House, and will be 70 years old on Election Day 2012.

So let's see what happens.

Late Update: Politico is reporting that Kyl wil retire.

We all know that the Republican party wants to repeal the health care law. And the financial reform law. And roll back spending to the levels they were at during the Bush administration. And tie Obama's hands so he can't issue new regulations, or has to undo old ones.

When you add it all up, what you get is a huge chunk of the entire Obama presidency that Republicans apparently simply want to erase. The Obama administration has done more than just the above, but, if you eliminate those things, suddenly his first two years look pretty unremarkable.

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