While Rick Perry continues his shoot-out with the rest of the GOP presidential field, the desperation of Republicans looking for a sure-fire candidate has generated another round of speculation and stories about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie changing his mind and getting into the fight.

Politico.com quotes two anonymous Republican sources as saying Christie is reconsidering his decision to stay out of the 2012 race.

Christie supporters have produced an ad touting his record and have put $1.5 million up for TV time to generate buzz and push poll numbers (see it above). One of the most fascinating aspects of the Christie phenomenon to me is his friendship/alliance with Newark's Democratic mayor Cory Booker. Several accounts say they communicate practically every day.

This bears watching.

Also on Politico, I  commend this commentary by the weathered and wise Jeff Greenfield about how to improve the quality of debates as we move into the presidential maelstrom.

Here in Pennsylvania, John Micek of the Allentown Morning Call has an interesting piece about the forces behind efforts to change how electoral votes are counted in the keystone state.

What a surprise – the preferred vehicles are committees that don't reveal the sources of their funding.

And an afterthought on my piece last week about the Philadelphia Board of Ethics's need for more funds to keep enforcing ethics and campaign finance rules while taking on implementation of a new lobbyists disclosure law.

The board's executive director Shane Creamer told me the board couldn't even get a meeting with city budget officials this spring to plead their case.

It occurred to me that this is really weird, since city Finance Director Rob Dubow's mother-in-law, Judge Phyllis Beck is a member of the board. That relationship is one reason Dubow declined to talk to me about the funding flap when I called last week, referring me to city Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart.

Rhynhart said she didn't and wouldn't refuse to meet with a city agency or department, but that money is tight and the Ethics Board isn't likely to see any new funding in the current fiscal year, which lasts through June 30th, 2012.