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The Daily Caller

              Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) prays while sitting on the bench late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
              Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) prays while sitting on the bench late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)   

GOP hopefuls pray for Tebow endorsement

Tim Tebow is already the hottest property in professional sports, and now Republican presidential candidates are lining up for the blessing of the Denver Broncos quarterback.

The “Mile High Messiah” told The Associated Press on Sunday that more than one of the GOP hopefuls has asked for his public support.

He declined their offers, and also wouldn’t tell the AP which candidates had reached out to him for an endorsement.

“I think you have to have so much trust in who you support, just from product endorsements to endorsing a candidate,” Tebow said, “because if that person or company does something [bad], it reflects on you.”

Tebow is staying mum, making the identity of his Republican political suitors the inside-the-beltway guessing game of the week.

And there is no shortage of contenders who seem to be training for the Tebow caucuses.

During a Dec. 15 debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Texas Gov. Rick Perry noted that many experts “said Tim Tebow wasn’t going to be a very good NFL quarterback. … And he won two national championships, and that looked pretty good. We were the national champions in job creation back in Texas. And so, am I ready for the next level? Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses.”

Perry may have lifted the idea of invoking Tebow’s name from a video tribute, produced by an unnamed supporter of former candidate Michele Bachmann, which appeared online just four days earlier.

Tebow, the video’s narrator said, “doesn’t drink, smoke, cuss, or even kick his opponents when they’re on the ground. He has no baggage, and — oh, yeah — he’s a born-again Christian. Well, the same can be said of Michele Bachmann. … Like Tebow, she keeps fighting and she just keeps winning votes.”

As his Broncos gear up to face the powerful New England Patriots in a Saturday evening do-or-die playoff game, Tebow’s season-long legend will either gain new energy or evaporate before the throwing arm of rival quarterback Tom Brady.

Either way, more presidential candidates will likely come knocking — if only to satisfy their own fans’ fascination with Tebow comparisons.

Reacting to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s decisive victory in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary election, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday that “it was Tebow time last Sunday and Romney time last night.” Schuette chairs Romney’s Michigan campaign.

In a Jan. 3 essay, a member of the faculty at Georgia’s LaGrange College drew a similar comparison between former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and the NFL star. “Santorum’s chances for winning the nomination are lean, to put it kindly,” wrote political science professor John Tures. “But so were Tebow’s chances of leading the hapless Broncos to the playoffs, right?”

Reporters drew connections between Tebow and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Dec. 31 after Gingrich told Iowans, “I pray before virtually every speech and virtually every major decision.”

And on Monday the Daily Paul website, which is operated by supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, published the musings of a Paul supporter who wrote, “Imagine if Tim Tebow endorsed Ron Paul … I don’t think it will happen, but I can daydream cant I?!”

About the only GOP contender who appears to be out of the running for a Tebow political handoff is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. On Dec. 18, while the Broncos and Patriots were battling in a regular season game, Huntsman was with his wife Mary Kaye at a campaign event in Plaistow, N.H.

She wore a Patriots shirt.

David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter