Does “Just IN” controversy hurt Pence’s national reputation?

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INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 28, 2015) - He’s been mentioned as a possible candidate for president, but after a rough week for Gov. Mike Pence, what are his chances now?

And how badly has the controversy over the ‘Just IN’ website hurt his reputation?

While it's hard to gauge such a thing, some analysts say it could make a difference.

Pence's communications director held a briefing Wednesday morning, saying the site would serve only as a resource for press releases and other information, though internal documents had suggested the site would serve as a state-run news source competing with other media.

“We were very dismayed that we caused so much consternation and confusion, that was never the intent,” said communications director Christy Denault.

“I regret that,” said Gov. Pence on Wednesday. “Hoosiers should know we're going to continue to develop this proposal with an eye to making sure that our state government is transparent and that information about all agencies is convenient to the press and public."

Still, some analysts say it’s a move that could hurt the governor’s potential presidential aspirations.  This, in a week where Pence was expecting to be in the news for a different reason: the deal he reached with the federal government to expand the Healthy Indiana Plan. It’s a compromise that some think could also hurt him with Republican primary voters if he does run for president.

While that story is also getting some national attention--it’s been largely overshadowed.

And then there was also this bit of news on Wednesday:

The governor’s own mother, Nancy Pence Fritsch, was quoted in the Terre Haute Tribune Star saying that she’d love for her son to run for president one day but “not right now” and that she’d first like Pence “to be her governor for two terms.”

In the meantime, other potential candidates like Scott Walker, and others, are already spending time in Iowa, hiring staff and starting political action committees.

We asked IndyStar political analyst Tom LoBianco if Pence was still in a good position to run for president after the events of this week.

“He was really hit from the left and the right on this,” said LoBianco. “It’s really hard for him to recover from something like this.”

Pence has said all along he would decide on a run for president after the end of this year’s legislative session, which runs through April.

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